Kirby and the Rainbow Curse Review

It's adorable, charming, and totally Kirby except for the pesky controls. And gameplay. And Game Pad.So no, it's not that good.

When Kirby bounces on the ground in Rainbow Curse, the dirt molds to his frame. It's intended to be clay, and feels like clay as much as it looks like clay. In animated motion, you can make out the fingerprints which created each movement and background imperfection. That is, if you view Rainbow Curse on a TV.

Most of the time, you won't, or rather you cannot. Nintendo appears to be forcing the complex marketing issue of the Wii U's GamePad through gameplay, so much so that Rainbow Curse is forcibly locked to the small screen. With eyes down, those adorable aesthetic details are zapped. Somehow, through corporate jumbling and backroom criss-crossing, Kirby is left confused.

Kirby's Adventures in Controller-Throwing Land

While traditionally Nintendo's gameplay lab rat – shuffled into pinball, golf, puzzle games, platformers, and whatever else a pink roly poly fits into - Rainbow Curse has been dumped onto Wii U. 3DS owners gained the classy, traditionalist Triple Deluxe last year. Why these two games are platform reversed is a mystery.

Kirby is best used in interactive lullabies. The music is splendidly catchy, but hushed. Challenge is not appreciated. In fact, Kirby's best, the Wii's Epic Yarn, did not let the puffy critter have lives to be concerned with. He was invincible. When Kirby rolls in, it's to introduce a free day of adventuring, like a child's perspective of Saturday mornings - where anything is possible.

Rainbow Curse is more of an interactive scribble. It's disjointed and coarse. Time is not spent adventuring so much as it is hoping a permanently rolling Kirby follows the colored lines that have been sloppily sketched out on the Game Pad. The control methodology is unnecessarily strenuous, without a positive end. Rainbow Curse is less Kirby and more Nintendo selling their device's (so far) unseen necessity with limiting functionality.

Rainbow Curse is more of an interactive scribble.

Were Kirby to walk or float as he usually does – and there is no clue as to why he can't – then Rainbow Curse would not have a problem. Certainly the pink nub has cause to fight. Someone has stolen the color from Dream Land. There is no worse fate for Kirby's realm, often sprinkled with softened hues and hard contrasting primaries. Those hues still exist here, since the theft was successful. Kirby is on a march through enemy territory. Is it worth it? Probably not. Dream Land can exist in a regressive black & white horror rather than dealing with the inanity of the control systems presented.

What worked so inventively on the DS in Canvas Curse has become a strangulation to this curse on rainbows. Maybe this is an issue of scale; there is more to work with on Wii U, as opposed to the diminutive resolution of the DS. This becomes more to space manage, more space to maneuver around, and more space to create mistakes - none of which are a benefit.

More Than Meets the Rainbow

The highs, which concern Kirby's transforming ability in absurdly adorable tanks/planes/rockets, work. In fact, Rainbow Curse arguably should have only been these fascinating level diversions, where the focus is less on making Kirby precisely roll forward and more so on keeping him safe - defensively shooting from a tank turret, cutting off a waterfall stream, or shredding wet clay. The interaction is stronger and infinitely more rewarding.

... much of the time is spent arguing with Kirby, wishing he was cursed

Instead, much of the time is spent arguing with Kirby, wishing he was cursed. Maybe he is; that would explain a lot. It's all rather pointless, as if Kirby has become a stubborn cat who may understand the order given, but does not care to follow them out of hard-wired spite. The alluring clay canvas given to him, far better realized than Interplay's digitized obsession in the mid-90s (Clay Fighter, Claymates), is ultimately truncated.

What's left is a Kirby which disappointingly would have worked just as well with sprites, due to the Pad's comparatively pocket-sized screen. Rainbow Curse somewhat works in small spurts (again much like a portable edition would) to alleviate irritation, but this is only returning to the same maddening defects at the core of Kirby's unfortunate, rainbow-drizzled stumbling grounds.

Our Rating
It's adorable, charming, and totally Kirby except for the pesky controls. And gameplay. And Game Pad.So no, it's not that good.
Reviewed On: Wii U

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Freelance critic seen on Playboy, GameSkinny, and others. Passionate vintage game collector. Fervent physical media supporter and consumerism devotee.

Published Mar. 2nd 2015

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