Yesterday I obtained a copy of Kirby’s latest adventure, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (as it’s called for the North American release) for Wii U. Gameplay-wise, it’s a follow-up to Kirby Canvas Curse, released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS. This game is played entirely with the stylus (the only button input is the start button, to pause/unpause the game), and as such, there’s really no need to have a television on for this, as it displays exactly what the Game Pad is displaying.
Anyway, the visual aesthetic for Rainbow Curse works rather well; it’s clay animation, with the frame rate slowed down a bit to emphasize the visuals. It’s a neat effect, and definitely sets this game apart even from other Kirby titles, but the visuals don’t really impact or inform the gameplay in any major way. A previous Kirby title, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, incorporated the yarn visuals into the gameplay mechanics, making for a unique game. As it is, Rainbow Curse is not unique and actually lacks some key features from Canvas Curse.
In Canvas Curse, you could tap enemies on the touch screen in order to halt their movements for a few moments. This proved incredibly helpful in navigating stages with the limitations on Kirby’s movements (Kirby is always in ball mode, and only moves with the ropes you draw on the screen, and when you tap Kirby). Another major gameplay mechanic in Canvas Curse was that Kirby could copy enemy abilities by bumping into them. This staple of the Kirby franchise was incredibly useful in Canvas Curse. However, both of these mechanics are absent from Rainbow Curse, and their absence is baffling. I could understand dropping the ability to halt enemy movement by tapping them, but excluding Kirby’s power-ups is even more confusing. It just doesn’t feel like a Kirby game without that. (On that note, there are some instances of Kirby gaining special powers, but those are bestowed by the paintbrush character, and reference the animal companions from the Dream Land series. You have a tank, a submarine, and a rocket, allowing for land, water, and air power. These sections are rare, though)
I’m about halfway through the game right now, and am enjoying it. I just feel that Canvas Curse is the better game.