Kirby And The Rainbow Curse

That's a hell of a bad curse ya got there, Kirby. Sorry, man.

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Giant Bomb Review

177 Comments

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse Review

2
  • WiiU

Ten years later, this frustrating follow-up to Canvas Curse feels shallow and soulless by comparison.

In 2005, owners of the Nintendo DS were waiting for a game that demonstrated the benefit of a dual-screen portable with a touchscreen. The handheld had been out for seven months, and many of its titles were ports (Super Mario 64 DS) or collections of minigames (WarioWare: Touched!, Feel the Magic XY/XX). Nintendo hadn't yet sold anyone on the notion that we needed a touchscreen-based handheld.

The star dash is one of the few special abilities that Kirby has access to.
The star dash is one of the few special abilities that Kirby has access to.

Kirby: Canvas Curse came along in June, and was the first to really deliver on that promise. Its gameplay was simple, requiring players to draw paths on the touchscreen for Kirby to follow. Navigating the levels wasn’t a complex procedure, but it nonetheless felt like a unique experience that was custom-made for the DS (this is before the iPhone and iPad made touch-controlled games commonplace). I had a great time with the game, and I certainly wasn’t alone. It’s widely regarded as one of the best early titles in the DS library.

Almost a decade later, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse revives the format for the Wii U. While the touchscreen gameplay is intact and it features a gorgeous clay-based art style, the experience of actually playing it is a far cry from those early DS days.

One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that it’s almost impossible to look at the TV screen while you’re playing. There’s no good way to determine where the stylus is located if it’s not actively touching the screen, so your eyes need to be glued to the GamePad if you want to play this game.

On the surface, the gameplay seems similar enough to Canvas Curse. You lead Kirby by drawing rainbow-colored paths for him to follow, and you can scoot him along faster by tapping on him directly. If you collect 100 stars, you can hold the stylus on him for a moment to charge a star dash that can break through special blocks and do extra damage to bosses.

Nothing about the gameplay feels broken, it just feels soulless this time around. Levels are linear and don’t offer much in the way of challenge, and it’s rare that it strays from the “guide Kirby to the exit and collect stars” formula. Canvas Curse incorporated Kirby’s power to inherit abilities from dead enemies, but that’s been taken out for this entry. Occasional levels will have Kirby morphing into a rocket, torpedo, or tank, but these stages feel even more stripped-down and simple than the standard levels.

There are seven worlds (with three levels each) that fit squarely within traditional platformer themes, and each one ends with a boss fight. Many of these are frustrating, and require a level of precise control that your stylus just can’t provide. Even with so few worlds, you’ll see more than one boss recycled for another area with a minor twist (this time he’s underwater!).

Outside of using a rainbow path to shuttle Kirby along to the end of each level, there isn’t much to do. Each stage has a handful of (barely) hidden treasure chests that unlock figurines, and you can also collect little bonuses like music tracks and diary pages. None of these collectibles inspired me to go out of my way to obtain them, but they don’t add much in the way of challenge even if I had gone for 100%. Bare-bones challenge rooms can also be unlocked after beating areas, but they’re nothing more than an assortment of 15-second rooms that task you with getting to a treasure chest in time.

Up to three other players can join in to babysit Kirby.
Up to three other players can join in to babysit Kirby.

Other players can hop in and out with a variety of Wii U-compatible controllers, and they appear as Waddle Dees. It’s actually refreshing to play as them, as they can be directly controlled with a standard controller rather than the unreliable stylus paths. Several frustrating boss fights are made more tolerable if you have a friend jump in as Waddle Dee and spam melee attacks while you simply try to wrangle Kirby’s movements and keep him alive.

Playing Kirby and the Rainbow Curse was a tedious experience from beginning to end, and it lacks the "time and place" factor of Canvas Curse. If Nintendo was more open to bringing its properties to mobile and tablets, I could see the game being more appealing as a cheap eShop or iPad title. As a full-fledged $40 Wii U title, however, it only feels like a disappointment.

177 Comments

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bboymaestro

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MethodMan008

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hassun

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hassun • 

Soulless Kirby is the saddest Kirby.

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Jb

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Jb • 

Well that's disappointing to hear :(

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johncallahan

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Well shit. That just put a damper on my week. I was really looking forward to this one. I mean, look at that art! and with Canvas Curse on my mind, how could I not be!? :(

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Solh0und

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Edited By Solh0und • 

Dang. I expected as much seeing that I hardly remember anyone I knew remember canvas curse.

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thelastgunslinger

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RavioliSumo

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Having never played Canvas Curse at all will I have fun with this? I'm looking for a cute and relaxing time.

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recroulette

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No Caption Provided

That's too bad, was hoping this would be good.

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JJOR64

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JJOR64 • 

By skimming at other reviews, this seems like a Love It or Hate It kind of game. I'm still looking forward to it on Friday.

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Lando81

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Lando81 • 

Canvas Curse aged horribly so this isn't a surprise.

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goldsmo

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goldsmo • 

Bummer I was lookng forward to this.

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TheOriginalHush

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Wow, it must be awful if even Dan doesn't like this game. What a shame, I really loved canvas curse too.

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Corevi

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Corevi • 

So how is this worse than Captain Toad? They seem to have the exact same problems yet Toad got a 4 and tons of adoration while this gets a 2.

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L1GHTN1N

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L1GHTN1N • 

I'm going to look at some other reviews and watch some video first, but that's a huge disappointment. Canvas Curse was one of the best games on DS, Kirby is one of my favorite Nintendo characters, and this was the first game in a while I was excited about, enough to be planning on getting day 1. Still holding out hope though.

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fargofallout

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Edited By fargofallout • 

Woah, didn't expect that score...but I didn't know what to expect because I know so little about this game other than it looks nice and I assumed you'd have to stare at the gamepad the whole time you played it. Too bad.

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MancombSeepgood

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That's a bummer, I was looking forward to this since Canvas Curse was so great. I'd like to see a quick look just to see it in motion, just to see how empty these levels are.

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GrantDaNasty

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Siman_Shinsafe

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emthebrave

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leejunfan83

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johncallahan

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@corevi said:

So how is this worse than Captain Toad? They seem to have the exact same problems yet Toad got a 4 and tons of adoration while this gets a 2.

Captain Toad got three stars and Dan had plenty of reservations about it.

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Karthas

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Edited By Karthas • 

@danryckert , I'm only disappointed you didn't use a screen grab with 2 star-blocks in it as the header image. Major missed opportunity. -5 points. 95/100

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Sergio

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Edited By Sergio • 

People disappointed by the review score and deciding not to get it, look at other review scores out there. These are opinions. Dan is entitled to his, but his tastes may differ from yours. (Seriously, he likes wrestling and dislikes plays, and is a very picky eater.) I haven't read enough of Dan's reviews, so I don't know if his game tastes align with my own, so I'd look elsewhere for Kirby reviews to see if there's a trend.

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AMyggen

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AMyggen • 

Not a big surprise, really.

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Stealth____

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I love you dan "If Nintendo was more open to bringing its properties to mobile and tablets, I could see the game being more appealing as a cheap eShop or iPad title. As a full-fledged $40 Wii U title, however, it only feels like a disappointment." I think this is unfair.

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ArtisanBreads

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Some mixed reviews for this. Interested to see how it goes.

Sounds boring to me.

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Chicken008

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Chicken008 • 

Hmm, hopefully they make a traditional style Kirby game sometime soon.

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coaxmetal

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coaxmetal • 

looks like some other reviewers quite liked it, so if this was on your radar I wouldn't write it off entirely just based on Dan's review, unless you know your tastes align closely with his.

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Counterclockwork87

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Not suprising considering Nintendo hasn't advertised this game AT ALL. They just dumped it out, which gave me the feeling it wasn't going to be great.

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MissAshley

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MissAshley • 

But, but Kirby, though. ;_;

I didn't plan on picking this up on release anyway, but this is still disappointing to hear because my Nintendo interests seem to align with Dan's.

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Dan_CiTi

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Dan_CiTi • 

Ouch, sounds like the original Kirby Touch but drastically less well-made or difficult, which is a huge bummer.

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Nals

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Nals • 

@corevi said:

So how is this worse than Captain Toad? They seem to have the exact same problems yet Toad got a 4 and tons of adoration while this gets a 2.

His main complaints don't seem to be the repetition, but the control. According to this review and others, Rainbow Curse's main flaw is that he stylus doesn't offer the control needed to play the game, and you can't look at the best part of the game ( the graphics ) while playing it due to such poor controls.

Kirby as a series has always thrived on accurate controls and it's graphics. Taking both of them out of the equation for a gimmick that doesn't offer anything seems like a good reason to claim it's not quite what anybody wanted it to be. Dan even said, playing as the Waddle Dee's make the game significantly more fun.

Toad was flawed in that it was repetitive/short, and not quite worth the asking price, but with the caveat being it would be great on sale/if you really loved those sections. That's a completely different setup, so it gives it a different score.

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Lando81

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Lando81 • 

@corevi: if you read the review he tells you his exact problems with this new Kirby game.

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bemusedchunk

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Jeff is now spreading to Dan...embrace it Dan!

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AMyggen

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AMyggen • 

I love you dan "If Nintendo was more open to bringing its properties to mobile and tablets, I could see the game being more appealing as a cheap eShop or iPad title. As a full-fledged $40 Wii U title, however, it only feels like a disappointment." I think this is unfair.

Well, he's talking about this being a mainly touch based game that he thinks isn't worth the asking price, so it would be more fitting as a cheaper iOS game or something like that. It's not suggesting that Nintendo should go third party or anything, just commenting on what kind of game it is and why it (in his opinion) fails at that.

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ShaunK

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ShaunK • 

Damn, that sounds pretty disappointing. When this game was announced I was really excited because Canvas Curse is still a good game that you can go back to. It just seems like the flaws with that game were made worse in this one. It also seems like there is a lack of content here. Good review, Dan.

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Lausebub

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Lausebub • 

Curious what Jeff and Alex think of it.

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tenaciousdave

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Kirby eats because he has no soul. He gorges to fill the void inside his soft, pink body. Woe is Kirby who, in eating endlessly, only finds ever more frightening depths to his secret inner nihilism.

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gravytrain

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gravytrain • 

Wow only 21 levels? Why would I buy this over Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze which has 7 worlds, some of which have up to 12 levels with more challenging gameplay? I loved Canvas Curse, so this is an interesting review for sure.

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Snail

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Edited By Snail • 

NO DAN I WONT ACCEPT THIS

IT CANT BE

LALALALALALAALLAAL I CANT HEEEAAARR YOUUUUUUUUUUU

Seriously though, whatever it is, it's Kirby in clay and it's adorable and I'll buy it just to look at it, so.

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AcidBrandon18

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I'm worried for Dan's life now. Those Nintendo fans are crazy. 8.8 Never forget.

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Schlorgan

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Y2Ken

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Y2Ken • 

That's a little sad to hear, but I didn't ever get around to Kirby's Epic Yarn and that game seems fantastic so maybe I'll go play that instead.

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newmoneytrash

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THE_RUCKUS

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THE_RUCKUS • 

not surprised Nintendo is very hit and miss these days more miss in my opinion with wii u

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Zippedbinders

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Kinda shocking since Destructoid gave it a 9, Jonathan Holmes even. EGM and Polygon also gave it a good review. While I'm inclined to believe Dan didn't have a great time with the game, plenty of other people might. Its really hard to say no to Kirby.

@chicken008 Kirby Triple Deluxe came out on 3DS last year.

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csl316

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csl316 • 

Aww, man... but my Kirby amiibo! It's my only one!

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Lukeweizer

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Edited By Lukeweizer • 

This just makes me want to play Epic Yarn.

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L33T_HAXOR

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Edited By L33T_HAXOR • 

Awwww man

EDIT: I believe Dan if he says this isn't fun to play, but BOY does this game look good.