Colors Live (Switch)

I always thought Nintendo’s Art Academy games were neat ideas.  Even though they were not completely realistic and couldn’t replicate the feel of actually drawing on paper, they taught a lot of art techniques and some of the games even showed you how to draw Pokémon and Disney characters!  With the touch screen usable in handheld mode, I’m kind of surprised Nintendo hasn’t made an Art Academy on the Switch yet.  So that’s why I was interested in reviewing Colors Live. It’s a paint and art program on the Switch with a unique twist: the physical version of this game comes with a special stylus that hooks into the headphone jack and uses sound to detect pressure sensitive hard and soft brush strokes!

You have a selection of brush styles you can use, as well as an eraser and even a pen that makes things look like they were drawn with square pixels!  You can also select hues from a vast color wheel, too.  There are two main modes of play.  You can draw freely and save your work and even post it online.  The other mode is called “Color Quest” where you are presented with a challenge each day.  In these daily tasks, you might need to draw only using dark colors, or certain types of brushes.  You have a time limit to draw these items, but you get plenty of time.  I would always finish way before then, but the game forces you to draw for ten minutes before stopping.  I would just let my Switch sit for a while.  Also, you can only do one of these challenges per day.

The game has some other problems, too.  There is no fill tool, for instance, which seems surprising.  I know that makes things less realistic, but it’s kind of a basic feature in most paint programs.  You also can’t play the game at all when hooked to the TV, it’s handheld only.  Plus, I really wish the game would give you step by step instructions on the many features and brushes in the game, kind of like what Art Academy does.  I feel this would give people an idea of all the possibilities you could do in the game, instead of just kind of throwing you into it without any knowledge of how to make the most of the features.  It would be really cool if someday the makers of Colors Live and Nintendo could team up to make an Art Academy game together, as the idea behind the pressure sensitive stylus is really cool.  Colors Live is still a neat paint program, but I imagine the budding artists who would be interested in this probably already have a better art program on their tablet or PC.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Kids need to be old enough to know how to take care of and not lose the included stylus.  Reading skill is helpful for text, and parental supervision is recommended for the online interactions.  Colors Live is rated E for Everyone.

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