Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Title: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Platform: Wii U
MSRP: $40

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a good game. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s stunning visuals and inventive gameplay design make it one that everyone should try at some point.

I’m not a big Kirby fan. I’ve avoided his games for years, mostly because I usually feel like the content is just too directly tailored to little kids. I mean, I love Nintendo, so I’m ok with that to a degree, but Nintendo games usually have some features that please adults as well, and I haven’t had that experience with prior Kirby games. But this latest entry was just so beautiful and innovative that I just couldn’t pass up giving it a try. While it’s far from my favorite game, I’m glad I played it.

KirbyKirby and the Rainbow curse features a claymation style for its artwork, and it fit perfectly with the story and characters. It features a very unconventional method of locomotion: Instead of a using the d-pad or analog stick, you move by drawing rainbow ropes on the gamepad and directing Kirby where he needs to go. It’s a unique mechanic that has been used for a previous Kirby game on the DS, but it really comes into its own in this game given the lush visuals and extra real estate on the screen. For those who simply can’t handle or don’t want to deal with such a unique system of controls, multiplayer offers a more conventional yet simplified method of moving in the game for the non-Kirby characters; you can control Waddle Dee with a dpad on a second controller.

This game may look like it’s another cute cartoony Kirby, and it is, but it’s more than that. Inventive level design and a continually locomoting Kirby mean that you’ll be thinking on your feet for most levels. True, the game isn’t “hard,” especially not during the first half, but it is more challenging than what you might think given the character and series.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: This game is gorgeous. My one complaint about it is that the design of gameplay necessitates looking at the gamepad screen, which means that you’re continually looking at a much lower resolution image and missing out on the beautiful colors that display on today’s modern flat screen tvs. It’s a necessary evil for this type of game that had me wishing Nintendo splurged a bit more on that gamepad screen.

Rainbow Curse is relatively short, with the main campaign lasting only roughly 6-8 hours, but I’m ok with that, especially considering the budget price. I feel far too much emphasis is placed on the length of games; some of the best games of previous generations have been extremely short experiences. It’s what’s there that counts, and Rainbow Curse kept me interested and having fun throughout the duration of the campaign.

Kirby-gpThere’s a fair amount of replay value as well for those who like collecting things. Hundreds of stars adorn each stage, and getting all of them can be quite challenging. There are also some timed sections that call for precise maneuvering, which can be made especially difficult by virtue of the novelty of using the touchscreen and stylus to move.

I would have liked to see some extra modes in this game, and in an ideal world, online play (I know, we’re talking about Nintendo, so I wouldn’t expect as much). Given how polished the final product is and the fun and inventive way that they designed the game, I’m sure it would have made for some really interesting combative challenges between friends with their gamepads. While unfortunate, again it’s worth mentioning that this is not a full price title, so I can understand the straightforward approach.

As mentioned earlier, you can use a dpad for control if you are the second player, and in this way Rainbow Curse does go the extra nine yards. Not complicit with just rehashing the same levels for co-op play, they add in extra enemies and challenges in just the right places to help keep it interesting despite the extra help. I didn’t get a chance to experiment with this in detail, but what I did play seemed fun and well constructed.

Even if this cutesy style isn’t your thing, I highly recommend taking Rainbow Curse for a spin. It’s an innovative experience in and of itself that’s worth your time and money.

Final Score 7.5/10

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