Drawing with a time limit is a great recipe for laughter, especially among friends. PictoParty channels your inner terrible artist, letting you poorly draw cupcakes, skyscrapers and lamps as your friends desperately try to guess what it is you're trying to create. It's a simple party game that you may have seen before and is easy to pick up and play for anyone, even if they've never played a game before.
PictoParty has one player draw while all the other players try to guess what it is. This player holds the GamePad, drawing on it using the stylus while the other players watch your picture show up on the TV. The artist can choose different colours if it will help convey the drawing better, and can do so just by tapping one of the various coloured pencils on the side of the GamePad screen. Still, you're on a strict time limit, so you'll want to draw everything as fast as you can.
Even if you're in a big hurry you'll want to draw clearly to get as many correct guesses as you can get. Each person who guesses your drawing gets a point, but you also get a point for drawing something that can be identified. Once someone guesses your picture right it's up to the artist to tap the Correct button on the GamePad and tell it who got the answer right before your next drawing task comes up. The artist aims to get as many pictures done as possible before a round ends.
You're not just drawing whatever you want, though. The game gives you a word to draw each round and grants you a new one every time someone guesses it correctly or if you choose to pass on the word (which gives you a time penalty). One of the nice parts of the game is that the words are divided into dictionaries like Animals, Actions, and Food. You can choose to add or remove dictionaries before a match, so you won't have to draw from categories you find too challenging, or you can have a bunch of them all running at once to make it harder to guess.
PictoParty has a lot of dictionaries, but even so you may crave more words or want to have your own custom category. Thankfully you can create your own dictionary if you like, and you can put in whatever words you want. Have you made up some nonsense word that's an inside joke with your friends? It can go in. Want to start playing a dirtier version of the game? Go for it. The game allows you to spell out whatever word you like, and there's no adult filter to spoil your (age appropriate) fun. You can make this game as awful as you like.
There are options for free-for-all and team modes depending on how you want to entertain your guests, and you can squeeze up to fifteen players into a game if you have that many people around. You can also choose things like round duration, time penalties, and customize almost every aspect of the match. It's handy stuff that will keep the game moving quickly and ensure everyone is having fun.
That being said, you may already have this game in your house. PictoParty doesn't do a whole lot that the board game, Pictionary, doesn't do already. Having it on the Wii U streamlines things, meaning no searching for pencils or worrying about cards or anything like that, but it doesn't add a whole lot to the game. It's fun, but if you already have the board game you already essentially have PictoParty.
If only for the ease of adding bad words alone, PictoParty is entertaining and simple to pick up for anyone with any level of gaming experience. It takes a few minutes to get a ton of people playing, and with the dictionary customization no one will feel like their words are too hard or too boring. Also, it's rather funny to see someone try to draw the simplest thing when the clock's ticking, so if you're looking out for some easy, lighthearted fun, grab PictoParty. It doesn't reinvent the board game it's inspired by, but it does streamline it quite well.