"I fully believe that it is possible to make compelling games without even the cartooniest amount of violence or negativity, but that should not be an obstacle to entertainment and complexity. Crayola Treasure Adventures is endearing, but the fun wears down quickly."
Nowadays, how many kids out there enjoy drawing and painting more than playing videogames? Regardless of the number, Crayola are reaching out to those kids and offering them… a videogame. In which they have to, more or less, save a fantasy world from monochromy with the help of a personified red crayon who gives out instructions and comments. I know, that happens to me every week too.
I would describe the game simply as “a minigame compilation” if the denomination didn’t imply variety. There are only three minigames here, and none are particularly challenging, or interesting: one is a 4x3 piece puzzle, the second is connect-the-dots, and the third is a more original painting game, where you have to fill in a blank shape as if your stylus was a crayon (i.e., swiping madly with it). Okay, it is a game for little kids and not for MIT graduates, it would be unfair to expect them to rearrange the defining events of the British Industrial Revolution in chronological order and have the DS taser them if they fail, but still. Kids are a lot sharper than we give them credit for, and they should have games that challenge and entertain them. I’m not sure Crayola Treasure Adventures will be effective at either task.
Because the three minigames aren’t exactly the most compelling offer in the market, there’s also a freestyle mode of sorts where you can colour pre-established drawings, again using the stylus as a crayon. By advancing in the main game, you unlock new drawings and more colours.
This will not keep kids playing for hours, either, but I am not proud to say that I have reviewed a few Barbie games as part of my training -and this game is nowhere near as braindead. It is aggressively positive in tone, with the red crayon demonstrating his finesse in situations that go from psychological support (“I’m so proud to have a friend like you!”, as seen on a screenshot to the right) to international conflict resolution (“There is always a peaceful way to solve any problem!”). Such unrelenting cheerfulness would probably sound creepy and stalker-y in person, but this game is just feeling happy today. Even the “bad guys” who are stealing the colour from the world aren’t bad guys at all and do it inadvertently, apologising profusely everytime you catch them.
I fully believe that it is possible to make compelling games without even the cartooniest amount of violence or negativity, but that should not be an obstacle to entertainment and complexity. Crayola Treasure Adventures is endearing, but the fun wears down quickly.
Freelance review by Martin G (April 05, 2008)
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