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The Spiritual Successor to Kirby Canvas Curse Arrives

As Nintendo's attention turns towards the DS, Kirby returns for a final bow.

You'd be forgiven for not realizing there are not one but two Kirby video games coming from Nintendo this year. It flew over my head, too.

Kirby Mass Attack arrives first on the existing DS next month, marking what's probably one of Nintendo's last meaningful contributions to the handheld that transformed the company. Considering Kirby himself debuted on the NES during the period where most of Nintendo's efforts had turned towards the SNES (Kirby's Dream Land in 1992, followed by Kirby's Adventure in 1993), it's rather fitting.

It's notable in a much more profound way, too.

Kirby Canvas Curse remains one of the first and best instances of stylus-controlled gameplay on the DS. There really was nothing like it, and it quickly underscored what was so different about Nintendo's new conceptualization of video games. Sadly, very few other games, even ones produced by Nintendo, really expanded on the groundwork laid by Kirby Canvas Curse. Except, of course, when Nintendo decided to circle back to Kirby.

I played a few stages of a nearly-finished translated version of Kirby Mass Attack (it was released in Japan earlier this month) a few days back on the beast of a machine that is the Nintendo DSi XL. You forget how monstrous that thing is until you've gone a few months without playing around with one.

None of the buttons on the DS have any impact on gameplay in Kirby Mass Attack; it's all stylus, all the time. Given the superfluous nature of most games' stylus use, the outright reliance here is refreshing and liberating. You have touch-based control over not just one Kirby but potentially 10 of them at once. Yes, 10. There's a story that I won't discuss because there's really no reason to get into it. It justifies Kirby being split into pieces or something--I was getting flashes of Lord Voldemort. Basically, collect fruit, convert said fruit into points, then collect 100 points to add another Kirby to your lineup. You max out at 10, and besides the interesting effects on gameplay, you'll need more Kirbys to unlock more and more stages.

Did I just get into a story element of a Kirby game? My apologies.

Tap on the screen to have your Kirbys walk in one direction, tap another to reverse course. Double tap to run. Hold the stylus over them to initiate the same drag-the-stylus mechanic from Kirby Canvas Curse. Even in situations where the game didn't call for using this feature, I found myself yanking them across the screen with pointless nostalgia. It ended up killing off a bunch of my guys, and now I'm left to wonder whether "killing" is acceptable nomenclature in the Kirbyverse. To avoid certain death, you'll have to flick individual Kirbys around the screen to instigate attacks against enemies. Sometimes, you flick them and they attack automatically. Other times, clicking the enemy will speed up the process.

When you've maxed out your team to the full slate of Kirbys, the whole process can feel a bit unruly and chaotic at times. After missing a jump for the third time, you may find yourself pining for a d-pad.

But we should both resist that urge. Controlling the chaos became more and more manageable with time, and as the moment approached that mastery seemed in reach, the DS was taken from my hands.

Fortunately, the finished game is only weeks out.

It's good to have another quality DS game. It's even better to have a spiritual sequel to Kirby Canvas Curse. Welcome back, friend.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek

You'd be forgiven for not realizing there are not one but two Kirby video games coming from Nintendo this year. It flew over my head, too.

Kirby Mass Attack arrives first on the existing DS next month, marking what's probably one of Nintendo's last meaningful contributions to the handheld that transformed the company. Considering Kirby himself debuted on the NES during the period where most of Nintendo's efforts had turned towards the SNES (Kirby's Dream Land in 1992, followed by Kirby's Adventure in 1993), it's rather fitting.

It's notable in a much more profound way, too.

Kirby Canvas Curse remains one of the first and best instances of stylus-controlled gameplay on the DS. There really was nothing like it, and it quickly underscored what was so different about Nintendo's new conceptualization of video games. Sadly, very few other games, even ones produced by Nintendo, really expanded on the groundwork laid by Kirby Canvas Curse. Except, of course, when Nintendo decided to circle back to Kirby.

I played a few stages of a nearly-finished translated version of Kirby Mass Attack (it was released in Japan earlier this month) a few days back on the beast of a machine that is the Nintendo DSi XL. You forget how monstrous that thing is until you've gone a few months without playing around with one.

None of the buttons on the DS have any impact on gameplay in Kirby Mass Attack; it's all stylus, all the time. Given the superfluous nature of most games' stylus use, the outright reliance here is refreshing and liberating. You have touch-based control over not just one Kirby but potentially 10 of them at once. Yes, 10. There's a story that I won't discuss because there's really no reason to get into it. It justifies Kirby being split into pieces or something--I was getting flashes of Lord Voldemort. Basically, collect fruit, convert said fruit into points, then collect 100 points to add another Kirby to your lineup. You max out at 10, and besides the interesting effects on gameplay, you'll need more Kirbys to unlock more and more stages.

Did I just get into a story element of a Kirby game? My apologies.

Tap on the screen to have your Kirbys walk in one direction, tap another to reverse course. Double tap to run. Hold the stylus over them to initiate the same drag-the-stylus mechanic from Kirby Canvas Curse. Even in situations where the game didn't call for using this feature, I found myself yanking them across the screen with pointless nostalgia. It ended up killing off a bunch of my guys, and now I'm left to wonder whether "killing" is acceptable nomenclature in the Kirbyverse. To avoid certain death, you'll have to flick individual Kirbys around the screen to instigate attacks against enemies. Sometimes, you flick them and they attack automatically. Other times, clicking the enemy will speed up the process.

When you've maxed out your team to the full slate of Kirbys, the whole process can feel a bit unruly and chaotic at times. After missing a jump for the third time, you may find yourself pining for a d-pad.

But we should both resist that urge. Controlling the chaos became more and more manageable with time, and as the moment approached that mastery seemed in reach, the DS was taken from my hands.

Fortunately, the finished game is only weeks out.

It's good to have another quality DS game. It's even better to have a spiritual sequel to Kirby Canvas Curse. Welcome back, friend.

Staff Online
Edited by Babylonian

Whoa! Awesome! I couldn't tell whether this game was worth getting pumped about when I first saw it at E3.

Posted by bassman2112

It feels weird to actually be looking forward to a DS game again... Thanks for the article, Patrick =)

Btw, 10 Kirbies? (Kirbii?) Count me the balls in.

Posted by MisterMouse

I can always go for more Kirby.

Posted by scarace360

SO MANY KIRBI!

Posted by MariachiMacabre

I keep hearing about Canvas Curse lately. I got my DS only a few years ago so I never played it. This looks good so I may have to play CC as well.

Posted by Doctorchimp

You know the irony of the 3DS shaky launch has really made me go back and pick up my old fat DS to play games I never gave a chance to.
 
Picking up Bowser's Inside Story, some great JRPGs like The World Ends with you, DQ9, DQ6, some Professor Layton and probably this.

Posted by yoshimitz707

Kirby!

Posted by BeachThunder

Yay :D looking forward to this.

Posted by beard_of_zeus

I'm very excited about this game, Canvas Curse was super duper awesome. This sounds sort of Pikmin-esque, having slight control over a whole mess of chaos.

Posted by norfair187

Thanks for the preview, Patrick. I'm a sucker for 2d platformers, so I'll definitely pick this up. 
WayForward's new DS game Aliens: Infestation seems to be pretty promising, too.
Posted by Rated_R_Superstar

Kirby Rocks!
Posted by JackSukeru

I still haven't gotten Epic Yarn but both of these incoming Kirby games really interest me as well.

Posted by radioactivez0r

OK, OK, I'll go find a copy of Canvas Curse somewhere.

Posted by carlfoster91

Didn't kirby debut on the Gameboy? just pointing it out.

Posted by ChrisInCali

I just played Canvas Curse last night... still hate how my hand blocks my view of the screen 50% of the time playing games with this touch screen control method.

Posted by TwilitEnd656

What the hell is it with Kirby that makes me want to play his damn games? IT'S MADDENING.

Posted by BUCK3TM4N

i love kirby

Posted by Tan

This is great surprise :D! Didn't look all that fun from like the 5seconds of footage nintendo has shown. ...what's going on with Nintendo's marketing lately anyway? D:

Posted by Raven10

I am still not sure what to make of this game.

Posted by Kyreo

Dude, I am excited. I frickin love Kirby games.

Posted by Brackynews

I really hope there's some knockoff of Surfin' Safari on that level. Good to have another DS game on the wishlist.

Just put Epic Yarn back in my Wii (ouch) yesterday. Right after finally finishing the last half hour of MP3.

Posted by rufo

I hadn't heard of this but YOU INVOKED THE NAME OF CANVAS CURSE, so… shut up and take my money.

Posted by Sgtpierceface

Shouldn't the subtitle read,

"As Nintendo's attention turns towards the 3DS, Kirby returns for a final bow." ?

Posted by Zithe

"Kirby Mass Attack arrives first on the existing DS next month"

Are you implying my 3DS doesn't exist? :P

Posted by just_nonplussed

oh, i didn't know that mass attack was going to be like canvas curse. thanks for the info! canvas curse is one of my favourite DS games. HAL make some great little games.
 
on a side note, the sub title 'mass attack' does sound kind of alarming. lol. rhymes with 'gas attack'. makes kirby sound like a terrorist.

Edited by wolf_blitzer85

@carlfoster91 said:

Didn't kirby debut on the Gameboy? just pointing it out.

This is what I thought too. He wasn't even pink yet.

Edit: Yeah even the link Patrick provides brings you to the Gameboy game. How do you miss that?

Posted by ryanwho

The plural for more than one Kirby, like an octopus, is both Kirbi and Kirbods.

Posted by AlwaysBeClothing

I wonder if Alex will do the review

Posted by doomocrat

In the sub, attention towards the 3DS, not the DS!

Posted by Lies

Kirby Canvas Curse was sublime

Edited by shodan2020

Canvas Curse was amazing. I'm glad Mass Attack is coming out over here. I don't think I've ever encountered a Kirby game that I didn't out and out love, or at least if I didn't like it, really appreciate what the Kirby team was doing. :)

Posted by krabboss

I've already played the Japanese version. It's a good game, I guess.

Posted by Mechwing

Kirby games are so under appreciated compared to other nintendo games. imo they have been the most fun or atleast different. <.<.

Posted by Stubee

I hate most nintendo characters. Link, Starfox, Metroid and even Mario can go fuck themselves.  
 
That being said, I LOVE KIRBY!!! Hes all pink and squishy!!! :D:D:D:D

Posted by Xpgamer7

Kirby games were one of my first entries into the genre. It really makes me remember how good games can be every time I play one.

Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam

SO MANY KIRBYS AAAAHHHHHHHHHH

Posted by onan

@Sgtpierceface said:

Shouldn't the subtitle read,

"As Nintendo's attention turns towards the 3DS, Kirby returns for a final bow." ?

It wouldn't be a Patrick article without at least one typo. :)

Posted by thaquoth

There is also a slight factual error in the text. Kirby's Dream Land was not on the NES but on the original Game Boy, which in turn means the series debuted on the GB.

Posted by Vexxan

This game sounds lovely.

Posted by GetEveryone

Ten Kirbii makes this an instant purchii.

Posted by ajamafalous

Hey Patrick, did you mean "turns toward the 3DS" in the title's decription?

Posted by JackSukeru

I believe what makes Kirby so charming is that he isn't just cute and squishy, but he's also badass.

He uses tons of different weapons, some just include different kinds of martial arts, he's an insatiable glutton and he goes through every adventure with either a sort of oblivious blank stare or a bright smile.

Posted by CyleMoore

Kirby usually delivers the final blow on some of Nintendo's best systems.

Posted by BlatantNinja23

i dont get why this isnt just a 3ds game, they need the better line up anyway. That and id rather have the new rhythm heaven be 3ds.

Posted by sirdesmond

When I saw that many Kirbies (I guess that's how you would spell it) on screen at once, I knew I had to have it.

Posted by uphc

Did I just not play enough Canvas Curse to go bananas over it? I keep hearing people call it an absolute classic on the platform and while it delivered on the touchscreen, there just wasn't enough to get me anywhere near all the way through it.

Posted by ajamafalous

I thought that said "Kirby Mars Attacks" and I was a lot more excited.

Posted by BeachThunder
@ajamafalous said:

I thought that said "Kirby Mars Attacks" and I was a lot more excited.

I'm surprised you didn't interpret it as" Kirby: Mass Effect".
Posted by ajamafalous

@BeachThunder said:

@ajamafalous said:

I thought that said "Kirby Mars Attacks" and I was a lot more excited.

I'm surprised you didn't interpret it as" Kirby: Mass Effect".

I'm one of those people that liked ME1 but disliked ME2, so I have zero hype for anything ME related at this point, unfortunately.

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