One of the Nintendo Switch’s notable features is its touch screen. Yet, there often aren’t many applications or games that rely on drawing with it. Sure, some are out there. But given that it doesn’t include a stylus, people might not jump to “art” when thinking about it. With the 3DS, Colors 3D ended up becoming a widely used and recommended app for art. Now Colors Live is here for the Switch and, with its SonarPen, feels like a worthy successor. Especially since the pen and Colors Quest prompts encourage anyone to be creative.
At its core, Colors Live feels a lot like Colors 3D. You get a blank slate. It’s possible to choose the size before beginning a piece of art. You can have up to nine layers. A wide palette of colors is available. You can sample colors. There are different seven brush options, including one for pixel art. You have three erasers. You can vary the transparency and brush size. You can flip the image horizotally or vertically. There’s a select and move tool. It keeps track of your actions, so you can watch your piece come together with a brief video. It’s quite a competent Switch drawing app now, just as the 3DS one before it. You can save your pieces of art. It’s possible to share them in a gallery. Said gallery is also accessible online, and there are amazing pieces already there.
For example, Shellz’s “Black and White Cat” is amazing. Acchan’s Coco Crab Inktober drawing looks so realistic. “Believe in Magic” by Durashka shows how helpful layers can be. And “Night, Desert Exploration” from C-Rhythm is an example of how realistic a resulting drawing could look.
Part of what makes Colors Live work on the Switch is the SonarPen. This is the new peripheral designed specifically with the game. You plug it into the headphone jack, turn off the setting that protects things from getting too loud in system settings, and then… start drawing. Because of the power of sound, it manages to act as a pressure-sensitive stylus. And it is fascinating how well it works. But it doesn’t require too much pressure, for those concerned about bearing down on a screen. And since it has a flat base, scratching doesn’t feel like much of an issue too.
But what I did notice is that the Colors Live SonarPen doesn’t seem to work right on a Switch OLED model. After acquiring the newer system, I found that the stylus wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t maintain a consistent line when drawing. When I attempted to go through the calibration process, I was able to draw lines and it did sense pressure. However, at the end of the process, I was told repeatedly the calibration failed. This could be a temporary issue. But the pen does work perfectly on my launch Switch.
Aside from the SonarPen, the other new Colors Live feature is Colors Quest. While billed as a game, it feels more like a creative outlet. You go through a story filled with prompts. At each major milestone, you’ll be asked to draw something within a certain amount of time. Your color palette and brushes might be limited. You also must draw for a minimum of 10 minutes. Once you’re done, your piece is submitted online for others to judge. Likewise, your own design is judged by others. There’s a map filled with points of interest. Also, while the guidelines can be specific, like asking for a forest, many are vague. For example, it could ask for your heart’s desire or something nostalgic.
Colors Live offers all of the features someone would expect for a Switch drawing app. It’s rather capable, especially if you are using a SonarPen on an original Switch model. And with Colors Quest, it feels like you can experiment with the tools and play around with the app in a safe space. Everything seemed to be handled rather well, and it’s good to see the application back again.
Colors Live is available for the Nintendo Switch, and its SonarPen is available with the retail edition or separately. https://store.colorslive.com/