Drawn to Life: Two Realms is the third sequel to the original Drawn to Life DS game. Almost 10 years later the franchise continues and is still as charming as the first time. As far as puzzle platformers go, the interactivity of this game is what keeps it’s appeal. Players are in complete control of how levels pan out, creating a unique gameplay each time.
Elements from the first game are carried across to Two Realms to keep that nostalgia flowing. Players are still able to fully customise their protagonist with the inbuilt paint tool. Although presets are available, there is nothing more engaging than making it your own. The touch controls from the DS are implemented nicely into the Nintendo Switch. The games design took clear inspiration from the DS and Two Realms reflects that in a positive light.
Challenge is erratic
The levels however, aren’t as joyful. Although they ensure you’re thinking about every possible outcome something just seems to lack. Some levels are so frustrating they make you want to give up playing as a whole. The impossibility of these outweigh the joy of other challenges, leaving you to question where you stand with Two Realms. Sure, the NPC interaction is enjoyable and at the beginning you feel like you’re progressing, but there isn’t any trackable increase in difficulty. Suddenly you’re just faced with a challenge with little to no guidance which seems incompletable. The difficulty is so erratic I ended up having to close the game and come back to it more often than I like to admit.
The puzzle platform aspect makes up the majority of the gameplay, so this seems to let the title down. It’s stretched across interactions with NPC’s in the adventure style map, which is extremely refreshing in comparison to the core game. But even the adventure map is underwhelming. You travel at an extremely slow pace and end up speaking to the same set of characters every time you play. The day and night cycles break things up and characters move but it’s still alarmingly slow. Speed fruit litter the map to try and get things done faster but the effects wear off so quickly they seem almost pointless.
The art style is still as charming as you’d expect though. Enemies are small and cutesy, and for once they are integral to completing tasks rather than getting in the way. You quickly learn the skills each enemy has in order to help you move on, whether that is jumping to a higher platform or standing on a button to unlock a door. That’s about the extent of their abilities though. With the amount of gameplay needing to be completed these levels become pretty repetitive. Cutscenes between challenges aren’t skippable either. So you’re usually left watching the same cinematic you’ve sat through twice already. Once more this adds to the mismatched frustration Two Realms presents rather than the calming joy of a puzzle game.
Even though the release on DS was wonderful at the time, Two Realms fails to maintain this glory. Levels are so long the story seems unmotivating. Characters don’t add enough to keep me interested and I don’t think this is a game I’d pick up again. Fans of the franchise when games were released on DS – don’t expect this to satisfy any needs. Everything is either too easy or way too hard, with no middle ground. It’s just not worth the hassle.