The stylus becomes a paintbrush in New Art Academy, your Nintendo 3DS candidly transformed into a portable canvas.
Continuing to build upon the foundation introduced by Nintendo DS predecessor Art Academy, players (or perhaps artists?) are once again welcomed in learning a multitude of painting and drawing techniques through new lessons and activities.
Those that take the progressively difficult lessons can choose between either Introductory or Advanced courses, suiting all levels of experience.
Within the Introductory course, early challenges steadily teach techniques at a pace that is never overbearing on the player, beginning with painting a Cherry before moving on to increasingly complex subject matters that encompass a Tree, Barley Field or Seascape, for instance.
Meanwhile, Advanced courses serve to hone, fine-tune and expand upon such skills, with pieces ranging from a perspective based Archway to an extravagant view of Westminster.
In every case, a reference image is always at your disposal and may be used as much or as little as possible to aid your within your artistic endeavours. Having trouble perfecting the outline of an object? Use an overlay to provide a more easily trackable path.
Drawing utensils available to you include a Pencil set (2B, HB, 2H), Coloured Pencil set (100 different colours), Paints (17 colours that may be freely mixed), and, a new addition, Pastels. Each is delightful to use in their own way, a sense of discovery prevailing as you seek to follow the steps provided by Vince.
For those looking for a more shackle-free experience, then New Art Academy’s secondary mode, Free Paint, leaves all of the game’s tools at your fingertips. Here, as the name suggests, you are free to draw whatever you please, and the mode once again allows you to take reference images saved to the SD Card – either from 3D photos you’ve taken, or transferred images plucked from a computer.
With time, and admittedly patience, you can create remarkably striking pieces of art, and the younger audience will appreciate the freedom, and reduced mess, of being able to correct any mistakes that they make along the way.
If you fancy sharing learned techniques with others, then there is also the facility to create Custom Lessons. These allow you to explain, through a maximum of 10 steps, the stages in which you produced your very own masterpiece using SpotPass or a local wireless connection.
Similarly, on a more basic level, you can also simply share images of your unfinished or completed work, even through the popular Nintendo Letter Box service.
With the prospect of downloadable content, which will allow you to expand the game with additional lessons, there is plenty here to maintain your interest for some time.
Whilst clearly more niche than Nintendo’s usual first-party fare, New Art Academy is an incredibly well structured and welcome diversion. It may be geared toward the more casual crowd, but there’s plenty of scope here for all manner of players to find some fulfilment.
Version Tested: Nintendo 3DS
Review copy provided by Nintendo