App Review: Drawn — The Painted Tower

Category: Games
TiP Rating:
English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish
Big Fish Games, Inc
Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later
Link to app

App Store Description: Enter the world of Drawn, the newest adventure from Big Fish Games Studios. Unravel the secrets of the Painted Tower while overcoming challenging puzzles on your quest to save Iris. A curse has locked each floor of the tower, and only the most creative adventurer can find a way through. Enter lush painted worlds and meet fantastic characters who will help you and sometimes try to stop you, on your quest through the dream world of The Painted Tower.

Beware! Darkness approaches the tower. Can you save her in time?

Summary: Drawn: The Painted Tower is the charming story of a girl who was locked  away in a tower, and you must solve a number of challenges to rescue her. A mix of puzzles and hidden objects, the linear gameplay is moderately challenging. Although the game is a little short, rarely does a game come along that so perfectly marries lush visuals and emotive music with an imaginative, well developed story.

Review: Drawn: The Painted Tower, an adventure/puzzle game from Big Fish Games, is an utterly enchanting story of Iris, a girl whose parents locked away in a tower to keep her safe. Isolated in the tower with no one but her caretaker Franklin, she escapes her lonely life by creating paintings which are portals to other worlds. You must solve a number of puzzles to move up the tower where she is waiting at the top to be saved.

Although the basic story is a classic premise, the execution is magical. Upon launch you are greeted with the melancholy music of Drawn, setting the mood even before you hit play. The slow, sweeping violins sing over a background of tympanic percussion and yearning chorus. The pleading melody sets the stage for a dark journey, searching for light. The score plays continuously in the background throughout the game, neither overshadowing gameplay nor becoming tiresome.

You begin on the bottom floor of the tower where you meet Franklin, who has been enstoned. As you move through the levels of the tower, the melancholy mood is reinforced by the gray and teal color palette, punctuated with colors from the paintings. The graphics are beautiful, with a smoothly rendered style that manages to feel equally handpainted. The enchanted paintings are lively and colorful, creating inviting worlds. Combined with the aching music, you are drawn into a deeply immersive world you won’t want to leave.

The linear gameplay is a mix of puzzles and hidden objects, gaining you access to higher levels of the tower. Puzzles are found in the paintings as well as the rooms, and are of varying degrees of difficulty ranging from easy to moderately challenging for an experienced gamer. Should you get stuck, a built-in hint system featuring Franklin is available to give you a hand. Navigating through the game is simple and intuitive, and the inventory is always visible at the bottom of the screen. If you aren’t sure what is “clickable,” tap the foot prints in the bottom right to reveal the hotspots.

This game is near perfect. The single flaw is its length — it’s short enough that an experienced gamer can finish it in a long afternoon. Some may dislike the relative easiness of the puzzles, however, the difficulty level makes it great for younger gamers.

To say I loved this game would be a profound understatement. Rarely does a game come along that so perfectly marries lush visuals and emotive music with an imaginative, well developed story. I’ve been playing adventure games since Myst first debuted in the mid-90s, and honestly cannot remember the last time I played a game that was so enchanting. To be honest, I was sad when it ended.

The easiness of the puzzles didn’t bother me. If anything, I was glad to not be frustrated with illogical back and forths all too present in adventure games. Another thing that stood out was the blessed lack of dialog which is a testament to the story telling skill of the development team. All too often with other games in this genre, the story is told through boring, insipid dialog which reeks of a short cut to creativity.

Drawn: The Painted Tower is a charming, beautiful game sure to lure you in. Experienced gamers will appreciate the exquisite execution and casual gamplay, while younger gamers new to the genre will enjoy the moderate difficulty level. Although short, the high quality of the game will leave you wanting more — which is good as Drawn 2 is currently in the works.

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