Michael Leparc On March 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm

WiiU_KirbyandtheRainbowCurse_logoEver since the Wii U’s gamepad was announced with a touch screen, we’ve been expecting some of the ideas spawned on the DS to make their way to the console format. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is actually builds off of the DS hit, Kirby: Canvas Curse. In some ways it’s a game that would have worked just as well as a sequel on the 3DS handheld, but if you can get past some of its shortcomings versus the original, it’s definitely worth grabbing.

Much like Kirby himself, the story of the game does not have the benefit of words to express itself. Instead we’re treated to a cutscene which details the event that sets our pink ball of fluff off onto another adventure. One day while playing with Waddle Dee in Dreamland, a hole opens up in the sky, with a paintbrush fairy and some mysterious hands chasing her through it. The ensuing battle sucks all the color out of Dreamland, leaving it frozen in place. Elline, the paintbrush fairy, brings Kirby and Waddle Dee back to life in technicolor with her powers, and paints them a path into the hole in the sky to go after the evil behind this.

Thus, the game foreshadows your role, which is to play the role of paintbrush and guide Kirby to safety and the elimination of his foes. Kirby rolls along and follows the path of your lines, with loops causing him to speed up and tapping on him allowing him to spin attack enemies (if you don’t remember to tap, he takes damage). You have 4 hit points before death so there is some leeway, along with pickups that will recharge your health and extend the amount of ink you can use to draw lines. If you run out, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge as your previous strokes disappear, which you can expedite by striking another line across an existing one. The other big thing you’ll want to do is pick up as many stars as possible, as every 100 stars you pick up will unlock a special ability called the Star Dash, which allows him to charge through blocks that are normally unbreakable, as well as armored enemies. Boss battles are probably where most of the difficulty is found, as dodging attacks can be difficult since you’re limited by your drawing ability instead of fast reflexes. Also a bit of pain are the underwater segments, where gravity essentially reverses and you are drawing lines to force Kirby down against his buoyancy, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to.

From time to time in certain stages, with the help of Elline, Kirby will transform into things like a tank, submarine, or rocket. These introduce control changes like tapping to fire shells at a target of your choice or drawing lines in order to direct the submarine’s torpedoes. These segments are a nice change of pace from the standard gameplay, but they also are somewhat of a weaker substitute for the normal ability of Kirby to absorb the powers of his enemies. This is the one area where the game is a bit of a step down from its predecessor, but it’s not bad enough to ruin the experience. There is still a lot of depth to the game, particularly in its breadth of collectibles (specifically treasure chests which unlock in game figurines, music, and more), many of which must be unlocked by exploring hidden parts of the levels and beating challenge rooms within a given amount of time. The challenge rooms themselves also become a separate minigame for replay value. Finally, there is the addition of multiplayer where up to three friends can grab controllers and help you out as Waddle Dees, mostly by carrying you around and attacking enemies for you.

Probably the most interesting thing about this game is its art style. Kirby games are known for being brightly colored affairs, but this one harkens back to the 16-bit era with its clever use of claymation style graphics, only executed far better than games like Clay Fighter would ever hope for. While in single player mode, you’ll mostly be staring at the Gamepad screen, anyone observing will be wowed by the visuals. Kudos to Nintendo for continuing to find new twists after the success of games like Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The music is a bit of a mixed bag, with nice reimaginings of the main themes from previous games, but also some annoyingly short loops in other levels.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse finds itself in a genre that’s already well represented on the Wii U, but that doesn’t hold it back from standing out, mostly for its controls. While not as groundbreaking as the original Canvas Curse, it more than merits an addition to your collection if you’re a fan of the pink guy, especially since it’s a discounted title.


While it lacks some of the features of its prequel, it adds enough in other places to still be a solid play.


Not technically challenging, but it really feels like you looking at and playing with clay.


Some of the less whimsical scores kind of drag down this score a bit.


It’s not the absolute best Nintendo has to offer, but the price reflects that.

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