Kirby and the Rainbow Curse review for Wii U

Platform: Wii U
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Medium: Disc/Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

The Kirby series has always done a pretty solid job of reinventing itself. Even when working as a successor of sorts, like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse does for Kirby: Canvas Curse, there’s still plenty of new elements to enjoy and uncover. While Rainbow Curse certainly will remind you of its predecessor, it’s a game that still manages provides a memorable Wii U experience, and it’s one of the best Kirby games to be released in the past decade.

First and foremost, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a stunning game on the Wii U. The claymation visuals are brought to life in astounding clarity, with remarkably fluid animation work in both cutscenes and gameplay. The opening sequence to the game, in which Kirby and company see the color sucked out of Dream Land, really showcases how great the game looks, and how incredibly vibrant a Kirby game can look in HD. Too bad you won’t really get to appreciate that though, as you’ll be spending the majority of the time looking down at the GamePad screen.

WiiU_Kirby_scrn07_E3And therein lies the biggest, problem I have with the game. You get about five minutes or so to enjoy the visuals, and then you’re tethered to the GamePad in a way that few first-party Wii U games have done thus far. The controls of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse are such that, unless you have amazing hand/eye coordination,  you’ll never be able to look away from the 6.2” display in your hands. Drawing lines to control Kirby’s movement is simple enough, but every time I tried to peel my eyes away from the GamePad to the TV I found the difficulty to be nearly unbearable, to the point that it completely halted my enjoyment of the game.

Which is a real shame, considering how much I really enjoy playing Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. Forced visual downgrade aside, this is one of the better, and more challenging, Kirby titles I’ve ever played. You’ll control Kirby via the stylus, drawing rainbow infused lines for Kirby to attach to, or tapping at Kirby to give him boosts of speed. Lines help Kirby navigate across pits and other obstacles, avoid enemies, block the flow of water, stave off lasers, and eventually reach the end goal of each stage.

WiiU_Kirby_scrn04_E3While a lot of Kirby titles focus on his ability to consume things and absorb their properties, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a bit more streamlined. Most enemies and bosses are defeated by charging them headfirst, either by tapping and getting a burst of speed, or by collecting 100 stars and making a super-powered dash capable of causing more destruction. In a handful of stages Kirby will make a transformation into vehicles like a tank or submarine, altering the structure of the gameplay slightly, and providing some well-timed breaks for the player to enjoy more varied stage designs.

There’s also a number of secrets to uncover, including treasure chests that can be well-hidden on every stage, a medal system that ranks  your completion efforts, challenge stages with timed objectives, and a number of tertiary unlockables like music and figurines. There’s also amiibo support for the three Kirby figures released thus far, which considering the rarity of Meta Knight and King DeDeDe might not be something fans will have an opportunity to use much of. Still, for being a non-full priced release, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse has a decent variety of modes and unlockables to enjoy.

WiiU_Kirby_scrn10_E3All in all, I can’t deny that Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a great game. Built around the mechanics of the much-loved Kirby: Canvas Curse from 2005, Rainbow Curse feels like a natural evolution for the gameplay introduced in the DS original. It’s a shame that the controls are so restrictive though, especially considering this is one the best looking Wii U games on the market today. Still, not being able to fully enjoy the visual smorgasbord isn’t enough of a reason to skip over playing the latest Kirby adventure, and hopefully it won’t negatively impact your enjoyment of a really fun Kirby game.

Grade: A-

Kirby & The Rainbow Curse (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Nintendo
ESRB Rating: 

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