PINK, SPHERICAL, AND BEAUTIFUL
After nearly a decade, the spiritual sucessor to Kirby and the Canvas Curse for the Nintendo DS has arrived in the form of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. With beautiful visuals, simple gameplay, and intricate mysteries, Kirby’s debut on the Wii U is a beautiful rainbow that was worth the wait.
Like many Kirby games, the story is simple — a mysterious hole tears open the sky of Dream Land where Elline, a paintbrush fairy escaping out of the hole, solicits the help of Kirby (and Waddle Dee) to fight against the mysterious evil force. The storyline is conveyed without a single word spoken or text written. All of this was inferred through the visuals and music in an elegant and sophisticated way.
Though the story isn’t filled with layers of plot points, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse’s shining moment comes from the presentation. As mentioned, music is an instrumental aspect with a slew of varying styles, paces, and dynamics. The small chimes and clicks throughout the levels layered on top of the music really enhances the experience for players.
With this, the visuals are stunning — utterly, utterly stunning. I honestly had reservations about the style of the game. I mean, c’mon, a game made of clay? Boy was I wrong. The claymation of the characters on an HD screen is a clearly fine-tuned perspective that just makes me smile. The subtle details also shine with this. When you’re able to see small curves and little fingerprints in the levels, you’re able to then appreciate the care and detail that Nintendo’s placed into this game. In addition to the interestingly awesome claymation style, the colors are vibrant and eye popping.
Once you’ve sufficiently marveled at the visuals of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, you’re then able to enjoy the actual gameplay. By using the gamepad, you’re able to maneuver through the world by drawing a rainbow strand that a spherical Kirby can roll over. With this, there’s infinite possibilities on getting from Point A to Point B. In Nintendo fashion, the simplistic gameplay is exponentially enhanced by the high caliber of its execution. An obvious example of this is the subtle alterations within the various levels. In a certain water world, Kirby floats (go figure). So with this special character trait, it becomes imperative to draw rainbow strands to keep the pink blob below water and to keep more control as to where he needs to go.
Though this world is stunningly beautiful in HD, the gameplay forces you to look almost exclusively on the gamepad to draw your rainbow strands. This constantly made me think that this game would be ideal for the Nintendo 3DS. However, if the game was brought to the 3DS, then the gorgeous visuals would never had existed. A catch-22 if I’ve ever seen one…
Another aspect that felt fresh was the use of amiibo. If you have a Kirby, Meta Knight, or King Dedede, you’re able to scan each and get a boost of sorts to help you in a level. Though I am an amiibo-addict and have all the released amiibo, players might be out of luck with Meta Knight and King Dedede since they are considered to be among the rare ones as of the release of this game. Kirby, however, is everywhere. Regardless of trying to actually utilize these amiibo boosts, the game places a limit to once per day per character so that players aren’t solely relying on the figures to complete the game.
Not only can you play in single Story Mode, but if you have a buddy with a Wiimote, then they can join in as a Waddle Dee. Up to three Waddle Dees can join, so you can have a plethora of new experiences with your friends. If Story Mode isn’t your cup of tea, then you can partake in Challenge Mode. This section offers numerous “mini games” to complete within a certain timeframe. If challenges don’t entice you, you’re able to collect various trophies throughout the game’s levels. If you want to just relax and listen to some music, you’re able to explore the slew of music from this game, allowing you to list your favorite and create your own playlists.
One big disappointment to this game was the level of difficulty. To me, I felt that though there was some thinking and pondering to collect all the treasures, the actual platforming of the game was very easy. There were interesting challenges throughout the game, but all in all, the gameplay difficulty lacked in comparison to other facets of the experience. This was showcased even more when players can skip a level after they lose more than three times.
The Verdict: 8.2 out of 10
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a great platform game that offers a beautiful world to explore. While it draws inspiration from classic Kirby games, it still finds a niche all on its own. Though the gameplay could be considered easy, the replay and experience, along with the diversity of gameplay mechanics more than compensates. What’s more exciting is the pricetag — for $39.99, a much lower price than standard Wii U games, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a great buy and a better experience.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.