Crayola Treasure Adventures DS
One of the memories most associated with many people’s recollection of childhood is surely that of a colouring book, crayons and a whole lot of mess. From taking the crayons and using them to scribble on anything other than the colouring book, to eating the crayons, to completely ignoring the lines on the pre-drawn images and having total disregard for what would count as realism when colouring in said image.
It seems strange then (or perhaps not, depending on how you look at it) to see the release of what’s essentially a virtual colouring book. Doing away with the ill-advised consumption of crayons and the problem of drawing on walls and tables, Crayola Treasure Adventures gives kids, and indeed adults, the chance to colour to their heart’s content, with a story mode and a virtual colouring book on offer.
Only a limited selection of crayons are available at the start of the game, so it’s advised to leap straight into the story mode to begin unlocking new crayons and pictures for the colouring book. A strict formula of jigsaw puzzle, then a dot-to-dot picture, and then a colour-in-as-fast-as-you-can puzzle make up this mode, and this sequence is repeated many times – in the same order – as you go through the three worlds. There’s also quite a big difficulty spike at the end of each world in the form of the final puzzle, and young children may well find it impossible to complete without adult help. It does all get tiresome, and obviously repetitive, but if your kid loves these type of puzzles, they’re sure to get some enjoyment from them. We saw this main mode to completion in little more than twenty minutes, but it really only acts as a means to unlock all of the game’s crayons and pictures, and children will find that the time to completion varies according to their attention span and how easy or hard they find the puzzles.
There are over 100 crayons at your disposal, featuring authentic Crayola colours, with the option of fine or regular tips, and the choice between a solid line of colour when the crayon’s used or a more realistic wax crayon type effect. An eraser is included too for any mistakes, although the game cleverly detects where you’re drawing and makes it impossible to colour outside of the lines of the particular section you’re currently working on. Sadly we found a few glitches with this and were able to, gasp, draw over the lines. This is easily remedied with the eraser though, so it isn’t too much of an issue.
Pictures range from animals and objects, to dinosaurs and characters you’ve met in the game. There’s certainly a good selection, although the game’s main flaw limits the appeal of returning to what should have been a great mode; bizarrely, there’s absolutely no way to save, transfer or do anything with your completed picture other than discard it as soon as you’ve finished. Even moving onto another image erases all trace of your artistic efforts, and it seems to defy the point of the mode if you can’t look at your image at a later date. Instantly losing your effort makes it hard to see why you’re bothering in the first place, and drastically reduces the amount of time you’re likely to spend within the colouring book.
That said, then, there’s little to really recommend Crayola Treasure Adventures for. While there’s nothing wrong aesthetically – the visuals are bright and clear, the music and sound chirpy and catchy – the short and repetitive story mode and the crucially flawed colouring book mode don’t offer enough to warrant spending £30 on the game. There is fun to be had here for children who are particularly fond of colouring and puzzles, but if they’re that keen, you can get the real thing for a tiny fraction of the cost of this (as well as being able to look at your work later), and so there’s little reason to buy Crayola Treasure Adventures. Nice idea, but flawed and ultimately a little pointless.