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Drawful 2
Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Jackbox Games (formerly Jellyvision Games)
Developer: Jackbox Games (formerly Jellyvision Games)
Media: Download/1
Players: 3 - 8 (Plus up to 10k in Audience)
Genre: Party/ Online

Graphics & Sound:
The look and feel of Drawful 2 is much like the original, as far as the presentation, at least. With typical Jellyvision look and feel, it's wonderfully entertaining in those parts that aren't even in-game, such as menus and scoring. Of course, the in-game presentation is equally entertaining, with funny written comments on your drawing effort for just you when you're waiting for others to guess what you drew or funny statements about the drawings at the end of a round.

There are additions to the game that enhance the experience. First of all, there are now two pen colors to use to make your masterpiece. You can use it to help delineate a special part of your drawing, add shading, circle an important bit... or however you see fit. You still don't have the ability to erase anything, however, so you'll want to get it right the first time.

Another enhancement is animation. Well, you can use it as simple animation, if you like. Specifically, instead of just showing the final product of your drawing, it faithfully reproduces the strokes you took to draw it, showing it as an animated gif. Further, this animated gif can be shared on social media.


Gameplay:
Drawful is one of those really fun party games that ends up making everyone laugh, whether it's over a really badly drawn drawing, a really well drawn drawing, an impossible drawing assignment, or hilarious guesses made by players, which can tend to be revealing of how others think.

Drawful 2 picks up the mantle and keeps the fun going, with new ridiculous and challenging to convey topics to draw. Additionally, with the addition of a second color, players have a little bit of variety and can add a bit of flair to their drawings, which can be helpful, since the finger-painting aspect is designed to prevent highly detailed features; using a second color can make it easier to put eyes on your stick guy, for example, without having to resort to a stick guy with a larger head.

If you're playing with younger, impressionable types, you can use the settings to turn on Family Friendly Mode and perhaps even use the Censor feature, if you deem necessary, to prevent Johnny's mischievous guesses from being shared with the class.

Conversely, if you're proud of your amazing artistic ability, great guesses or hilarious hijinx, you can stream your game on Twitch, where up to 10,000 audience members can play along from home by selecting the title they think goes with the picture being displayed.


Difficulty:
Even the most talented artists can find working in front of others intimidating. Why, restrict Monet to two paint colors on white and he'll simply refuse to play. That's okay. You don't have to be a great painter to play. You're not looking for the next Mona Lisa; you're shooting for something between hieroglyphics and vinyl stick families. So, get over any thoughts that you can't draw and just jump in and try to convey the topic.

For players with intermediate or better drawing ability or a lot of familiarity with Drawful, some of the new drawing features can be useful. The animated drawings are a nice addition and help to bring your artwork to life, a bit, as they are drawn in as they are "revealed" to the other players. You can use this to your advantage, by drawing the parts of your drawing in such a way as to help elicit your meaning. Also, even though you don't have an eraser, you can use one color to overwrite the other (such as orange over red) to "erase" red jots on an orange background. With the draw-in process, you can even use that to create a simple animation. Need a red stick figure to dance? Draw him in red on an orange background and use the orange to erase where his legs are and the red to draw them back in the next position. When your drawing is drawn in, the players will see it. Well, unless they're not paying attention, laughing amongst themselves about the previous round, still. (It happens.) So, use the animation feature, but don't make your drawing depend exclusively on it.

If you have one or more players who find they don't have enough time, there is a mode in the Settings menu that will turn on "Extended Timers," to allow budding artists to take a bit more time to get their scribbles exactly how they want them.


Game Mechanics:
While Drawful 2 comes with its own set of all-new drawing ideas, it expands upon that, by allowing for the creation of your own episodes, which means that you come up with a slew of things to draw and name the episode, and players can play your custom episode, having to draw the things that you came up with when they get them randomly assigned to them. Run out of ideas? No worry, Drawful 2 will pad out the rest of the episode with stock questions from the game.

While this is, admittedly, a cool concept and a welcomed addition to the game, making the gameplay virtually limitless, there are some unavoidable issues with the implementation. Specifically, if you came up with the subject to be drawn, it will be much easier for you to recognize when someone is drawing that topic. Further, when multiple people are playing and make an episode together, everyone sees everyone else's subjects that they added. Now, these episodes can be saved and played later, which might make it a bit harder to guess, but if the people playing the episode are the same people who created the episode, you're not going to get away from that completely.

Now, it would be possible for one person to make some episodes and then let friends play the episode. That would make it more fair and surprising. Or, two groups could each make episodes for the other group to play. This would allow everyone to play, and still maintain the surprises of the subjects to be drawn.

Of course, the parenting-types out there are probably reading about the ability to add your own topics and imagining the filth that could result. Never fear, there is a censoring option, which allows the first player (designated as VIP) to censor any guesses that aren't approved. So, make sure that a parent-type is the first player into the game.

In another attempt to be inclusive, there is now an "Audience" feature, where anyone with a Internet-device that can get to the Web can log onto a game - even if there are no available spots or the game is already in progress - and, as an audience member, can vote on what guesses they like. This allows a bit of participation and affects the players' scores a bit, to boot.

Drawful 2 isn't going to be in an upcoming Jackbox Party Pack, so you might as well buy it all by its lonesome and take it home, today. Why, Drawful was my favorite of the bunch, anyway.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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