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Hands-on review: THQ's uDraw peripheral

01 Mar 2011

THQ’s uDraw peripheral brings DS-like, stylus-driven functionality to your Nintendo Wii.

It’s a drawing tablet (not terribly dissimilar from the Wacom tablets commonly used by graphic artists) that allows players to paint, draw, colour and navigate to their heart’s content on the Nintendo Wii. Naturally, there are a number of uses and possible implementations for such a device, and THQ has decided to express some of those in the guise of the uDraw’s three launch titles: uDraw Studio, uDraw Pictionary and uDraw Dood’s Big Adventure.


The peripheral itself has a 4-inch by 6-inch drawing surface, which corresponds one-to-one with your television screen. Using the stylus, tapping, say, the top-left corner of the surface will move the on-screen cursor to the top-left corner of the screen. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly it becomes second nature. The nib of the stylus is also analogue, so applying different amounts of pressure will have different effects (such as the density or thickness of an on-screen brush stroke). Your Wii Remote snaps into the peripheral and not only provides the unit with power and connectivity to the console, but allows you to make use of its controls and accelerometer functionality. Even the ‘B’ trigger is accessible underneath the device!


Think MS Paint on steroids, decked out with tonnes of great new features and a streamlined usability. uDraw Studio is a digital art studio that lets kids bring their creations to life without the need for paper and, more importantly, without creating any mess or waste. Users can draw, paint and stamp from scratch with a number of styles, textures and colours to work with. You can zoom in on drawings by up to 400% for minor details, and once you’ve drawn something, you can play the process back from scratch at 2x or 4x the speed. Best of all, utilising the Wii’s SD-card support, images can be saved as .jpg or .png files and emailed or printed from a computer as desired.


One for kids and bigger kids alike, uDraw Pictionary does away with the need for paper and the never-ending hunt for pencils, and brings the classic drawing party game to the Wii with some unique new features. Pictionary Mania mode, for instance, brings a few twists on your classic Pictionary that are bound to produce some hilarious results when you play with a group: whether it’s limited ink, a rotating screen, straight lines only, forcing you to draw with your bad hand or more, Pictionary Mania will keep it interesting! Only one uDraw Tablet is required, which can be passed around between teams.


A kid-friendly, accessible platformer in the vein of Drawn to Life, navigate your Dood through a number of environments: draw trampolines for him to bounce on; roll him around some Sonic the Hedgehog-style levels by tilting your tablet; or guide your bloated, floating Dood using your stylus. Players can also customise their Dood by choosing from three different templates and then colouring him to their preference. Even some of the enemies, obstacles and other in-game objects can be customised. It’s the first real "game” to take advantage of the uDraw Tablet, and it’s perfect for young kids.