As one of the most reinvented video game series ever, Kirby returns in a follow-up to his decade old Canvas Curse. Now featuring some of the cutest visuals in Kirby's history, multiplayer, and more bonuses than you can shake a paintbrush at, is it worth taking a trip back to Dream Land or should you make the little pink fellow restore colour to his homeland all by his lonesome?
All Kirby wanted to do was eat an apple. Instead, an evil entity known as Clacia drained Dream Land of all its colour, so Kirby must forgo his fruity snack and bring colour back to the land. Thankfully, he doesn't have to go it alone as he has help from a paintbrush named Elline and possibly some Waddle Dees if you decide to play with friends.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse looks impressive with undeniably adorable and realistically rendered clay characters and environments. Every screen is comprised of an eye-catching palette of colours and choppily moving objects that breathe life into even the smallest of features. Kirby rolls smoothly throughout the journey and his enemies are animated just as seamlessly. Even though all of the visuals are clay-like, the characters still pop off the screen well enough to not blend in. Featured music is composed of modern reinterpretations of classic Kirby tunes and original pieces that are well suited for their environments, while sound effects add layers of charm and satisfaction to every event. Overall, this is one adventure that's pleasant for both your eyes and your ears.
If you can recall Kirby's debut DS game Canvas Curse then you're already familiar with how Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is played. You must draw rainbow ropes on the GamePad's touch screen in order to guide Kirby who, besides tapping him to get him going or dash, automatically moves on his own. After you collect 100 of the abundantly available stars, you can hold the stylus on Kirby to charge a powerful dash that's used to penetrate dense walls and destroy tough enemies. At times, Kirby transforms into a tank, submarine, and rocket. Each form controls differently and it may take a short while to get used to, but you're always eased into these situations. Although control is limited to the touch screen, you'll be impressed by how much you can accomplish with such simple gameplay mechanics as you guide Kirby along while dashing into enemies and solving many unique puzzles.
The story mode is divided into seven levels with each corresponding to a different colour of the rainbow. These levels are composed of four stages with the last one always containing a boss. Every stage is unique enough to not feel repetitive since you'll find yourself in various challenging situations that can range from action-intense segments to thought-provoking puzzles. That being said, you'll end up fighting three of the bosses twice which is disappointing because Kirby games usually do a great job of offering a diverse array of challenging boss fights. If you want to play with a few friends then you can have them join your game as Waddle Dee variations by using almost any Wii U compatible controller. While this does make the majority of the journey easier, be careful because Grab Hand will occasionally invade and it's up to the Waddle Dees to save Kirby from his grasp.
There are plenty of bonuses to collect throughout your adventure. Each stage holds five hidden treasure chests that contain unlockable features. You're also awarded with a medal according to how many total stars you've acquired and can unlock a new page in Kirby's secret diary by collecting it at the end of each stage via the bonus wheel. Replaying stages in order to unlock more features and obtain better medals is rewarding as there's a lot more to do than just finish the game. If you happen to have a Kirby, King Dedede, or Meta Knight amiibo then you can use them to temporarily power-up Kirby. This is a neat feature, but it also seems like a missed opportunity since it would have been cool to have these characters show up in-game or provide bonus unlockables.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse may be a fulfilling adventure for almost any gamer, but it does have some frustrating elements. Segments requiring Kirby to move precisely become instantly aggravating. This is especially true in parts where you can't focus since you're frantically drawing ropes to guide Kirby as oncoming dangers are blocked by your hand. It's unfortunate that there are so many portions as irritating as this because it's an otherwise smooth journey. However, if you can tolerate these frustrating moments and you have a soft spot for cuteness, then Kirby and the Rainbow Curse can be a delightfully wonderful experience.
- + Super-cute and realistic clay graphics
- + Great follow-up to the decade old Canvas Curse with the same distinct gameplay
- + Loads of bonuses to unlock and explore
- - Situations requiring accurate movement can get exceptionally frustrating
- - Three of the bosses are repeated