Because he’s a piece of bubblegum who’s achieved sentience, Kirby is an abomination against God and nature. But as abominations go, he can sometimes be a lot of fun. At least that’s the case with Kirby And The Rainbow Curse for the WiiU, an addictive and challenging physics-based platforming puzzle game
A sequel to the 2005 DS game Kirby: Canvas Curse, Kirby And The Rainbow Curse has you helping the squishy little guy get from point A to point B by using the stylus to draw ropes on the WiiU’s GamePad that Kirby moves along. Though there’s a limit to how much rope you can use at any one time, since there’s a meter that keeps you from going all willy-nilly with it, while the ropes systematically disintegrate over time (though you can have as many ropes as you like, time and the rope meter permitting, of course).
You also get Kirby going by tapping him on the noggin, which causes him to move much faster, and thus jump much further. It can also make him do a quick spinning move that can weaken and ultimately destroy obstacles, as well as take out small enemies. And for every hundred stars you collect, you can hold the stylus down on Kirby and make him grow three times larger, stronger, and faster, which can help you take out previously unbreakable objects blocking your way.
The rope in Kirby And The Rainbow Curse has some other uses as well. It can block things, such as the water from a waterfall that’s in Kirby’s way. The rope can also clear out certain sections of clay, revealing new pathways or even secret areas (though the clay does grow back after a while). Though, on the flipside, there are negative zones where no rope can be drawn.
As you might expect from any game by Nintendo, there’s a lot more to every level in Kirby And The Rainbow Curse than you might see the first time through. While there are linear passages, there are also levels with multiple pathways and open areas to explore. Which is why, half the time, I let Kirby go with the flow, just to see where he’d end up (though also why, one time, I unknowingly let him fall to his death).
Of course, getting around is only about two-thirds of the challenge in Kirby And The Rainbow Curse. There are a number of little creatures trying to burst your bubble, as well as some environmental hazards, all of which can whittle away at your health until you’re dead. Or deflated, as the case may be.
While Kirby And The Rainbow Curse is inventive and fun, it’s also visually striking, as it employs a claymation style that, if you didn’t know better, you’d swear was being done in real-time by real people with real clay. Really. (Though it’s decidedly more Gumby-esque and not as polished as a Wallace & Grommit cartoon.) And while the visuals obviously don’t have any impact on the way the game plays, and thus how much fun this is, it’s still a sight to behold.
Which makes it a bit of a bummer that you can’t really play Kirby And The Rainbow Curse on your TV. Well, technically you can, but because the main controls are the GamePad’s touchscreen and stylus, you spend all your time looking at the GamePad and not your TV. It is nearly impossible to play this while looking at the TV. Which isn’t terrible, it still looks good on the GamePad’s screen, and it doesn’t take away from the game’s fun factor, but given how unique the graphics are, it’s still too bad you can’t see them all big and beautiful.
Though having said that, it’s obvious, even without having tried it, that playing Kirby And The Rainbow Curse by pointing a Wiimote at your TV would’ve gotten tiresome very quickly. I also wouldn’t recommend playing this on the GamePad while you watch something else on your TV, since you’ll need all your attention to figure out the later stages, which is when things get really complicated. Not to mention the fact that the speakers on the GamePad aren’t very good. But I digress.
Sadly, not being able to play Kirby And The Rainbow Curse on your TV isn’t this game’s biggest problem (especially since it’s more of a bummer than a problem, anyway). For starters, you can’t turn the music off, or even down. And while the soundtrack does have a bouncy, upbeat vibe that perfectly matches the mood of the game — albeit one that embraces a number of different styles — it can sometimes overwhelm the sound effects, and can be rather redundant, especially if you take your sweet time finishing a level.
Things also get far less interesting whenever Kirby takes on a shape that isn’t bubblegum-esque. Though these bits can be fun, they’re usually far more simplistic and thus less challenging than the regular levels. Suffice it to say that after playing with Kirby in his tank form, you’ll understand why Nintendo should never make a game called Call Of Kirby.
Kirby And The Rainbow Curse is also not that long. Certainly not as long as many puzzle games. Or most platformers. Or previous Kirby games. That said, it does have a Challenge mode, where you have to figure out small but complicated room, often before time runs out, while you can always replay the expansive, non-linear levels to visit different areas than you did before.
Or you could just put it aside for a year and play it again with a fresh perspective. Nobody says “repayable” has to mean “right this minute.”
Ultimately, while it’s not without its flaws (and its bummers), Kirby And The Rainbow Curse is still as engrossing and challenging as it is adorable (and thought provoking; before getting through the first world I was already thinking how cool it would be to have a Kirby claymation pinball game, a South Park claymation video game, a Gumby game, Kirby as my pillow…). Which is more than most abominations against God and nature can say.