Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an artist. Even from an early age I used to love drawing, being able to draw things pretty well from eye, and scrawling doodles whenever I could. Being a journalist wasn’t my first choice of career; initially I wanted to draw comics, trying for a bit before discovering my passion for journalism and pursuing it further.
My passion for art has even carried over to my love for video games, and not simply in their capacity to be works of art. Games like Minecraft and Super Mario Maker provide me with a digital landscape to create my own masterpieces within the confines of their design, and more specific games like Art academy allow me to have a digital canvas that I can take on the go.
I’m always keeping an eye out for artistic mediums I can store on my phone or 3DS, which is why Pixel Paint initially caught my eye. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do pixel art, and this seemed like the perfect way to do it. However, while Pixel Paint is serviceable enough, it’s got some major flaws that hold it back from being what could’ve been a great introduction for upcoming artists.
Pixel Paint is basically everything that’s advertised. A small-scale art tool specifically designed for creating pixel art. It’s got a pretty basic selection of tools: pencil, brush, eraser, line, circle, square; and various color palettes ranging from Gameboy green and grey, to a full color range. It’s the kind of tool set that someone already proficient in pixel art might feel right at home with, but any newcomers will face a massive barrier of entry.
What bothers me the most about it is how it lacks a basic grid layout, unless you’re incredibly zoomed in or drawing on the smallest canvas, that would help you get a better understanding of pixel placement and further your creations. Explain to me how Animal Crossing had this for it’s custom designs, but a game whose sole focus is creating pixel art does not. Combine that with how it lacks even basic tutorials to assist budding artists and then give them the freedom to make their own creations and you have a game that’s really only made for a specific audience.
And that’s Pixel Paints most egregious and glaring flaw. For a game that’s categorized as “edutainment” on the official Nintendo site, it does nothing in the way of teaching you the basics of pixel art. If you take, for example, a game like Super Mario Maker, which eases players in by giving them a basic understand of tools, a grid layout to understand where things can and can’t be placed, and access to more and more tools as they spend more time with the game, you see how it earns the tagline: “anyone can make it, everyone can play it.”
While the pursuit of art is, at its core, driven by personal creativity, it also requires an understanding and respect for the structure and form of how to create. Pixel Art fails in this spectacularly and ends up being little more than a $5 MSPaint tool for 3DS.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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