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Drawn: The Painted Tower on Game and Player

Drawn: The Painted Tower

James Day  //  November 13, 2009

For those looking for an adventure outside the Telltale Games canon.


or the last few years Big Fish Games has been one of the most prolific and successful makers of casual games. Specializing in adventure and puzzle titles, they have even seen several of their series such as Mystery Case Files grace the Nintendo DS.

Drawn: The Painted Tower is its latest adventure opus, and in many ways pushes the boundaries of this budget-priced field.

For a start, the haunting orchestral score sounds more like something that deserves to be in Fable II. In fact its overall presentation is a higher quality than you would expect, with its gothic-cartoon aesthetic proving very beautiful at times despite its minimal animation.

Despite minimal animation, a gothic-cartoon aesthetic proves very beautiful.
Though vague, the story of Drawn is substantial enough to maintain the sense of fantasy intrigue throughout. A mysterious girl named Iris is trapped at the top of cursed tower and it's up to the player to clear the way up to her by restoring every floor to how it once was. During the ascent, the player will also encounter magical living paintings that must also be repaired yet hold some sort of significance to the girl's history.

Mechanically, Drawn is as traditional as adventure games come, consisting primarily of logic challenges and brain-teasing puzzles. With art as the main theme of the game both dramatically and technically there are many instances of using sketches that magically become real objects as well as having to draw simply shapes onscreen. While it doesn't really innovate in this area it does provide variety and a good balance between challenge and intuitiveness to appeal to people of all ages and skill levels.

While many recent adventure games have introduced hint systems, Drawn has to be the most innovative one I've yet to encounter. Even the bigger developers in the genre like Telltale Games could stand to learn something from it, as it uses two specific elements to prevent players from getting stuck without resorting to complete handholding.

Even developers like Telltale Games could stand to learn something from the introduced hint system.
The first is a cooldown timer between requesting hints, which cleverly forces the player to think over and act on their last clue for a set time instead of allowing them to click all the way through to the final explicit hint. Secondly, the puzzle-solving tasks in the game have a skip function so if players are at a complete loss after several minutes, a button will appear that when pressed will finish it for them. This was a lifesaver for me since there were two or three puzzles I just could not solve. It's thanks to these two simple mechanics that my progress and enjoyment of the game weren't derailed in the manner many adventure games can be.

So while it's technically a pretty standard adventure game, Drawn: The Painted Tower is elevated by some great production values and what should become the new standard in hint systems. While this doesn't challenge the finest entries in the genre, those looking for a PC adventure outside the Telltale Games canon will find a lot to like here.

Krumpet // November 13, 2009 // 7:08 PM

Nice review. It would be nice if you pointed us to where we can get the game. What's with bloggers who talk up products and then don't link to them? Talk about a poor user experience. Your blog is like a black hole.

[M. UBALDI] Content is only part of the user experience, which includes a Google toolbar available for most modern browsers. Search engines keep pace with changing URLs, while most blogs accumulate hundreds of links that go dead after a period of months. This game is available from one retailer. Most titles are sold by dozens; does each one deserve a link? We prefer practical solutions here.

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Drawn: The Painted Tower



Big Fish Games


Big Fish Games

NA Release

October 23, 2009


Play Mode

ESRB Rating

In Favor

  • Brilliant hint system
  • Great presentation
  • Budget-priced


  • Standard adventure game mechanics

G&P Rating

G&P Latest

July 1, 2011

June 28, 2011

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