Review: Disney Art Academy

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Disney Art Academy has one goal in mind: to help you draw Disney characters. It smashes that ambition quite effectively.

A drawing tutorial purpose-built for 3DS and the Wii U, the game’s set of classes covers twelve main topics with a variety of Disney characters in each. Oozing Nintendo, you’ll start off pretty simply, using your 3DS or Wii U stylus to draw heroes and villains, gaining techniques and unlocking tools as you progress. Surprisingly, the level of detail passed on by virtual instructors is quite complex, engaging and engrossing. In my second lesson drawing Snow White’s hair-tie, I was also learning about shading and symmetry. Disney heroines, of course, are perfect examples of symmetry, giving off an air of beauty and safety. Villains like Cruella de Vil, on the other hand, throw out waves of chaos due to their lack of harmony.

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It’s a bit of a strange beast; I was a bit bored at the start, being presented overly simple tasks yet bombarded with walls of text that (very interestingly) described technique. I couldn’t help but feel children would be in the opposite camp, challenged by the colouring-in work they’d be presented but bewildered by phrases thrown around in a real world art school. Thankfully, Disney Art Academy soon finds balance, opening up to let players do what they’d like. That could continue to present colouring-in books or letting more advanced artists go freehand. I laughed each time a lesson was over, as my work looked pretty good (if I do say so myself) compared to the mess of a drawing that my fellow, AI in-game classmates were producing.

The 3DS’ face and shoulder buttons are also quite useful, letting you zoom in for more detail, or undoing costly mistakes. The aforementioned drawing tools are varied and most let you fine tune their settings, letting those in the freehand camp really go and do whatever they choose. What happens after that, sadly, is limited. There is the ability to share artworks via Miiverse, but a lack of robust online sharing really hinders a game with such a narrow focus.

That’s really it — you draw Disney characters. As such, this will work for die-hard adult Disney fans, but is best suited for children with long car rides in their future. It’ll be engaging and involving childhood heroes, making it hard to fail.

Disney Art Academy was reviewed using a promotional code on 3DS, as provided by the publisher.

 

Review: Disney Art Academy
7 out of 10

The good

  • Great for children.
  • Equally as good for die-hard Disney fans.
  • Does exactly what it sets out to do.

The bad

  • A lack of online sharing tools.
  • A very slow start.

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