Pictionary is the first board game turned video game where I thought the virtual version was superior to the physical one. The most annoying thing about playing a game of Pictionary is the setup required, but by channeling the power of electronics, there's now no need to erase your crappy drawings by hand and no way to get high off Sharpie fumes (well, maybe that's not a good thing for some people). THQ did a nice job translating the popular party title into a video game that offers a little something for everyone.
Using THQ's uDraw tablet, Pictionary offers three different game modes: good old fashioned Pictionary, Free Draw (which is exactly what it sounds like) and Pictionary Mania, a brand new way to play the classic game. The uDraw tablet is easy to use and responsive, so all of the modes work the way they should.
Of the three, Free Draw is the least impressive mode, especially considering if you've purchased the uDraw tablet, you automatically receive uDraw Studio, which offers a much deeper drawing tool than Pictionary. Regardless, it's non-obtrusive and if your kid wants a simple way to muck around and scribble, it's a good alternative to having marker stains on your carpets.
Vanilla Pictionary plays just like the board game – you pick teams, how long of a game you want, roll the dice (in this case you "flick" the pen on the tablet) and away you go. A team member gets a card with an object, animal or phrase, and they attempt to draw it while the teammates guess what it is before time runs out. Most squares that you land on will be normal, but there are a few "All Play" areas that allow the opposing team to guess alongside yours and potentially steal the lead.
If you have a group of friends to enjoy it with, Pictionary is awesome -- just like it was as a board game, but now you don't need to waste paper or draw on a weird plastic man.
If you need to mix it up a bit, Pictionary Mania is great way to kick up the competition. Almost everything is similar to regular Pictionary with one major tweak –different obstacles are interjected while you try to draw. So if you land on a certain color square, maybe you can't look at the TV screen while you attempt to produce a picture or you can only use straight lines to create your masterpiece.
There are seven different types of game modes to land on in Mania, but perhaps the most annoying one of all is Rotation Frustration, where the screen rotates as you frantically try to sketch your image. Others include limited ink usage and the restriction of only using basic shapes like squares or circles. All of the various modes make the game much more interesting, and if you're playing with adults, will incite a lot of curse words.
"Hidden" squares are also placed throughout the board that help vary the gameplay by letting you choose which draw mode you want or picking one for the opposing team. All in all, Pictionary Mania is a fun but more frustrating version of regular Pictionary. If you have young children, this might be slightly out of their league, but it's great for a group of adult friends.
©2010-12-03, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved