This article was originally published at Another-Castle.com
The right game on the wrong platform.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Platform: Wii U
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a sequel/follow-up to the DS classic Kirby: Canvas Curse. As with the DS predecessor, Rainbow Curse is a non-traditional Kirby game where Kirby is controlled by drawing lines using the stylus. If you’re a Wii U owner that has been looking for a game that takes full advantage of the Wii U gamepad then this might be what you’re after.
It is important to come right out and say that I didn’t play all the way through Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. This is saying something since the game is quite short if merely getting through is your only goal. My whole time playing, I couldn’t stop thinking that this would be great – if it was on the 3DS. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse doesn’t just make use of the gamepad, it is required in single player and in multiplayer for player one. When I game on a console, it is not unreasonable to want to focus on the large screen but Kirby and the Rainbow Curse cannot be played effectively like that. Sitting in front of a large screen while focusing on a much smaller one, just wasn’t for me. If this isn’t a deal breaker for you like it was for me, then read on.
Much like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, the story of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is told without a word that needs to be heard or read. Instead the game opens with a charming video done in a Claymation style. Without spoiling anything, Kirby has to save the day. Saving the day involves curling into a ball and following rainbow lines drawn by the player using the stylus. Drawing rainbow lines depletes a meter so efficiently tracing paths for Kirby is the main challenge. If the bar depletes completely, Kirby will be idle until it recharges. Usually this is a matter of time but the levels swiftly become more challenging and a depleted rainbow bar can leave Kirby vulnerable. Kirby boosts when tapped which is used to defeat enemies and destroy obstacles. Collecting 100 of the plethora of stars scattered around the level gives Kirby a star dash super move which is useful against enemies and destroying certain blocks. This move will often be necessary to collect the many bonus items hidden throughout the levels.
The gameplay occasionally changes when Kirby transforms vehicles such as a submarine or a tank and has to shoot his way through a section. This involves the player tapping different enemies with the stylus. These sections could quickly become tiresome but they are spread out and brief enough to be enjoyable. The boss battles at the end of each world also mix up the gameplay as both Kirby’s offensive capabilities and precision with the stylus become critical. One such battle has Kirby having to attack an enemy from multiple sides as he spins. Another early boss will send out obstacles making drawing very accurate lines a necessity.
Although I stopped playing the game at world 4, the game does have 7 worlds, each with 4 levels. The levels are reasonably lengthy but the game is certainly brief, even for a budget console release. The game can be extended with the multiplayer mode which allows extra players to join in with Kirby. The gamepad is still required but there is support for multiple controllers. The game also has a challenge mode using the bonus stages found within levels in the main game. These are timed challenges and certainly a welcome feature. In addition to this there are the standard collectables scattered throughout levels which unlock character art and music.
The Claymation aesthetic of the intro mentioned earlier is thankfully carried throughout the game. The art style is as colourful and cute as one would expect from a game in the Kirby series. The levels include a lot of familiar Kirby tropes such as the tree boss from the original. I’d personally prefer more original designs but I can see the appeal of the familiar. The soundtrack is fantastic and this is certainly a game where collecting the musical tracks is worth the effort.
So Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a great game. The aesthetic is beautiful, the music wonderful and the gameplay is fun and engaging. It just hasn’t been put on the right system. I can only hope Nintendo ports this to the 3DS eventually, much like it did with Donkey Kong Country Returns. If this doesn’t bother you the way it bothers me then I give the game a hearty recommendation.\r\n
This review is based off the Japanese version of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (タッチ！カービィ スーパーレインボー– Touch! Kirby Super Rainbow) and as such some names and other small changes may differ in the English edition.\r\n