I have always admired the talents of those who can paint (or do anything artsy, really), mostly because I can’t even draw a convincing stick figure. So when I saw Dark Canvas: A Brush with Death, I knew I had to give it a try. I mean, I love art; I love mystery. What could be better than putting the two together, right?
So, let’s just jump into it (there’s no use ignoring the elephant in the room): the animation. Oh, geeze, the animation. The whole thing just looks like a really low budget cartoon (I mean reeeaaaally low budget). I’m talking the"animated" cut scenes, the little dialogues, hell, I even hated the character design. There was nothing nice to look at (excluding some of the scenery, which wasn’t all that bad).
Strangely, the voice acting was pretty great, which just makes me sad. Usually it’s the animation that’s ok and the voice acting that kills it. So close, and yet so far. I mean, just look at this guy. I’d be screaming to get out if I were him, too.
And I’m not super thrilled with the plot, either. I get mysterious paintings that foretell doom, that seems interesting, but then you introduce some random shadowy bad guy and you go with "the Silhouette" as his name? Really? Doesn’t exactly strike fear into your heart, does it?
To add insult to injury, the story progresses at a snail’s pace; there’s so much poking about and shuffling between rooms that I actually cheered when my hour long free trial was up. There were just too many annoyances in Dark Canvas: A Brush with Death; I couldn’t handle it.
And, when I strolled into that tiny, run-down art shop and came across a brand-spanking new 3D printer, I had had about enough. I mean, do you know what those things cost? What on earth is it doing in a ramshackle Italian art shop?? And next to an ancient computer monitor! Why?! It drives me nuts!!
I need a minute to calm down. Meanwhile, let’s talk about gameplay - actually, let’s not. It was pretty excruciatingly slow. Instead, I’ll say I was happy with the variety of puzzles, even if the instructions occasionally left something to be desired.
In the puzzle below, for example, the instructions state that no color or piece should be repeated horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Yet if you study the image, you’ll see plenty of pieces that match in either color or shape that are, indeed, diagonal to one another. I must also note this image was taken right after I’d completed the puzzle. So, yeah, left a little to be desired.
I was also underwhelmed with the hidden object areas. While they were few and far between, which made me happy, and they did come in two varieties, (the list kind, which I don’t care for, and the kind where one item leads to the next, which I do like) they were also distinctly lackluster; not anything special to look at, and often filled with objects that were just about impossible to find (I hate you, faded carving of a cat).
I, of course, used the heck out of the hint button, but that also annoyed me because the hints were vague at best; just a large red circle drawn around the area you should be paying attention to. And let me tell you, if I can’t find it to the degree that I’m clicking the hint button, chances are, I need more direct guidance than a large red circle.
So I guess what I’m saying is Dark Canvas: A Brush with Death wasn’t my cup of tea; it wasn’t even on the same shelf as the kind of tea I prefer.
It was too slow, terrible to look at, and filled with the little logic ticks that send me to the doctor to get my eye twitch checked out again. I’m not saying this game isn’t going to be somebody’s favorite; I’m sure it will be. I’m just having a really hard figuring out whose.