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iPad Game Review: Drawn: The Painted Tower HD
      12/24/10 04:54 PM

iPad Game Review: Drawn: The Painted Tower HD
Reviewed by Guy Dayen

Big Fish Games finally brings Drawn: The Painted Tower to the iPad platform. One of their very best games, and one of the few games I've played in the last year or two about which I've said: "I just cannot wait for the sequel!" The game is that compelling, and that good!

If you are a fan of puzzle games, you absolutely must include this in your collection. It is beautifully illustrated, and the puzzles are challenging enough to keep you busy for hours. It's one of the best ways you'll ever spend ten dollars.


In Drawn: The Painted Tower, you are the last hope of a world taken over by an evil chancellor with dark and terrible designs. Your mission is to rescue Iris, a little girl with the power to make her drawings and paintings become portals to magical worlds. Your only ally is Franklin, an old family friend who was entrusted with the safekeeping of the child.

As you explore the tower and solve the many riddles and puzzles that are keeping Iris a prisoner, you will get closer and closer to finding Iris and save her from the chancellor?s murderous intent. It is up to you to find objects, use various tools, and talk with various characters in the game to gain the knowledge and understanding you need to defeat the chancellor?s nefarious plans. Beware, however, not everyone or everything you come across will be friendly.

A big part of the pleasure of this game is the sense of exploration and discovery that you get as you progress from scene to scene. So no spoilers here. I will tell you that you will find yourself immersed in a very complex and well-imagined world, with over seventy scenes to play through. There are details aplenty, so keep your eyes wide open. You never know what will be a useful item later on in your journey up to the top of the mysterious tower.

Keep in mind that there is Game Center integration built into the game, and that there are many achievements to unlock. So if you are a more social type of player, you will find this aspect of the game right up your alley. If you?re not, it will simply be a minor facet of a grand and wonderful quest.


The graphic design of Drawn: The Painted Tower is on par with anything that?s ever been done for the iPad, and superior to almost everything I?ve seen. The artists outdid themselves in creating a whole new world, rich in details, and as real as our own. The game takes place in the tower, for the most part, but it also takes us into many different paintings, and each of these are miniature works of art. This is brilliant work, and is worthy of anything the animation studios are putting out these days. In fact, this would make a great animated movie, now that I think of it.

The fantasy elements of the story are well-represented in the look and feel of the game. The characters are well-drawn, with very expressive faces, and complex layers of shading to give them an almost three-dimensional look.


Drawn: The Painted Tower is made all the more atmospheric thanks to the wonderful score that was created for the game. The music changes according to the area you are currently in, so it won?t always be the same few notes playing repeatedly. While you can?t play your own music here, you won?t want to. Doing so would certainly ruin the mood that the game authors endeavored to create.

Sound effects are very good in the game, and enhance an already superior auditory experience. They make the painted scenes, as well as the scenes in the tower itself, come alive. Listen with headphones; it makes the experience even more spectacular.

One note about the character voices and narration in this game: they are truly excellent. Kudos to the actors.


This is one of my favorite games, period. My wife and I spent hours playing it on the Mac, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves all through it. The puzzles are challenging, and you really have to think things through; you have to observe and deduce. It?s really a thinking man?s (and woman?s) game! So many media outlets are dumbing things down these days that it?s a veritable pleasure to find a game (and a company) that believes in the intellectual prowess of its players.

I?m sad to report that there are glitches in the iPad version of the game that are stopping some people from playing the full game, but I?m sure that Big Fish, being the reputable and conscientious company it is, will keep working at it until everything is just as perfect as it was on the Mac side.

If you enjoy puzzles, and don?t need a frenetic pace in order to consider a game good, this is definitely the game for you. Don?t hesitate for a second and embark on a wondrous journey. You will be thrilled with this game, and you?ll feel a real sense of accomplishment when you solve the riddles and puzzles it contains. And please, don?t give up and give in to the impulse of using a walkthrough when you get stuck - leave that as a last resort. You?ll enjoy the game a lot more if you put yourself into it and find answers yourself. Use the hints and keep at it. The answers are there.

Good luck, and have a magical time playing this terrific game. And then join your voice to mine and demand that the sequel, Drawn 2, be brought to the iPad platform sooner rather than later! It is being built as you read this, and I can?t wait for it to arrive to the iPad so the grand adventure can be concluded.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5): 4.5 (Only due to the glitches that exist in the app at the moment - watch for updates coming soon)

Graphics: 5 Beautifully illustrated, one of the most imaginative and immersive environments to be found on the iPad platform.

Sound: 5 Excellent soundscape, extremely well-done narration and great voice acting. The score is wonderful, and changes for each specific area to be explored.

Controls: 4.5 Intuitive and simple control scheme, but the inventory items are sometimes hard to activate, and need to be dragged out two or three times to be used.

Gameplay: 4 An excellent game; truly one of the very best puzzlers available. It gets a four only due to app glitches, and it will be a rousing 5 when those issues are dealt with

Playing Hints and Tips:

- Make sure to keep your eyes open. Look for anything shiny, or twinkling. You?ll usually find something important there.
- You can toggle directional arrows on and off in the game. These indicate where you possibly may go in each scene. If you?re unsure of the path to take, or want an easier experience, these will come in handy.
- Go back and ask for hints if you need them. Don?t forget that hints are progressive, and you will get three hints for each puzzle you encounter.
- There are walkthroughs available on line, if you get really stuck, and the hints just aren?t enough. But keep those as a last resort.

App Facts:

Developer: Big Fish Games
Release Date: Dec 20, 2010
Price: $9.99
Buy App: Drawn: The Painted Tower HD


Check out our full list of iPhone/iPod touch game reviews:

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