This natty art tablet from THQ has the potential to become a refreshing addition to the Wii's arsenal of 'lifestyle' software.
It's a touch-sensitive pen and pad which
will come bundled with UDraw Studio, a comprehensive art package which offers a vast range of tools and tutorials. Perhaps most importantly for this sort of software, the developers have also included a load of online sharing capabilities too.
It has been in development for almost four years in conjunction with Nintendo themselves, and it marks a new frontier for Wii gaming.
It's not just a peripheral, you know - the suits at THQ are calling this a 'platform extension' with a new range of games specially designed for the tablet, including Pictionary and Dood's Big Adventure. THQ also promises to keep supporting the new range with additional software over the next few years.
The starting point is this, the bundled software UDraw Studio. It offers a huge number of arty options for anyone looking to eschew pen and paper and step things up a notch.
THQ has worked hard to ensure it is easy to pick up. The button on the pen itself switches between your canvas and your options screen, and from there you have a plethora of brush types, sizes and colours to choose from.
All of these options screens are controlled by gliding the pen over the top of the tablet and 'clicking' down, with sliders on hand to drag around and options to poke with your pen, just as you would on the DS touch screen. You can also zoom into your handiwork to perfect and tweak tricky areas or parts you're not happy with. You can't do that with crayons.
Where art software has the upper hand over pen and paper (or canvas and ink) is in the suite of visual effects, stamps, extra modes and sharing options available.
The range of tutorials will play an important role as well. These are step-by-step video guides which will help new users to not only familiarise themselves with the software and what it can do, but also grasp a range of techniques and tricks to improve your art skills.
A Brush With Genius
Once UDraw Studio owners have mastered getting around the various menus and using the different editing tools, there are plenty of extras to play around with. Highlights include a colouring-in option for younger artists and a playback mode which shows you a sped-up video of the artwork you've been working on.
And after you've finished your masterpiece, you can upload it to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr and your compositions can also be exported from your Wii onto an SD card, which can then be slotted into a PC to be printed out or emailed about the place.
UDraw Studio is a refreshing change from the norm and after the success of similar packages on the DS, it's certain to find a welcoming audience on the Wii.
This is an edited version of a preview that appeared in the October issue of Official Nintendo Magazine. Subscribe now to save money and make sure you never miss an issue.