Sunday, 6 January 2013

u-Draw, I watch

When the u-Draw tablet was launched a couple of years back, I looked at it and thought 'no-one would pay £50 for that', and I was right. It was just too expensive and in the end it's developer, THQ, filed for bankruptcy just before Christmas. They must have sold all the remaining stock off at rock bottom prices as I managed to pick up a copy for less than £10 in HMV. Abigail's been playing with it for nearly two hours now (£10 really well spent in my book). I'm guessing that when I have to curb her screen time it'll make me very unpopular...
But before I do that, a quick review. Setting up involved a trip to Google because the instructions were rubbish. Once it was up and running, the four year old set about drawing and the 2 year old watched. A nice bit of peace on a Sunday morning is always a bonus. U-draw has a lot in common with apps we have for the ipod; different colours, tools and effects are all there, but as you use a stylus on a tv-sized screen it's much more fun to work with and easier to add detail. Once you've finished the drawing, it can be saved on your x-box or exported to the u-Draw gallery where it can be shared with the world or just saved to your desktop. Daddy also pointed out it would be great for homework projects as you can print the pictures out. This is a massive bonus in our house, where we  go through craft supplies at a faster rate than sweeties.
If you want to draw, there are tutorials, projects and free drawing. There are also colouring books, dot-to-dot and a few games if you want to do something a bit different. The game we tried first (Alien Splat) frustrated Abigail and the dot-to-dot was too detailed for her as yet, but she enjoyed doing the maze game where you use the tablet in the same way you would use a wii-mote to guide your way through. To get the most of the tablet I'd recommend doing a few of the drawing tutorials as I didn't find some of the functions particularly intuitive. Abigail really enjoyed the colour tutorials which introduced her to some new concepts, like contrast and shades. I was impressed that it turned drawing into a family activity that everyone could enjoy, but most of all loved the 'replay' feature where you can watch the drawing being done in fast motion.

u-Draw is also available for the PS3 and Wii. I avoided the Wii version as it came bundled with a Disney Princess Game *cringe*

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