Crayola Treasure AdventuresESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Touch Screen Compatible
I remember as a kid I used to love my Crayola crayons. I would sit at home for hours on end just coloring, allowing myself to bring a drab piece of paper to life with color. As an adult who just happens to have two children of his own now, I now sit in amazement as I watch my two kids, specifically my three and bit year old daughter, color for hours on end and bring their imaginary world to life.
Crave Entertainment have done something that I can’t believe hasn’t been done yet, they have taken the real world experience of coloring and brought it to the handheld virtual world through dual screened and stylus enabled Nintendo DS. Crayola Treasure Adventures is a perfect mix of old time tradition and videogame technology. After playing around with this title, and letting my daughter have go at it, I would have to say that Crave is definitely on to something here as they have utilized the Crayola license in a very positive way.
As I put Treasure Adventures into my DS my expectations were very limited as to what I would see on screen, but after tooling around and actually coloring some of the available pages in the game I was pleasantly surprised with how great this game looked. The story mode is quite pleasant to look at and there is a very good use of color. Each area has a nice theme to it (e.g. jungle, desert) and if anything the Crayola license is put to good use as there are lots of bright and stylish colors throughout. The DS’s well lit screens do the game justice as each page seems to jump of screen in a bright collage of colors.
As this is a coloring based title a lot of the final product is up to the person holding the stylus. What really caught my attention was how you could take a simple picture, and by adding color to it you actually did create a masterpiece of some sort. It was amazing to see how the pictures would come to life as you added different colors to them. Seeing the final product was not only satisfying, but it was also good to look at given that you have so many different shades of each color to chose from allowing you to make each and every page you color look different each time. I give developer DC Studio’s credit for their efforts in the visual area of this game.
Although the audio in Treasure Adventures is no musical or sound effect masterpiece it gets the job done solidly. I found that the musical tunes in the game were some what catchy and suited each area that you were in. The developers could have opted for a generic music track that repeated itself, but they went above and beyond and created music that is different in each level you are on. As for the sound effects, there isn’t a lot offered, but what is there is quite appropriate. I actually found the sound that was played when going into my crayon box somewhat funny, but in a good way, as it really did match the overall theme of the game. In general I don’t think anyone will get annoyed with the audio in this game, and as for the target audience, kids, they will most likely fully enjoy it.
Believe it or not there is a story to Treasure Adventures and it seems to blend in very well with the overall theme of the game. You are given the role as partner to one rootin’ tootin’ adventuring Red Crayola crayon. Both of you are tasked to track down three stolen Color Crystals which are the source of all the color in the world. These crystals have been stolen by, get this, three black and white bad guys whose ultimate goal is to turn the planet into a black and white world. You must make your way through the various levels to eventually catch and bring these hoodlums to justice.
Now I am sure some of you are wondering what the heck a story mode is doing in a coloring game. Well, simply put it allows you to unlock a large majority of the coloring book pages and crayons that are not immediately available from the beginning. So ultimately there is a purpose. But fear not people, this is not just a tacky add on to make you play through something boring, as the story mode in Treasure Adventures is pretty enjoyable especially for those kids who the game is squarely aimed at. There are three styles of play to be found in the story, solving jigsaw puzzles, connecting the dots and speed coloring. These three gameplay modes are actually quite enjoyable, if not somewhat easy, and any child who owns a DS will have lots of fun playing them. There is a bit of an addictive quality to them as well and I fear that many parents may have a little trouble prying the DS and game out of the little one’s hands.
As mentioned, the story mode exists to allow you to acquire those items that are not available right from the start of the game. Amazingly enough, Treasure Adventures has a lot of pages for the aspiring artist to color as there are around 100 different pages to color on. They range from such things as dinosaurs to fire trucks to cute cartoon characters. And to bring these pages alive there is total of 120 authentic Crayola Crayons that are represented in the game, so if you are looking for any special color that exists in the real world, odds are that you will find it here. I was amazed by the fact that there were 120 different colors choose from as I cannot remember my personal collection of crayons that I had as a kid being that big!!! Bottom-line, there is a lot of stuff to choose from, the only downfall is that for the real younger crowd, they may not have the patience or ability to work through the story mode to access all the other content.
In terms of just coloring, anyone one who loves the color, and who puts this game into their DS, will find that they can, and will, color to their hearts content. The aforementioned 100 coloring pages or so will keep one quite busy. There are two modes of coloring in Treasure Adventures. The default mode simulates a real crayon as it is somewhat smudgy and actually looks like you are using a crayon. The other method of coloring uses a marker pen that creates solid and smooth strokes when you use it. For those worried about the younger ones who aren’t able to “stay within the lines” both of these modes allow for the person coloring to stay within the lines as it does not let the color go outside of the areas being colored as it detects when the stylus has gone too far outside the specific area. Although some say this will take away from the true meaning of coloring, it allows for some pretty intricate pictures with small areas to be colored quite easily on the DS’s touch screen as well as allows the really young ones to color on the DS with success.
If there is any negative to be found in this game it is that any picture that is completed cannot be printed or saved for one’s viewing pleasure. Part of the magic of coloring is being able to display your artwork to your family and friends at any given time. However, Treasure Adventures does not allow for one to do this. Once you exit the picture you are coloring it is lost forever. I think it would have been nice to have a save feature to allow those who want to show their mom, dad, sister, brother, grandma, grandpa, etc. the work that they did on any given project. If there is ever a follow up to this game this is something that cannot be overlooked a second time around.
Crayola Treasure Adventures is a title that totally took me by surprise. My expectations were somewhat low given that this is a licensed title, but Crave Entertainment and developer DC Studios took the high road by utilizing the Crayola name and creating a game that kids are sure to enjoy for quite sometime. The combination of a story mode and a free coloring mode gives this game some strong legs given how much content for the aspiring artist is packed into it. It is a shame though that you can not save the works of art that will be created. If you are looking for something to keep the kids busy for hours on end you really can’t go wrong with this game as it is a great substitute for real crayons and paper.