(3DS eShop)

Colors! 3D (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Colors! 3D Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Color! us impressed

There’s something that needs to be said about applications on the 3DS, and that’s simply that there should be many more of them. Not only should there be more apps, but there should also be some really great apps that take a simple concept and turn it into something incredible using the 3DS’s technological capabilities. Thankfully, developer Collecting Smiles realised this before everyone else did and got to work on Colors! 3D.

While the concept is simple — make a drawing and painting application that allows users to create 3D images — Collecting Smiles managed to do it with such class that it’s hard to find flaws in the complete package. It’s true that, unlike the (generally) well received Art Academy series of drawing tools, Colors! 3D doesn't offer much in terms of lessons or guided practice, but the ease of use that this application provides makes those additional features seem frivolous. Not everyone who uses this app is a natural Van Gogh, and some out there may appreciate a pointer or two, but with the tools provided and the simplicity in control, even the most novice of artists can create wonders.

As you could probably guess, Colors! 3D is controlled mostly with the 3DS’s touch screen, and anything that you draw on the bottom screen will also be reflected on the above 3D screen, giving you a better idea of what your finished product will look like. When dragging or tapping the touch screen canvas with your stylus, one of the first things that you’ll notice is how comfortable it is to draw in this app. The 3DS’s touch screen may not be the most responsive in the world, but here it feels completely natural: pens work like pens and brushes feel like brushes. It sounds obvious, but it makes a huge difference.

Pressing the L button will bring up a menu from which you can choose different drawing tools, adjust the width of your brush, change the colour you’re working with and even choose how hard or softly you want your brush to press on the canvas. From this menu, you also have the option of importing a photo from your SD card to draw on if you don’t like working on a blank slate, or if you just want to insert silly moustaches onto your friends’ faces. Other options are available to you simply by pressing and holding different directions on the D-Pad, such as a moving tool or eyedropper, and quick options to adjust your painting pressure, but the options linked to the Circle Pad are what really make Colors! 3D such a treat to use.

While sliding the Circle Pad up or down simply allows you to zoom in or out on your canvas, sliding it left of right will allow you to swap between five different three-dimensional layers. This is the one feature that truly defines this application as a 3D drawing tool. Rather than simply allowing you to draw on one canvas and then deciding which bits and pieces to display in 3D, each painting in Colors! 3D is actually five canvases thick. The Circle Pad allows you to easily and seamlessly move between each of this canvases and choose how deep you want your painting to go. Mastering this can be a challenge at first, but as soon as you figure the technique out your painting will really come to life.

Any artwork that you create in this app can easily be saved to your 3DS’s SD card, which makes sharing your work effortless. While sharing your work with your friends is easy over Swapnote, you can also choose to share with the entire world in the Colors! Gallery. Assuming you’re connected to the internet via Wifi, the Gallery allows you to upload your artwork online, or gives you the option to browse the work of others. If you’re seeking inspiration, or if you just want to be in a state of shock at how much time and effort people put into their artwork, you can watch a sped-up playback of anyone’s process.

Another very welcomed feature of Colors! 3D is the multiplayer functionality. Most drawing utilities wouldn’t opt to include any type of multiplayer experience, but the ability to share a canvas with a friend in real time is a surprisingly exciting option. While drawing with a friend can be great fun, the only real drawback is that both players must own their own copy of the game, and it only works locally. Jens Andersson, director of Collecting Smiles, made it very clear in last year’s Colors! 3D interview that thie application wouldn't feature Download Play, but being able to play with friends over a Wifi connection would have been a much appreciated touch.


Though lacking in any type of structured play, Colors! 3D’s robust free drawing system and unique ability to let anyone create their own three-dimensional artwork more than make up for this. Sturdier multiplayer utilities would have been an appreciated addition, but the functionality provided is more than enough. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or someone who just likes to kill time doodling, Colors! 3D won’t disappoint.

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User Comments (65)



Kyloctopus said:

This is truely turning into a surprise success that compares if not, beats Pushmo's.
Also the creator of Colors said that an update could come if they are convinced it's worth updating.



ueI said:

@chewytapeworm Apparently, it costs 5.40 pounds.

It sounds like this game is not for everyone. I'm glad it's good, but it baffles me that people could say this makes up for the recent lack of good downloadable games.



grumblebuzzz said:

I'm just not very proficient at writing or drawing on the touchscreen so I guess I'm going to sit this one out.



ramstrong said:

It also has extras. Painting samples and coloring. Coloring? How's that work again?



Haxonberik said:

Anyone any good at the app already? I'm getting used to it but I would really like some tips from someone who knows more.



Philip_J_Reed said:

Great review, Ron. I knew this was going to be awesome, so it's nice to see that the dev's lived up the hype.



Klimbatize said:

It's nearly worth the price just to see all the 3D pictures that people post online. You simply can't find content like this anywhere else but on your 3DS, and there is some real quality stuff on there. I've spent a couple hours just looking at other user's art.

I highly recommend it if you're a fan of 3D.



SkywardLink98 said:

I suck at drawing on the 3DS's touchscreen (Heck, my handwriting on it's illegible) so I doubt I'll be getting this, but it's good to know quality titles are still coming to the eShop.



famestephy09 said:

from the get-go i thought colors 3D was an app i wont be downloading but from the review and peoples comments i might just purchase it. but I might hold out till Flipnote Memo comes. idk



warioswoods said:

"The 3DS’s touch screen may not be the most responsive in the world, but here it feels completely natural"

That's my only disagreement with the review. The 3DS touch screen is in fact one of the most precise on the market, and far more accurate for precise work than any of the capacitative (iPhone, etc) devices. It's one of the only devices out there capable of supporting a robust drawing app that isn't just broad finger smudges.



Captain_Hookey said:


i completely agree. my older brother doesnt understand this, and he says that the other touch screens are better because they're heat sensitive and the 3ds is touch sensitive. i told him he was full of garbage, and i also told him what you said(this happened in like, december, so i said it before you >).



RR529 said:

I agree with the score! There isn't any "teaching" set up like AA, but the sheer amount of features you have at your disposal puts AA to shame. It would be good to use AA to learn the basics of drawing with the stylus, then you could move up to Colors! 3D when you want to go on your own. I'll admit, I never thought I had any artistic side, but this app brought one out of me

As professional of a tool this is, the price is spot on as well. Just because it's not a game, doesn't mean it should be free (I've actually heard people saying it should be free, one even claiming that it couldn't possibly be deeper than any of the Game Boy games, which cost less. facepalm). It's at a great price, if you actually understand the features it brings to the table.



Luigi_is_better said:

Totally agree! I love it! I'm not a very good artist, but I have Art Academy and it's helped me improve so even I made a pretty cool picture with layers. Man, it seems everything looks better in 3D! And looking at other people's work online is awesome too, some people are so amazing!



bboy2970 said:

This is a fantastic application and absolutely worth every penny! I really hope to see an update at some point in the future that adds a couple needed features (Like a search bar in the gallery) and it would be totally prefect!



BudDudSlash said:

I'm pretty good at this application. My 'Doodle Party' is very near the all-time top list! It's on this week's best anyways..



sonic_brawler95 said:

I was waiting for this review to see what you guys think of this fantastic app. I'm not good at drawing, so I am very thankful that there is a feature that lets you trace pictures from the 3DS camera. The online gallery is also filled with tons of amazing paintings. Definally worth the asking price, especially if you love to draw.



Ren said:

I'll also chime in that this is an amazing full featured tool for drawing even in hi-res and in 3d. I was blown away by it. I can't recommend it enough. With the number of features here this would be worth full retail to me. And for people wondering how accurate it is you have to keep in mind that you can zoom in very close to get very precise thin lines at the pixel level, even half way gives you pretty good control. Just get this!



Phle said:

This is something I'm really looking forward too, seems great. I'm definitely getting this. I love drawing, can't wait to get started (^_^)



Ai64 said:

Should be great to draw and share on 3DS. Worth downloading. ^_^



Dreadjaws said:

@SkywardLink98 @grumblebuzzz
Guys, that doesn't matter. The greatest thing about this app is how easily you can create spectacular works of art even if you're not good at drawing. Colors! 3D will turn anyone into an artist.

If this thing has a bad side, is that I can already picture Greg Land using it. I hate that guy.



ejamer said:

Really enjoy Colors! 3D. The feature set is great, and it offers as much entertainment as your imagination allows.

Features I wish were included?

  • Online painting collaboration - especially if it were possible to open a session and have friends "join game" or drop out on the fly after seeing you online (similar to Mario Kart).
  • Ability to create/import your own drawings into the Coloring Pages extra feature. (It's a neat feature - I just wish there were more than 10 drawings available.)

Really, the package "as is" already is very impressive though. Especially nice that you can watch and see how other people create their drawings using the Gallery. That's not the same as an actual lesson, but really helps inspire you to try new and different painting techniques.

Easily one of my favorite eShop releases so far!



BenAV said:

Sounds pretty good.
I'm definitely no artist but my 3DS menu will not be complete without this so I'll definitely download it and have a play around when it comes out here.



grumblegrumble said:

I thought I was going to absolutely adore this 3dsware release, but I have to admit, it's a bit complicated drawing several layers to a painting. I'm a drawer, painter (artist) so I am going to give this another shot before making any further judgments.



Big_Al1 said:

I've been using it since it came out, and it beats the crap out of the painting apps in my Android tablet. Ease of use, an attractive UI, and the ability to export the paintings make it an instant purchase. In fact, I'll often sketch something out and then use as a base to finish the drawing on my PC.

My only gripe is that the 3DS screen is too small. I need a 3DS XL NOW.



RevolverLink said:

Even though my artistic abilities don't amount to much more than (really) crummy doodles, I'm still mulling over this one. I've always wanted to improve my drawing skills, and maybe this app will help to motivate me in that regard.



Big_Al1 said:

@grumblegrumble The use of layers is optional, you can do everything in a single layer if you want. I'm using it for 2D art exclusively, and the results are very good.

What you have to take into account is that the tool set, controls and gui are made to fit the 3DS, and thus it's very different from the stuff you get from Photoshop, Sai, etc. There are obvious limitations due to this, but there are advantages that become obvious as you continue to use it.

Give it some time, and you will grow to love it.



Big_Al1 said:

@warioswoods I couldn't agree more. I get more out of Colors! than from my Android tablet with the same type of screen, or out of an iPad, which probably has one of the least artist friendly screens. I mean, you have to be an art prodigy to get something decent looking out of an iPad.

Colors! on the other hand, allows someone with minimum skills to do worthwhile stuff without worrying too much about the technique. It's like using a sketchbook.



ejamer said:

There are several different resolutions (in pixels) available when you export drawings to the SD card:

  • Widescreen format — either 800*480 or 1600*960
  • Normal format — either 640*480 or 1280*960


Samholy said:

im impressed. it works very intuitively. thought i could use it in the bus, but its almost impossible due to horrible roads that bumps all the way. oh well



Late said:

Few more days and I can download Colors 3D!
I've seen few drawings from some NL users while taking a look at the colorslive.com. For example I just saw avatar by Big_AI1



Vallu said:

Can you share your pictures in internet ONLY with your friends? Please reply becauce it would be nice to know. I'm definitely going to buy this next thursday when it comes to EU. Can't wait! Also, one more question: Can you check pictures of one particular artist with your 3DS? Is there some kind of profiles?



Big_Al1 said:

@Vallu The gallery is an regular website, anyone can see your stuff unless you flag it as 18+. 18+ can only be viewed if you have an account. Also if you export to the SD card, you can just open gmail in your browser and send it, as it picks it up like any other photo.

There is no way to search the gallery like per painter yet. The developer has mentioned that he is considering an update, so there is hope for that yet.



Vallu said:

Thanks for reply! One more thing: Can you comment other pictures with Nintendo 3DS? If you cannot, can you even see the comments on your 3DS? (sorry for bad english)



Big_Al1 said:

@PrimedMetroid Like I said, you can see all comments and paintings made on a 3DS. For anything made using other systems, the app offers to launch a browser.

It's pretty seamless, actually.



darkgamer001 said:

Can't wait to download this. Colors 3D is looking like one of the best eShop downloads so far



Tate24 said:

is it better than Art Academy?
because ive already got it
so wondering is it worth paying out again for other drawing app?



Big_Al1 said:

@Tate24 It has infinite undo, 5 layers, export to SD accessible to mail and to swapnote, 3 canvas orientations, pressure toggles, integrated gallery, high res export, etc.

As much as I love Art Academy, Colors!3D takes advantage of the 3DS technical capabilities much better.



ejamer said:

That depends on what you want to get out of the program.

There are no lessons in Colors! 3D beyond the descriptions of what tools are available, so if you want to learn new drawing techniques Art Academy might* be the better choice. But as a drawing tool I feel that Colors! 3D is the better choice because it's got a lot of features not found in Art Academy.

*However, Colors! 3D does allow you "learn" by watching replays to see step-by-step how other people created their best drawings. This is a really neat feature!



mullen said:

I think this is one of the best 3dsware so far, and the best drawing program I have ever used.



Supremeist said:

I'm thinking about getting it after I pick up MT: Open. It looks great, but I'm upset Nintendo really isn't giving us the big word on flipnote. That's the only drawing/animation program I'll ever need. (On my 3DS, atleast)



atariman said:

I like Colors! 3D, It's just that The online gallery, There are alot of paintings that have nutedy, and Sometimes the "F" word. So I don't think I want to be apart of the Colors! Online Gallery, and even if I would, I'm not old enough for it, They make you be 13 and up. So I give it an 8/10.

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