Version Reviewed: 1.0
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At first glance 32 x 32 reminded me of the Etch a Sketch Animator, an 80’s era off-shoot of the popular drawing toy. They both have a similar grid like interface for creating artwork and while 32 x 32 doesn’t animate your drawings, both allow you to design pixel art in much the same way.
After starting the program a quick tutorial explains how to use 32 x 32. You begin by dragging one finger across the screen to align the crosshair with a pixel, tap it with two fingers to fill it in, or continue dragging both fingers across the screen to fill in multiple pixels. To erase simply lift the two fingers up and bring them back down. This will change the crosshair from blue to red and then tap or drag to delete any filled in pixels.
The nice thing about 32 x 32 is you don’t have to be a fantastic artist to create some really cool art. The controls are intuitive and the interface is designed to not get in your way. There are five shades of grey to work with and even a paint bucket tool to speed up the process. I found it very easy to use and in no time I was making some cool little pictures. I had to laugh when I used the app to email some of my art to myself and they actually showed up as 32 x 32 pixel png files. They were just hanging out there in my inbox, like cute little icons. Once I realized that the artwork was eventually shrunk down, I knew that you could create some fairly intricate pieces with a lot of shading and detail in them. I’m curious to see what someone with some real talent can do with 32 x 32.
32 x 32 differs from traditional drawing apps in a couple of major ways. Designing with it is more similar to creating a mosaic or using building blocks than putting a pen to paper. You use the grid as a guideline to put pieces together rather than worry about drawing a straight line. The other difference is that 32 x 32 gives you a limited space to work within and forces you to be creative with your approach. When the Beatles were constrained by 4 track recorders they gave us Sgt. Pepper, what can you do with 32 x 32 pixels? Just think, this is how the original video game makers created Mario and others, so let your imagination fly!
I've spent a lot of time with Brushes, so I'm pretty aware of what's capable in an iPhone art program. While I doubt anything you create with 32 x32 will get you a cover of the New Yorker, it can still provide you with hours of fun. This is also a great app to get for the kids. It’s pretty intuitive so they can enjoy themselves without getting too frustrated with the tools.
I had a lot of fun playing with 32 x 32. It's never going to replace Brushes as a full featured art program, but it is a great niche app. It's also nice to experience an app you won't see copied over and over again in the app store. 32 x 32 is original and it does what it promises very well. If creating pixel art peaks your interest it’s a no-brainer to pick this up.