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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse Review

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On 06/29/2015 at 08:00 AM by Matt McLennan

This spiritual successor to Kirby: Canvas Curse will give you a better appreciation of Claymation.

For fans of Kirby: Canvas Curse on DS and other experimental games. Great for families if you don’t mind some trial and error.

Kirby’s morph ball versatility has allowed him to assume the role of a pinball, a golf ball, and a rolling ball controlled by a… rainbow brush. That last one came from 2005’s Kirby: Canvas Curse DS, which used the touch screen to draw lines for guiding Kirby through all sorts of obstacle filled levels. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, the pink puffball’s first Wii U title, follows the same style of gameplay but improves the experience in a number of ways and does it with a fantastic visual style.

The basic gameplay of Rainbow Curse has you directing Kirby, who does not stop rolling, through seven worlds, each with three levels and a boss fight. Every single level has tons of challenges and hidden secrets that require a creative use of the rainbow drawing, from collecting stars to finding treasure chests to unlocking hidden goodies. To mix up the gameplay, some treasure chest require you to complete challenges under a very strict time limit to unlock them, while certain stages transform Kirby into a tank, submarine, or rocket, and continue to make use of the rainbow line drawing. With these brand new gameplay mechanics it definitely improves upon Canvas Curse.

There are, however, faults in its design. While the drawing is extremely simple if you already have DS experience under your belt, there were times when I drew a line and Kirby didn’t go where I wanted him to. I lost out on a chest a couple times because of this. Then there’s this new supercharge ability that is activated once 100 stars are collected by holding down the stylus on Kirby, but it too also falters from the same touchscreen touchiness. This game also has a world where there is auto-scrolling involved; I was never a huge fan of these types of levels, and coupled with the fact you don’t have a lot of direct control of Kirby, they led to a lot of frustrating deaths. Lastly, after a certain number of bosses, they begin to be recycled with different attack patterns. I would’ve preferred new ones.

Visually, this game is very pleasing and creative. Every level has a unique look and Kirby, along with enemies both new and old, look incredible with the claymation look that shows all the molds and bumps which trick the eye into thinking it was all hand-crafted. The backgrounds and foregrounds in the game also rock the look and change with each new level, with environments ranging from peaceful looking grassy plains to rotting sunken ships, all at a smooth at 60 frames per second with no hiccups.

A Kirby game wouldn’t be a Kirby game without a great soundtrack, and Rainbow Curse does not disappoint. The new music tracks are well composed and arranged to mesh with the theme of the stages they play in, and on top of that you can unlock music tracks from past Kirby games arranged by the music team of Rainbow Curse. The sound effect department contains some of my favorites sound jingles from the Kirby series, like the 1up and damage sounds, and Kirby’s cute voice will never get old.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse serves as a nice debut for Kirby on the Wii U; it’s simple to learn and fun to play through for the whole family, despite some issues with auto-scrolling levels and line drawing. With a fun visual style, music and replay value, Kirby fans shouldn’t pass this one up. It isn’t even a full priced video game either!

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Cary Woodham

06/29/2015 at 07:32 PM

Another problem I had with the game is that since you are looking at the touch screen the whole time, you don't get a very good look at the awesome clay graphics on the HD screen.  It's not the best Kirby game in the world, but it's still fun.

Matt McLennan Staff Alumnus

07/02/2015 at 11:20 AM

The GamePad screen shows the clay details just fine and dandy, and I was looking at it the entire time.

Either clean the screen or increase the backlight.


07/02/2015 at 11:46 AM

This game looks like fun and definitely something I'd play if I had a Wii U.

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