Let's Draw! is based the theory that kids can learn to draw by showing them how to break down familiar objects into shapes like circles, ovals, rectangles, and triangles. The game incorporates the techniques developed by Kazesaburou Akiyama, the popular Japanese author of "Let's Draw! In Just Ten Minutes a Day." But what makes this game so cool is that it animates whatever kids draw.
From the game's main menu, you can choose to take drawing lessons in the Let's Draw section, draw whatever you like in the Sketchbook section, or draw objects to be incorporated into games in the Mini-Games section.
It's best to start in the drawing lessons section, because it will teach you how to draw all of the things you will need in the Mini-Games section. The 118 lessons are divided into 12 categories, including basic shapes, food, fruit, bugs, big and small animals, sea creatures, dinosaurs, big and small vehicles, people and nature.
The lessons are spoken aloud in friendly voice. They are also shown in a step-by-step manner on the top screen while you draw each step on the bottom screen. For example, to draw a car, the game shows you how to draw a rectangle for the body of the car. Once you have done this on the bottom screen, the game then shows you how to draw more rectangles for the roof and the windows. Next, you will draw two circles for the wheels and then choose from a palette of 12 colors to fill it in. When you are done, the car animates and then is shown in a scene where you are provided arrow keys to make it go forward and backwards. You can even honk its horn.
As you go through the lessons, you can save 12 of your drawings at a time. These drawings can be revisited in the Sketchbook section to add more detail and fill in the background, and some will appear in the Mini-Games section.
The Mini-Games section is even more magical than the Let's Draw section. Here you will find 10 simple games. While each of the games is fun to play, what makes them special is that they allow you to draw objects that appear in the games. For example, in one called Jumping Dolphins, you can draw a dolphin, a fish, a crab and a sailboat that will all appear in the game. Using the stylus, you control your dolphin by directing it through rings placed underwater and over the water. For a car race game, you can draw your car and three opponents. Likewise, in the Whack-a-Mole game, you are asked to draw the four animals that pop up from the holes.
Let's Draw! is a brilliantly conceived game with great execution. Its approach to drawing makes it non-threatening and easy to understand. Recognizing that young children would be playing, the game presents all of its instructions out loud with lots of positive feedback. By animating the drawings that kids create, the game sucks kids into the process of creating art. But the piece de resistance is the providing of games in which your own artwork is incorporated into the gameplay. It encourages creativity in an exciting manner. What is the craziest animal you can draw for the animal race? How about one with six legs?
This game will play on any Nintendo DS or DSi, but we reviewed this game on the new Nintendo DSi XL. Drawing on the 4.2 inch screen made our art creations seem more alive, because they were so much larger than what will appear on the older DS or DSi screens.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.