Review: New Art Academy
Posted 16 Aug 2012 at 14:05 by Ashley Jones
The Nintendo 3DS, as with the DS before it, is primarily a gaming console. Nintendo has always been keen to show that there is more to the handheld however, releasing titles such as 100 Classic Book Collection and Face Training on the DS. Continuing this trend on the 3DS is New Art Academy, an updated version of the DS painting application that tries to make an artist out of you.
The heart of New Art Academy lies in the lessons section, with 32 lessons split between the Introductory and Advanced sections. It may annoy some people that you have to progress through the lessons one by one, rather than being able to improve on a certain area or technique at your leisure, but they are designed to build up your skills in a linear fashion.
Other than this however, the lessons can’t be faulted. They are detailed and helpful, with both a text explanation and a video one thanks to your art teacher/game mascot Vince. Of course it always looks easier on screen but as far as providing an art course goes Headstrong Games has done a pretty good job.
The Introductory courses, unsurprisingly, introduce you to the basic concepts that lay the foundation of making art, not just in New Art Academy but also life. The Advanced lessons teach you aspects such as Perspective and are detailed enough to give you a real understanding of the concepts, although of course you will need to practice before you can master them.
The top screen gives you the image you are trying to replicate, either pre-loaded photo or your own, while the bottom screen is your canvas. Tapping ‘X’ brings up a menu, allowing you to change your tools (pencils, pastels, paint or coloured pencils) and their settings, bring up a grid and options.
Selecting your tool is easy and natural thanks to the touch screen and the on-screen setup. There are enough options to allow for quite sophisticated artwork, but the way you are taught about them makes it easy for new players to jump right in.
Of course any art software is only as good as the tools available and New Art Academy certainly has plenty to offer. With a variety of brush sizes and types, pencils and plenty of colours there is enough variety here to be able to create a wide range of artwork.
Some aspects of the artistic experience remain true to life, such as paint becoming fainter if you don’t lift it (to reload it), while other elements have been removed from reality to overcome the console’s limits, with pressure sensitivity not affecting the tool you are using.
It is a shame that in spite of being on the Nintendo 3DS, New Art Academy doesn't allow you to create stereoscopic 3D images. The lessons will teach you how to replicate 3D but, just like the old masters, you need to paint in 2D and fake it. While faithfully replicating real life may have been the reason for this, compared to Colors! 3D it is a shame to not be able paint in 3D.
However, Colors! 3D may offer a 3D-painting experience but it cannot compare to New Art Academy in many other respects. The tutorials and guidance can help you become a better artist, or at least learn about the techniques they use, and for that reason New Art Academy is a title to consider if you want to improve your art work.
New Art Academy won't necessarily make you a world-renowned artist, but it will help give you a deeper understanding about how to make art. If this is what you're looking for then New Art Academy is perfect for you.
N-Europe Final Verdict
New Art Academy offers a good range of tools and lessons, meaning you can learn a lot from this title and create detailed art work. It is a cheaper alternative to the real thing but doesn't quite capture the feeling of creating your own art work.
Budget retail price
Easy to use
Doesn't utilise 3D
Can only do lessons one at a time