Written by Twisted Ideas
Kirby Canvas Curse was an early DS game that really took advantage of the touch screen as a primary controller. It was a very unique game but fit Kirby and his world and sadly wasn’t revisited until now. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse brings Kirby’s rolling adventures back, bigger and better than ever, sporting a new art style to boot. Will this return be a success or is the game cursed to fail.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Platform: Wii U
What is it?
Kirby and Waddle Dee are enjoying a simple day in Dreamland when a portal opens in the sky. A paintbrush fairy Elline emerges from the portal being chased by Claycia, a pair of floating hands who steals all the colors in the world. Elline paints color back into Kirby and Waddle Dee and together they seek to get the colors back from Claycia
How does it play?
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a 2D platformer controlled completely with the stylus and the gamepad. You tap Kirby to make him dash and draw Rainbow Ropes to guide around the stage, make pathways and obstruct dangers. You have a limit of how much Rope you can draw buy you can restore it quickly if Kirby is on solid ground. Each stage has several hidden treasure chests and stars. Collect 100 stars and Kirby can perform a Rainbow Dash which is more powerful and can destroy blocks and enemies that Kirby normally cannot.
The game is divided into 7 worlds each with three standard level and a boss fight. At the end of each normal stage there is a goal marker with the chance to get extra stars, lives or a diary page. The diary pages are written by Elline and are cute and fun extras you can view in the main menu. At the end of each stage you are graded and shown all of the chests you have collected. You grade (bronze to gold) is determined by the amount of stars collected in the stage. Each treasures chest will either contain figurines or soundtracks you can view in the main menu.
You unlock challenge mode levels after completing levels; They consist of four 15 second levels (like the ones you find in some stages) where you have to collect the treasure chests within the time limit. You grade is determined by the amount of chests collected. If you do well enough on a page in challenge mode, a final challenge is unlocked where you have to collect 12 chests in a row without fail for the gold.
How does it look?
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse has a claymation aesthetic just without the stop motion. It’s a good look for the game and is reminiscent of when Kirby’s Epic Yarn had an arts and crafts look. The levels have similar themes from Dreamland stages so the game has a familiar feel for long time Kirby fans.
The problem with the art style is that with the way you need to play the game. You have to control the game with the stylus while looking at the gamepad or else your accuracy with drawing ropes will make the game much harder. Even though the gamepad screen isn’t that small, you won’t get the some detail that you will if you were looking at the TV. That’s disappointing because while the environments don’t show off the clay aesthetic too well, the enemies and animations look great. I’m sure that it’s good for anyone playing co-op or just watching.
The diary pages are adorable because they look like they were drawn by a child because of all of the scribbles and not completely finished coloring.
The art style doesn’t really match Elline and her paintbrush look. I’m pretty sure that you don’t paint clay. Elline only ever paints Rainbow Ropes and Kirby into vehicles which doesn’t make sense. The idea of the game is that all color was taken from Dreamland but that’s only seen in the beginning and end of the game. You aren’t returning color to Dreamland when you beat worlds and the stages are anything but devoid of color. The diary pages mention that all of the color was used to create seven worlds but it really felt forgotten about.
How does it sound?
The soundtrack has several remixed tracks from the series and original. The songs are very upbeat, even the slower songs and makes use of a lot of uncommon instruments and makes good use of synthesized sounds. The sound effects are also from the series and Kirby makes his classic sound effects too. The game never feels or sounds empty when your playing.
What do I think?
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a fun yet frustrating game at times. The controls take a while to get used to and some of the levels makes getting gold medals and treasure chests very difficult. You can only control Kirby with the Stylus which isn’t that bad but there are times where you’re drawing ropes hoping to get Kirby to stay on path. The movement is a lot of fun when you get through challenge rooms and lines of stars smoothly but when it doesn’t the controls become a drag.
The challenge rooms are few and far in between but it’s nice that they dedicated an entire mode for them. The problem with them is that there is that the timer starts almost as soon as the room loads. You might not notice at first and lose a second or two. The 15 second time limit is more than enough time for most rooms but there are some rooms where that barely enough. With the amount of randomness that can happen when drawing ropes, the limited leeway is annoying.
There are a couple of auto-scrollers in the game and an entire world nearly dedicated to it. World 4 is the worst for auto-scrollers because it also has the most bottomless pits in the game. Aiming for gold medals and treasures chests in world 4 is aggravating because you have little room for error.
Frustrations aside, Rainbow Curse does feel like a Kirby game and a good one at that. The level design takes elements from the Dreamland games including the easy to see, hard to get collectibles from the series. Some collectibles are very well hidden, the challenge rooms are short but sweet and getting 100% is fairly difficult.
Should you get it?
Kirby fans will get a kick out of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. I’m not a big Kirby fan either and a enjoyed the game. The game looks and sounds great and there are a lot of challenges and collectibles to obtain if that interests you. However, the game isn’t very long and the controls can take a while to get used to. The game is at a lower price than triple A games so that’s a plus. If you’re a platformer and/or collectible enthusiasts then you won’t be disappointed.