If you’re a Nintendo fan, and particularly a fan of the DS, the chances are you might have played Kirby: Canvas Curse at some point in the last ten years. It’s a fun game and the only surprise is that it’s taken almost a decade for a sequel of sorts to be released but here it is on the Wii U, and it’s called Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush.
Kirby is indirectly controlled by drawing on the Gamepad with the stylus- you draw rainbow lines on the touchscreen to guide Kirby over and around obstacles. If you’re inordinately old like I am, it might remind you a bit of Rainbow Islands, but if you’re 8 like the boy is, it won’t remind you of anything and you can just enjoy it for what it is.
Once again a Nintendo game shows the way when it comes to visuals. Worlds don’t have to be be gritty, realistic or brown like they are in the majority of first person shooters to look wonderful and Kirby is yet another example of this. The graphics ape the claymation style of Wallace & Gromit, right down to the textured fingerprints in the objects. Like so many Nintendo games, the visuals are an obvious labour of complete love and they’re a joy to behold. That characters can be so small yet have so much detail and character is also a testament to the designers.
Of course a game can’t live on looks alone for very long and it all comes down to the gameplay at some point. Fortunately there is a solid core of gameplay carried over from the DS original, that’s been tweaked pretty comprehensively for today’s gamer. In some ways it’s easier as you can’t interfere with stuff via the stylus and it other ways it’s harder as you can’t interfere with stuff with the stylus- controls are more straight forward but some lateral thinking is required.
Perhaps the only downside we came across in extensive play, is the same one that concerned me back at the preview event I attended last year- you really need both eyes firmly rooted on the touchscreen to get the most out of it, unless your hand to eye coordination is far superior to mine. Because you have to draw lines under Kirby with the stylus, you can’t see where abouts it’s positioned by looking at the telly. And a large part of you will want to look at the telly as it’s such a beautiful game. What this does in make it the utterly perfect Gamepad only game, one that lets you watch the telly while the kids do some serious gaming that’s not compromised by the screen. It’s not the best way to play any game ideally, and with a group of people shouting advice to the person armed with the gamepad, the telly is a great asset, but primarily this is a gamepad game. I can’t wait for a 3DS version, it has the potential to be even better with a purer multiplayer option but as far as it goes, the Wii U version is enormous fun to play in it’s own right.
Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is out now and is another great addition to the Nintendo Wii U line up.