After enduring endless plays of Mario Kart on the Nintendo Wii, salvation has come in the form of the uDraw Gametablet – a clever peripheral device that turns the Nintendo Wii into a digital art studio - and we love it. Even with my limited technical abilities we’ve been able to set the uDraw tablet up easily, and if my drawing abilities had advanced beyond basic stick people I’d be showcasing our drawings here.
The uDraw Gametablet is sturdy and robust so I’ve no concerns about it breaking easily. A cable in the uDraw connects to your Nintendo Wii’s Nunchuck meaning there’s no need for separate batteries, which is a definite plus. Connecting the pressure sensitive stylus to the 6 x 4 drawing surface allows you to draw, doodle and play games. Although not incredibly precise, for children it is more than adequate. The only drawback is that there is no hole on the top of the tablet to allow the Wii’s remote sensor to be picked up, so you have to remove the Nunchuck to navigate around the Wii’s main menu.
The uDraw Gametablet comes with the uDraw Instant Art Studio where you can learn the fundaments for creating impressive works of art through the lessons in the Art School or you can dive in and create your artwork on a canvas in the Art Play mode, or play the mini games and activities in Art Camp.
The buttons on the remote allow you to select and delete items, change the size of the pencils, and select different colours amongst other things, and once we’d spent some time playing around with the different functions we found it very straightforward to use. You can also showcase and edit your saved paintings in the Gallery, adjust the audio and video settings and create your own signature stamp to apply to your paintings.
IJ’s particular favourite was the Art Camp where you can colour in two hundred colouring book images, do dot-to-dots, number paint and play a game called Tilt Maze where you tilt the uDraw to guide the paint balls through a maze to the finish line.
You can also buy additional games for the uDraw. We tried out Pictionary and found it to be even more fun than the game board version, which IJ finds too difficult. The graphics are impressive although drawing the various game clues does take some practise. It has four game modes – Pictionary Classic, Pictionary Mania, Family Fun where you can customise your own game play, and Free Draw where you can brush up on your drawing skills with hundreds of tool combinations. We’ll be getting plenty of use out of it over the Christmas holidays.
The uDraw game tablet for the Nintendo Wii is priced around £45, which seems very reasonable. There are also versions for the PS3 and Xbox 360. We think it is excellent, a great way of getting kids’ creative and, in our case, a pleasant change from endless Mario-related games. You're unlikely to create a Picasso-style masterpiece on the uDraw but you can certainly have a lot of fun with it.
We received the uDraw Gametablet plus Pictionary free of charge to review.