Ever wanted to be Spider-Man? We have, and then we did it. Well, technically I guess it's not the same thing, but we did create ourselves in Drawn to Life's upcoming sequel and then added an extra pair of arms. The team at developer 5th Cell and the guys behind the first version of the DS game are back with crazy new ways to draw your own fun.
Drawn to Life is essentially a platformer action game, but the twist is that you can shape the visual universe to suit your tastes. Need to get up to higher ground? Draw a cloud in the provided space and ride it to glory. Take as much or as little time as you like, make it an accurate depiction of the right object, or replace it with something absurd such as a hotdog. Like its Wii counterpart, which has been handballed off to developer Planet Moon, Drawn to Life will let you skip the hard work of drawing if all you want to do is bounce around and kill enemies. Templates and stickers are being provided to spruce up the world, and they're just as wild. Our demo level took place in the Lavasteam zone, a fire-and-brimstone-filled 2D cavern with, you guessed it, lava to jump over. Other zones to be included in the final game are Watersong and Space Jungle.
One of the biggest changes in this sequel is the ability to switch physical forms and weapons quickly and easily. By holding the left shoulder button, you'll bring up a radial menu that you can scroll through with the D pad. Ours included three forms: human, blob, and spider, and you'll be able to customise both your spider and blob forms just as you do your human looks before you begin. Spider form will let you shoot out webs, trapping enemies or helping you cling and swing from the ceiling, whereas blob lets you stomp-attack foes and reduce your size to gain access to normally inaccessible areas.
Like your forms, you'll also be able to draw your own weapons. The ones that we saw spanned your traditional sword, a laser gun, and a chained mace with a power-up attack, swinging it further above and below you. You'll also be able to toggle between them quickly with the right shoulder bumper, and there's even the option to restyle the look of your selection if you want to make it look a little more menacing or add some blood streaks to warn would-be attackers on the battlefield.
Like in the Wii version of the game, you'll come across various coloured, dotted outline boxes in your travels, each colour representing a different property for your drawing. Blue boxes will stay put where you create them, yellow ones will float away, and green items will reflect. The latter gives us ideas about reflecting projectiles back at enemies or deflecting them away safely.
Drawn for Life has gone through a huge visual evolution between games, and though the original wasn't half bad-looking, the follow-up steps it up by replacing the village and building insides from the first game with gorgeous hand-drawn images by artist Paul Robertson. There's even a slight Studio Ghibli look to it.
This is certainly a game that we'll be following with interest until Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter paints its way onto the Nintendo handheld in North America in fall this year.
Stay tuned for GameSpot's ongoing coverage from E3 2009.