STAFF REVIEW of Drawful 2 (Xbox One)

Monday, July 11, 2016.
by Adam Dileva

Drawful 2 Box art It’s funny, growing up I used to associate party games as either Mario Kart, Mario Party, or something similar. I’ve grown up now, and while those types of games do have a time and place, I now view games such as Drawful as my go-to party game when I have guests over, for numerous reasons. This review is in regards to Drawful 2, the original's sequel. I don’t think I’ve played a game of Drawful 2 (or the original for that matter) where I don’t end up laughing till it hurts. Obviously the experience will vary from one group of friends to the next, but it’s a safe bet you’re going to have a good time since anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer can play.

It used to be if you wanted to play multiplayer party games you needed to have a certain amount of controllers, which can become quite expensive, and then usually some sort of special adapter or hub to attach them all to the console, again increasing the price of entry. Drawful 2 allows anyone to participate by simply going to and logging in with the room code, be it on a phone, a tablet, or a computer, so hosting party game nights only requires the initial purchase of the software, and that’s it.

If you’ve played the original Drawful you’ll feel right at home and know exactly what to do. For those uninitiated, the game breaks down to essentially a hilarious take on Pictionary where you’re told what to draw and you must try to do so to the best of your ability within 30 seconds, and without an eraser. Needless to say, this isn’t your ordinary game of Pictionary. While the classic game may ask you to draw something like an elephant, the Great Wall of China, or something normal, the phrases you’re given in Drawful 2 will have you wondering “how the hell do I draw that?". Have you ever tried to draw “my self-esteem”, or “I wrote this book with my laser eyes”? Probably not, but you got about 30 seconds to figure out how. It’s extremely obtuse selections like this that lead to some very noteworthy and hilarious drawings.

New to Drawful 2 is the ability to finally have two pre-selected and random colors to draw with. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s definitely helped my poor drawing abilities to at least highlight specific areas or what I’m trying to convey in my artistry. Once everyone has drawn their masterpiece each one is then shown in order, allowing everyone to guess what the correct answer is. Part of the fun though comes at trying to make other people choose your answer instead of what the actual drawing is, as you’ll net points that would have originally went to the artist. This is where knowing who you’re playing with and pandering to their sense of humor comes in.

Each player’s drawing takes a turn at the forefront, and when everyone has gone once the cycle starts again with a new secret word or phrase to draw. At the end of the game the scores are tallied, as are the ‘likes’ that people can freely dish out to any answers they deem fit. After this you can begin a new game with the same players or get a new set allowing others to swap in and out freely should you have a big enough party to play with. While the minimum to start a game is three players, you’ll really want the preferred 6-8, as it’s much more entertaining and lasts a decent amount of time per round.

While the game itself has preset secret words for you to draw, another new addition to Drawful 2 is the amazing ability to make your own answers. Here you can write your own answers down, allowing you to customize and cater to a specific group of friends that may be playing with you. Being able to include inside jokes or blatant insults is what makes this addition incredibly amusing. This personalization is a first, and if you get a group of people to play together often enough, it will also most likely be the only way you play moving forward. It’s a very simple addition that was lacking in the first game and now I see it hard to play without it.

While most will play for points, there are others that find the ‘likes’ much more prestigious. Sure, it’s a secondary consolation prize for getting thumbs-up, but they are recognized at the overview screen alongside the biggest points earner. Also, it will depend on who you’re playing with, but when you have that one person that would rather try and get laughs than score points, it’s easy to see how amusing Drawful 2 really can be played with the right group of friends.

Aside from the additions listed above, there are also a number of smaller improvements allowing for a much better gameplay experience. The most notable one being that you can now rejoin a game session if you accidentally close your browser, hit the back button, or whatever. In the original this was essentially a death sentence, forcing you to sit on the sidelines until the game was over, but now you can freely rejoin if needed without hassle. There are also small streak bonuses allowing people who are not necessarily in the lead a chance to make a comeback, bit by bit. While there are some big improvements, the smaller ones almost feel as important, as it makes Drawful 2 feel much more complete and polished.

If you’re like me and stream your games on Twitch, Drawful 2 has you covered. Not only can you livestream the game, but people watching your channel can actually join your game and participate as well. If all of the 8 player slots are taken, anyone can join the audience, up to 10,000 in total, where they can dish out ‘likes’ to any of the answers. It’s a great addition and forward thinking that more games need to embrace.

At such a cheap entry point of $9.99 CAD, Drawful 2 is a fantastic sequel with many improvements that simply make for a better game than the original, and that one was already great to begin with. Again, the enjoyment of Drawful 2 will solely be based on the group of friends, or Twitch users, that you decide to play with, and your humor for poorly drawn artistry. I fall into all of those categories, making Drawful 2 an absolute must if you’re a party host for a group of like minded friends.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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