Drawn to Life

Drawn to Life
Drawn to Life
Drawn to Life coverart.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) 5TH Cell
Publisher(s) THQ
Agatsuma (Japan)
Designer(s) Jeremiah Slaczka
Composer(s) David J. Franco
Series Drawn to Life
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
Release date(s)
  • NA September 10, 2007
  • AUS September 20, 2007
  • EU September 21, 2007
  • JP December 4, 2008
Genre(s) Action-Adventure/Platform
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Drawn to Life is an action-adventure/platform game for the Nintendo DS developed by 5th Cell and published by THQ.[1] In the game, players create their own playable characters, level objects and accessories by drawing them using the DS's stylus and touch screen.

Drawn to Life requires the player to create a hero in order to free a cursed village from an encroaching darkness. It features numerous platforming levels, a top down central village and other elements such as vehicles, weapons and platforms, which are drawn or colored by the player using the stylus.

Two sequels have come out, both under the title Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter, for release on the Wii and DS.[2] A spin-off title, Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition (based on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Frankendoodle"), was developed by Altron for the DS.



Drawn to Life is a 2D game where the player must draw their own character, weapons and accessories, platforms and objects. The game is separated into three different modes:

Village mode - A top-down, central hub where the player progresses the story and interacts with the Raposa, purchases items from the item shop using rapo-coins collected in Adventure mode, and accesses levels. Players draw different items at the Raposa's request to enrich their village. Over the course of the game in village mode, the player will play minigames, participate in a town festival, hunt for a thief and help the Raposa thrive. Here players are given their objective for the next Adventure mode level.

Drawn to Life screenshot

There are two main buildings in this mode - Creation Hall, where players can edit their previous creations, and the item shop, where players can purchase songs, patterns, stamps and even new abilities for their hero. Also, there is a wishing well in which players can dump rapo coins to get prizes. The 10,000 rapo coin grand prize is Developer's Grove, where the Hero can meet sprites of the game's developers.

Adventure mode - A side-scrolling platformer, with 16 levels. Here the player battles enemies, rescues Raposa, and collects items. Players draw platforms that allow them to progress through the level. The levels exist in one of four different worlds; Ice, Forest, Tropical and City, each world with its own boss.

Players are tasked with rescuing three Raposa and four pieces of a page from the Book of Life, which will be used to create a new village object. Players can also collect secret orbs that will then unlock and be purchasable in the item shop. In each section of the levels players tap on an easel icon to enable Draw mode, which tells the player to draw a new type of platform or object. Once drawn, the player goes back to Adventure mode and can then interact with the newly drawn object.

Draw Mode - The tool through which players create new objects, weapons and their hero. This is done through the stylus and touch screen. Once drawn, objects and the hero will animate. The player can design up to three different humanoid heroes using a variety of colors, patterns and stamps. Character creation also features 15 pre-made character templates which can be traced, or have their body parts used for those who are less artistic. The game's title screen can be drawn and saved, so players can make their own unique title screen.

Players can trade their drawn heroes and other objects via local WiFi only.


The main "race" of creatures inhabiting the universe of Drawn to Life are anthropomorphic anime-inspired fox like beings known as the "Raposa" ("Raposa" happens to mean "fox" in Portuguese). They were drawn by the Creator, who also drew their world and everything upon it. But the Creator abandoned the Raposa long ago.

The story begins with a Raposa named Mari crying out to the player, the Creator, to help save the village she lives in. Along the way, you meet her best friend, Jowee, and her dad, the mayor. These characters are the last remaining villagers. You design a hero for them, and then run into Wilfre, a corrupted Raposa that dabbled in creation, and spawned a legion of evil shadow-like creatures. You start by rescuing the Mayor, who set off to bring back the Raposa to the Village. As you progress, you learn that Wilfre was once a prominent member of the Village, and that in his lust for power; he stole the Book of Life, and tore the pages from it. The Mayor asks you to find and return the pages of the Book of Life, so the Creator can once again draw the missing objects from the Village. You even meet a sweet raposa named Heather who is halfway covered in shadow. She will occasionally help you. However, she does not speak but merely motions and giggles.

You start by designing the Eternal Flame, which is then used to clear the darkness from each section of the village, each time you return from completing a level. Along the way, you rescue a cast of villagers, who agree to return to the Village and open up shops, restaurants and other places of interest. Mari begins training to take over as Mayor, and the Village plans a festival to celebrate. Meanwhile, adventure-hungry Jowee sneaks into a level, and you have to save him and help find an appropriate gift for Mari. This reckless act causes a rift between Jowee and Mari, but they eventually make up and grow closer as they help the hero restore the village to what it once was.

After numerous confrontations with Wilfre, he finally tricks the Mayor into appearing alone, and attacks him, stealing the Book of Life as well. Everyone tries to help the Mayor but he sadly dies in Mari's arms. Everyone devastated, but after seeing the village descend into chaos, decide to band together and stop Wilfre for good. The hero defeats Wilfre, and returns to the Village. Jowee plans to leave on a Treasure Hunt, and after saying goodbye, Mari reminisces about the past, upset about losing her dad and best friend. The story ends with Mari on the beach, shocked at seeing Jowee walk up behind her. She runs to him happily, watched over by the spirit of the Mayor, and the hero, on the cliff above. Plus after meeting with Crazy Barks, Heather finally starts speaking.


Name Type Description
The Creator Player Character The Creator is the deity worshipped by the Raposa, the omnipotent being that created the world, nature and the Raposa themselves. The Creator draws objects onto pages of the Book of Life. When Wilfre stole this book, the Creator was very saddened and angry and left the village to wither away (or at least seemed that way to the Raposa). The Creator responds to prayer and seems to have a very paternal relationship towards the Raposa. The Creator can speak directly to the Raposa and can interact with their world; however the Creator usually has the Hero as the intermediary.
The Hero Player Character This is the Creator's avatar, the one drawn by the player sent to restore the village, rescue the Raposa and defeat Wilfre. The Hero is often asked questions about his adventures outside of the town, to which the player is given a set list of replies. The Hero is often asked to help the Raposa with even the smallest of problems, and the Hero seems all too happy to oblige. Over the course of the game the Hero becomes deeply involved with the Raposa's lives, befriending Jowee, dancing on stage with Navy J, hunting for a thief with Cricket and many more interesting adventures. The Hero eventually restores the village, brings back all the Raposa and defeats Wilfre.
Mari Main Character She is the Mayor's daughter, and is the only one who prays to the Creator for help just before her father decides to abandon their village for good. She is next in line to become the village's mayor, but Mari feels she is not yet ready to accept her responsibilities even in training. Mari is worries about Jowee's recklessness, whom she cares about deeply. Mari is eventually thrust into the role of mayor at the villages darkest hour after her father's untimely death at the hands of Wilfre. Mari is featured on the cover of the game's box.
Jowee Main Character Mari's best friend and love interest. Jowee loves to explore and yearns for adventure, he also serves as comic relief to Mari's straight man routine. Over the course of the game the Hero and Jowee become fast friends. At the end of the game, Jowee passes up an opportunity to go on an adventure across the ocean with Pirate Beard to stay with Mari and help her manage the village. Jowee is featured on the cover of the game's box.
The Mayor Main Character A Raposa that is the mayor of his town. One of the oldest Raposa still in the town. He wears a monocle, a blue coat, a brown hat and has a cane. He is very wise and knows how to deftly deal with all of the other villager's daily issues. Late in the game, before the final showdown with Wilfre, he is lured to a secluded spot away from the village and is killed by Wilfre. However during the ending sequence his eternal soul is shown standing on a cliff with the Hero, watching over Mari and Jowee. The idea of the Mayor surviving Wilfre's attack is actually supported by the facts that he can be seen moving after he had been "killed", and that he appears in the second game, though. The Mayor is featured on the cover of the game's box.
Isaac Supporting Character He is the shopkeeper of the village. He's very practical and stocks helpful items for the hero. He and his family were the last Raposa to leave the village. Isaac constantly feuds with Chef Cookie. He has a wife and a daughter.
Farmer Brown Supporting Character Farmer Brown is the village farmer; he grows a crop of Banya stalks (the indigenous food source of the village) that feeds the rest of the villagers. He has a wife and son, all of whom talk in a southern drawl.
Chef Cookie Supporting Character He is the village's chef and the owner of the only restaurant in the village. He speaks in a French accent, and works with his assistant chefs. He loves to cook; Banya (the staple food of the Raposa) is his favourite ingredient to cook with. He has a running feud with Isaac the Shopkeeper.
Heather Supporting/Pro-important Character Heather is a strange yet very kind little Raposa girl who is half engulfed in the evil shadow goo that consumed Wilfre. The Mayor assigns Jowee to watch over her, and the two develop a close friendship. She is mute for most of the game, but at the end of the game speaks when Crazy Barks demands what she wants. It has been revealed that despite her ability to speak, her shadowy corruption has not been cured, and she will once again be an important character in the sequel.
Zsasha Supporting Character A Raposa thief and Cricket's rival. He claims that he cannot be caught, but usually feels bad for what he's done and ends up giving back what he steals. At the end of the game Cricket finally catches Zsasha, but realizes Zsasha has been taking care of a young Raposa girl, so Cricket doesn't arrest him.
Cricket Supporting Character The policeman and de facto detective of the village. He has a very old school approach to work. He's been after a "legendary" thief named Zsasha that will define his career. He has a running feud with Unagi once the Hero saves him.
Navy J Supporting Character A singer, dancer and songwriter. He has many groupies and he is styled after Elvis. During the village festival he sings on stage along with the Hero, however his lyrics are rather horrible and confusing.
Crazy Barks Supporting Character A crazy yet harmless Raposa. He seems to believe that he is a dog. Standing guard near his most prized possession, a large rock. He teaches Heather how to speak like himself, when she wanders up to his rock. He doesn't have spaces between his words.
Indee Supporting Character Indee is a world famous explorer and adventurer who travels across the globe on his adventures. Indee is a spoof of the character Indiana Jones from the movie series of the same name.
Pirate Beard Supporting Character A Raposa Pirate, originally set on plundering the village with his crew, but is convinced to stay after being given a pirate ship by the Mayor. He and Jowee were going on a treasure hunt, but Jowee decides to stay with Mari. Pirate Beard seems to be a spoof on the character Jack Sparrow from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
Cindi Supporting Character The daughter of Isaac who loves cupcakes, her parents left the village to look for her, unaware that she was still in the village where Mari and Jowee found her. She refers to the Hero as a "Wapo Monster".
Tubba Supporting Character Tubba is a young and very fat Raposa who loves to eat, especially Chef Cookie's food. He protects Chef Cookie from the hungry Raposa before the midnight festival.
Galileo Supporting Character Galileo is an astronomer who lives and works at the village's observatory, where players can view the day and night skies they've created. He is based on the 16th century astronomer Galileo Galilei. He is not mentioned in the DS sequel however.
Samuel Supporting Character A Raposa that dresses like a Sistine monk, he is very quiet, but gives wise advice. You rescue him from inside Deadwood.
Bubba Supporting Character Tubba's twin brother, he also loves food and is very fat. He gets along very well with his twin; the only distinguishing difference between the two is that Bubba wears a hat.
Count Choco Supporting Character Count Choco is a wannabe vampire Raposa. He desperately wants to be a real vampire, but he can not stand the sight of blood, let alone drinking it. Instead he prefers tomato juice. He speaks in a very clichéd Transylvanian accent.
Mike Minor Character Mike is a human that somehow got trapped in the Raposa's world. The Raposa often ask of him, "What happened to your ears?" referring to his lack of Raposa ears. Mike, himself, often says, "What the heck is a Raposa anyway?" and "Nothing is wrong with my ears!". He wishes to return to his own world. It is also mentioned (by two younger raposa) that he is a "Computer Snogrammer" (probably a mispronunciation of "programmer"). In Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter (Nintendo DS version.), Mike returns with a major role near the end of the game...
Unagi Minor Character Unagi is a secret agent dressed in a black suit, assigned to protect the Mayor who considers Cricket and his security ways old-fashioned. His name means "eel" in Japanese.
Dr. Cure Minor Character A female doctor in the village. She attempts to resurrect the Mayor when Wilfre kills him, but fails. She is the only other adult female Raposa of interest besides Mari.
Wilfre Villain A Raposa who thought he could usurp the Creator using the stolen Book of Life. However, his attempts at creation were "black and twisted". Frustrated by his failures and the new antagonism from the other villagers, he tore up the book of life before he was driven away (by the Mayor, Cricket, and a third Raposa who might have been Cricket's Deputy). He gained control of the darkness and sent it to cover the village. Although Wilfre is first seen as a shadow creature himself, flashbacks reveal he once was a relatively normal Raposa with gray hair. The game can only end with his defeat. He ends up killing the mayor as well (though the Mayor can still be seen moving after he has been killed). Wilfre tries to defeat the Hero once and for all in the final level, but is defeated instead and turns into his normal self before dying.


Drawn to Life has over 40 songs which can be purchased in the game's item shop using rapo-coins. The game also includes a full vocal track for the ending, named The End. Composed by David J Franco (the game's music and sound designer), sung by Hayley Chipman and David J Franco.



Drawn to Life was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Story Development at the 11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards along with Bioshock, Mass Effect and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune during the D.I.C.E. Summit.[3] It was the only handheld game to be nominated in the category. At IGN's "Best of 2007" awards Drawn to Life won Most Innovative Design (DS)[4] and was runner-up for Best Platform Game (DS).[5]

In GameSpot's Best of 2007 the game was nominated for (Genre Awards) Best Platformer (All Systems)[6] and (Special Achievement) Best Original Game Mechanic[7] Nintendo Power nominated Drawn to Life for Best Platformer (Wii & DS) for its 2007 Nintendo Power Awards. Drawn to Life was also a finalist in the inaugural Independent Games Festival: Mobile awards for Achievement in Art[8] and Audio Achievement.[9]


According to Next-Gen.biz from the game's launch (September 2007) until March 1, 2008 the game had sold 820,000 units for the North American and Western European territories and was ranked 61st of the top 100 selling video games of the last 12 months.[10]

In THQ's 2007 holiday quarter sales conference call with investors, THQ President and CEO Brian Farrell said the publisher was pleased with the performance of the franchise and that [the game] had sold "several hundred thousand units worldwide [for the holiday season]". Adding that, over THQ's past three fiscal quarters its DS sales had risen 94%, primarily driven by Drawn to Life.[11]

The game was very well received in Australia making its debut on the Top 10 Australian sales chart (GfK) for all platforms at #3, behind Halo 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.[12] It continued to stay on the Top 10 sales chart over the next two months until Christmas.

Sequels and spin-offs

Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition

A spin-off title was announced on February 27, 2008 for the Nintendo DS titled Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition. The game is based on an episode from the Nickelodeon TV show SpongeBob SquarePants from Season 2 titled "Frankendoodle".[13] This game was not developed by the original developer 5th Cell, it was developed by Japanese developer Altron.[14]

Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter

A Wii version of the game was announced by THQ's CEO and President Brian Farrell on February 5, 2008 at the company's holiday quarter sales conference call with investors.[15] Released in October 2009, Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter for both the Wii and Nintendo DS introduces new gameplay mechanics such as the hero's ability to transform into different objects. The Wii version details the hero collecting Artifacts to defeat an evil shadow that has taken over the Raposa Village while the DS version details Wilfre's return.[2]


  1. ^ Nintendo Power vol. 221. 2007. pp. 62–64. 
  2. ^ a b Rosenberg, Jared (May 26, 2009). "The Drawn to Life Adventure Continues on Wii & DS". NintendoWorldReport.com. http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=18548. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  3. ^ "11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Story Development". The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. http://web.archive.org/web/20080315003758/http://www.interactive.org/awards.php?winners&year=2008&cat=200807#200807. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  4. ^ "IGN Best of 2007: Most Innovative Design (DS)". IGN. http://bestof.ign.com/2007/ds/20.html. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  5. ^ "IGN Best of 2007: Best Platform Game (DS)". IGN. http://bestof.ign.com/2007/ds/6.html. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  6. ^ "Gamespots's Best of 2007 (Genre Awards) Best Platformer (All Systems)". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/best-of/genreawards/index.html?page=6. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  7. ^ "Gamespots's Best of 2007 (Special Achievement) Best Original Game Mechanic". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/best-of/specialachievement/index.html?page=16. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  8. ^ "2008 Independent Games Festival Mobile Finalists". IGF. http://igfmobile.com/02finalists.html. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  9. ^ "2008 Independent Games Festival Mobile Finalists". IGF. http://igfmobile.com/02finalists.html. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  10. ^ "The Top 100 Selling Games of the Last 12 Months - Edge Magazine". Next-gen.biz. 2008-04-10. http://www.next-gen.biz/features/top-100-selling-games-last-12-months. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  11. ^ Boyer, Brandon (2008-02-05). "THQ Talks Drawn To Life Wii, Stuntman, Juiced Cancellations". Gamasutra. http://gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=17250. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  12. ^ Plunkett, Luke (2007-10-17). "Australian Sales Charts". Gawker Media. http://kotaku.com/gaming/sales-charts/australian-sales-charts-311726.php. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  13. ^ Totilo, Stephen (2008-02-27). "Exclusive: Next ‘Drawn To Life’ Set In SpongeBob SquarePants Universe". MTV. http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/02/27/exclusive-next-drawn-to-life-set-in-spongebob-squarepants-universe/. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  14. ^ Totilo, Stephen (2008-02-27). "Exclusive: Next ‘Drawn To Life’ Set In SpongeBob SquarePants Universe". MTV. http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/02/27/exclusive-next-drawn-to-life-set-in-spongebob-squarepants-universe/. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  15. ^ Boyer, Brandon (2008-02-05). "THQ Talks Drawn To Life Wii, Stuntman, Juiced Cancellations". Gamasutra. http://gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=17250. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 

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