Saturday, 27 August 2016

Nintendo 3DS - Disney Art Academy


Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Two years ago we've reviewed Nintendo's Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Art Academy, and found it an amazing drawing game that really teaches children how to draw while playing. Their drawing tools and lessons are brilliant, and our drawing skills has definitely improved!

A month ago, Nintendo has partnered with Disney and launched the Disney version of the Art Academy - Nintendo 3D Disney Art Academy, which I initially thought was a Disney version of the Pokemon Art Academy, but after playing the game with Abby for over a month, we have found that the drawing skills are fairly different. Apparently the advice and lessons were inspired by Disney Art and Pixar animations! Talking about learning from the professionals!

We've learned plenty of new skills and knowledge, especially on drawing people based on popular Disney characters! So if you'd like to learn how to draw portraits and your favourite Disney and Pixar characters in a fun but effective way, read on!


Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
The basics has 2 lessons, taught through drawing Mickey and Minnie
Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
Expressions is taught through 4 lessons
Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
Category completed!
Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Nintendo 3DS Disney Art Academy (RRP £29.99, pegi 3) teaches players step by step how to use their stylus pen to draw over 80 Disney and Pixar characters in 2D, using different drawing tools and skills on the Touch Screen. Players will be learning from personal instructor Professor Ian through 40 lessons, which are split into 4 levels and 12 categories:

Basics
Starters: Expression and Portraits
Intermediate: Shapes & Shadows, Construction, Action Poses, Villain Design and Colour Theory
Advanced: 2D Drawing Techniques, Drawing Animals, Drawing Humans, 3D Drawing Technique

Each level require a number of category to be completed before the next level will be unlocked to the player. For example, players need to complete all the lessons under 2 out of 5 categories in the Intermediate Level before they can start lessons in the Advanced level.


Getting Started:

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Nintendo 3DS Disney Art Academy allows player to take Lessons, visit the Clubhouse to access their profile (created at the beginning of the game) and art gallery, have a go at Free Paintshare (save to SD card and upload onto Miiverse or social media) and download your own images for references (in Free Paint), and change game settings.

Players can save frequently by pressing the Start button, which also show other options such as clearing the canvas (instead of erasing using eraser or undoing drawing steps), etc.


Lessons:

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
Introducing the character
Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
Advice/ theory
Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
Gradually drop support (sketch lines for example)
Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
Another example of using sketch to support and free hand drawing
Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game
Left: Practise makes perfect! (Top by "classmate")
Right: One of our favourite drawing (bottom by Abby)
We absolutely love the way Nintendo planned the lessons. At the beginning, it felt like we were just colouring in the blue sketch to draw Mickey Mouse, but that's just the basic skill. Gradually, you'll learn to use different support tools (grid lines, sketch lines, etc) to draw, and eventually drawing without any, or use your own decision to choose a support tool to help you draw.

The reference image will always be there, unless you go to Free Paint and select a completely empty canvas, where you can draw whatever you want.

You'll also learn the benefit of using different drawing tools (pencils, airbrush, tapered pens, etc), and learn about how airbrush gives out glows and misty feel, and tapered pens give a flowing/ flying feel, for example.


We weren't expecting Nintendo 3DS Disney Art Academy to be so addictive! There are particular categories that we are really interested in (for example: Colour Theory, which is the first we've completed in the Intermediate level!), so we were eager to unlock them.

And we really learned a lot of new skills, which has helped us with our drawing. The end result really amazed us as they turned out to be much better than we expected! (The lines are quite wonky when zoomed in!)

The skills we picked up will stay with us, and can easily be applied to bigger programs for professionals too.


Toolbox:

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

After completing each lesson, players will unlock new images and new tools that will be added to the Free Paint section (so far, toolbox in lessons contains only tools that will be used in that lesson).

There are the professional tools, and then there is the amazing Magic Brush! You can't not have a magic wand looking Magic Brush in Disney Art Academy, and it certainly adds magic to your artwork!

I had a play in Free Paint's empty canvas, not realising that we've unlocked so many magical patterns already! There are the basic hearts and butterflies, which changes colour if you hold your stylus pen on the touch screen and drag across, and then there are the more magical patterns such as the sparkling stars (perfect for Cinderella's dress!) and bubbles (Ariel!). I believe we'll be using these sparkles in some of the lessons too!


Free Paint:

Nintendo 3DS, Disney game, drawing game

After completing the Colour Theory in Intermediate level, we decided to take a break and give Free Paint - Eva from Wall-E a go. We had a look at her when we were still doing the basics, and had no idea where to start! The step by step reference images (without further instructions) weren't too clear when highlights were added, so I think we missed the outline that defines Eva, but other than that, I think we didn't do too badly!


We think that Nintendo 3DS Disney Art Academy is an amazing drawing game, and not only do you get to learn how to draw your favourite Disney and Pixar characters, you will also learn how to draw them well! We have been impressed with our own drawings from start, and we even managed to draw a character with just reference images!

And if you are a Pokemon fan, do check Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Art Academy out, as we were really impressed with it as well!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

It is Holiday Time!


Image from http://hdwallpaperscargo.com/
We are flying tomorrow!

The kids are super excited about the trip, not only will they remember the experience of flying in an airplane this time, they will get to eat a lot of their favourite food (sushi and bubble tea!) and meet a lot of their family throughout this 3.5 weeks holiday! That's right, we will be away for almost a month, to make the most of our once in 3 years Hong Kong/ Taiwan visit, and we'll be visiting Mcau for the first time ever too!

This means that my blog will go quiet for a bit, but I will be on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for sure! So if you would like to see what it's like in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, what yummy (or weird!) food we'll be having in the crazy heat, pictures of themed restaurants like Hello Kitty and Toilet (!!) and the shopping and weather, make sure you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter! I'll be mainly on Instagram with notification turned on, so if you'd like to leave me a message, I'll reply much quicker there.

For now, I wish you all an amazing Summer Holiday!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Super Adorable! Nintendo 3DS - Teddy Together


Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

How can we resist the opportunity to play with this cute little bear?! At first we thought it was just another "look after a pet" kind of game, but there is so much fun things to do, and there is a mission (or more, we'll have to play more and see) as well, so it won't feel repetitive at all. Nintendo has always been great at keeping players' interested in their games.

Here is some more information about the new Nintendo 3DS Teddy Together game and what we think so far.


Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Player receives a teddy bear in Nintendo 3DS Teddy Together (RRP£34.99, pegi 3), which comes to life and become his/ her new best friend. You'll get to name the teddy bear (I'll call it Teddy here) and care for it, while Teddy will use opportunities to learn more about the player as well. Players will learn later on that Teddy would like to find out something about himself, starting by finding out what the key that came with him unlocks.

Save Game:
There is a save option on the touch screen when player and Teddy are in the main room to save the game, but Teddy's status (hunger, cleanliness, etc) will change in time, and if the player hasn't come back for a while, Teddy will appear dirty and hungry, even though the game is saved before logging off.

Time:
The game offer seasonal items, which is controlled by the handheld console's time setting.

Sound:
Unlike other games, Teddy will actually have a voice and speaks English, like in Tomodachi Life. this is a brilliant feature for children who can't quite read yet. However, if you are used to playing games without the voice over and have no problem reading, you can simply turn the voice volume down or off through the Volume control in the game's setting.


At the beginning of the game, players are only able to bath Teddy, cook for it (I use it instead of him or her as Teddy will tell the player that it is not a boy nor a girl because it is a teddy bear) and interact with it by stroking, tickling, talking and giving treats, until their friendship reaches level 2 (see Friendship Level section below).


Bathroom:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

To bath Teddy, you scrub soap on it, then rinse it to make it squeaky clean. If you haven't bath it for quite some time (you can check Teddy's status to see what it needs. See Notebooks section below), you'll see some grey bubbles coming out. Teddy is clean once all the grey bubbles has turned white.


Kitchen:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game
Left: Burnt toast!
Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Cooking for Teddy is a mini game in Teddy Together. You follow the instructions and try to cook the food to perfection without over or under cooking it. You can cook the same dish again to achieve a better record, or try other recipes, which will gradually be added to your recipe book (see Notebooks section below).

You'll then get to feed Teddy bite by bite, and are allowed to tease Teddy too!


Talk:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Before Friendship Level reaches 2, it's all about getting used to looking after Teddy and interact with it. As you can only cook for Teddy when he's hungry, and bathing it over and over again can get repetitive, talking, stroking, tickling and giving it treats (until it's all gone) will be the main thing to do with Teddy until Friendship Level reaches 2. By then Teddy would have asked 10 questions about you, and stored the answer in the Notebook under Notebooks section (see Notebooks section below).

One thing that's really cute is that players get to name the treats instead of just calling them lolly! We called our treats Rainbow Yum Yum!


Friendship Level:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Each action you do with Teddy will fill the bear icon on the top left corner of the main screen. Once it's filled and when you go back to the main room (exit into main menu above), Teddy will have a question for you. Each answer brings Teddy closer to you, which raises the Friendship level. Answers will also be used in Teddy's conversation to you, which can be changed any time in the Notebook (under Notebooks section).

After Friendship level has reached 2, players will have access to Wardrobe and Outside. Interactions will also give players stars, which can be used in the Garden (see Garden section below).


Outside:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Once players have access to Outside, you can either visit the Garden to make money by growing and selling produce, buy things for Teddy and the garden at the Shops, or if Teddy has an Adventure Outfit (see Wardrobe section), visit the Station to go somewhere else with Teddy.


Garden:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game
Adorable Chick Pea Plant!
Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game
Right: Unharvested garden with some really interesting plants!

Another mini game in Teddy Together, which is my favourite thing to do in the game. Players can grow different plants by planting seeds and water them, which uses 20 stars every time you water. Produce can be harvested when they are fully grown, which gives you money for shopping. You can also use stars to buy fertilisers.

What's so fun about this mini game is that players can combine up to 3 seeds in the same plot to grow something different that most of the time comes with a higher Rarity level, which gives you more money. You can choose any seeds under Flowers, Vegetable and Trees to combine. This calls for a proper research and see what makes what!

The process is fun, and the extra money is added bonus. The plants are really cute as well! You'll have the normal ones that look just like actual plants, and you'll have the fantasy ones like Chick Peas that has little chicks on the plant, or Blood Tomatoes that has blue leaves and a bat flying next to it!

I think it is one of the best collecting game I've come across for a while!

Once you have enough money, it's time to go shopping!


Shops:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Players can buy more seeds (for the garden), treats and clothes from the shops. There are limited edition clothes, seasonal and adventure outfits. Even lollies have limited editions too.

All items bought can be accessed at where they are used.


Wardrobe:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

As Teddy is neither a boy nor a girl, it's up to the players how they want to dress Teddy.

I assume that there is a new Seasonal outfit per month. We received January outfit by accident as the Nintendo 2DS had a wrong date and time on, but the Kimono was very pretty! July's outfit is is all about Summer seaside or pool side fun!

Adventure Outfit will be related to a country, or you can also get a pirate outfit! Once an Adventure outfit is completed, a message will pop up to tell you to dress Teddy up and bring it to the Station for an adventure!


Station:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

When Teddy is dressed up in an Adventure outfit and visit the Station, Teddy and the player will be taken on a ride to the relevant country for tour. We went to The Netherlands and Teddy had an amusing shot to add to his Travel Album!


Notebooks:

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

Nintendo 3DS, Teddy Together, pet game

The Notebooks section stores information about Teddy, collections, your answers to Teddy's questions and video clips and photos taken of Teddy.


amiibo:
Mario, Peach, Luigi, Bowser and Toad amiibo figurines will work with Teddy Together. Once a day one of the 5 amiibo figurine will become a special amiibo, and once scanned will give the player bonus coins.


Safety:
Teddy Together is created with child safety in mind. Although the child will tell Teddy a lot of things, Nintendo has clearly stated in their Parents FAQ that this information is not collected by any means. The game does not support any online features nor communications, and if a child wants to introduce Teddy to someone else, they will just pass their handheld console to that other player. You can read more in the FAQ about children's online safety.


Overall:
Teddy Together is a really adorable game, and both the kids couldn't resist Teddy's cuteness! It is well looked after by the 3 of us, although since the game is installed in Clay's 2DS, Clay is its main companion, and he has been practising his reading and writing skills with Teddy!

We love the graphics, and love the different things we can do with Teddy. The mini games are really fun, and it's not completely detached from the main game (you'll need to care for Teddy to earn stars so that you can do gardening, which earns you money to buy things for Teddy. And you'll need to cook to feed Teddy), so even if you are playing the mini games, you know that you are still playing Teddy Together.

I especially like it that they taught children that Teddy is a toy, hence isn't a boy nor a girl, and you can dress it up in any way you like. This encourage children to be as creative as they want to be and not limit themselves by the sex of their companion.

The only thing I think will make it even better is to allow children to change to voice and tone Teddy has, so that it speaks to them in the way they imagine their teddies do. 

Overall a trustworthy, fun and educational game for preschoolers to play.