Review by Shady
"Firetrucks run over animals because they are red."
iSketch is a unique online party game that can be found at www.isketch.net. I first found out about it when I was browsing GameFAQs' database. Curious as to what the game was all about, I went to the iSketch website and tried the game out. It seemed like a blast at first, but then I came to my senses when the fun started to wear down. Still, iSketch is a decent game but there are many areas in which it can be improved upon..
iSketch is a simple game with a simple premise - you try to guess what someone is drawing. When it is a player's turn to draw the assigned word, they can either attempt to draw it or skip it. If the 'artist' decides to draw the word, he/she is presented with a set of tools much like in Microsoft Paint (colors can be changed, the background can be filled in, the drawing can be erased, etc.). In fact, I think all of the tools in iSketch can also be found in Paint. If you have ever used Paint before, you should be comfortable with iSketch's painting tools.
When it isn't a player's turn to draw, then he/she must guess whatever word someone else is drawing. Sometimes other peoples' drawings will be top of the line quality, but other times the drawings can be just plain awful (I think I fall in the latter category). Either way, someone usually guesses what is being drawn because many times the artist will just start writing letters of the word. Considering how it is a rule not to use letters in a drawing, it can become very frustrating when people just give away the answer. To steal a line from a fellow iSketcher, ''this is iSketch, not iWrite''.
There are several different rooms to choose from in iSketch's main lobby. Each room has its own theme, like 'computer games' and 'basic English'. I usually hang out in the 'computer games' room since I have a fair knowledge of computer game titles. I suggest that if you plan on playing the game, go into a room with a topic that you actually know something about. It wouldn't make sense for someone who knows nothing about movies to go into the 'movies' room, now would it?
The biggest problem in iSketch is definitely the constant lag. Almost every game has lag and most of the time it is iSketch's fault. At first I thought the delays were caused by my crappy 56K modem, but I found out that it wasn't just me - people with cable and DSL modems were experiencing the lag too. It is quite maddening to figure out the word, but then only to find out that time has expired while the game was lagging. Lag is definitely a no-no for online games, so I was very disappointed that iSketch had an abundance of it.
Another problem with iSketch is the annoying sound - the sound effects are very unpleasant. For example, when a player wins the game a long sound effect of fireworks blasting off and applause plays. Now that wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't a very long clip, but since it's so long the clip tends to skip like a scratched CD sometimes does. The other sound effects are not nearly as long, but they aren't any good either. It becomes quite bothersome to always hear a doorbell sound going off when a new player enters the room; thankfully the sound can be turned off if need be. There is no music in the game.
iSketch does have a clear presentation to oppose the below average sound. The interface is user-friendly so almost anyone can play the game. The visuals are nothing special (almost everything's white), but they fit the game just fine. Everything has a clean feel.
Overall, iSketch is a decent online game but a couple of big flaws keep the game from reaching greatness (or even goodness, for that matter). Still, I recommend everyone to at least give the game one round of play. Who knows, maybe you will enjoy the game more than I did..
Graphics 7/10 - clean, clear, and under control (where have I heard that before?)
Sound 3.5/10 - aggravating
Gameplay 6/10 - lag kills a potentionally great party game
Control 7/10 - all depends on your mouse skills
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 09/05/01, Updated 09/05/01
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