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Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush Review

The wonderful pink ball of whatever he is returns in Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, another showcase of what the WiiU and its GamePad can do. In Dream Land it is business as usual, the inhabitants enjoying themselves until a portal appears in the sky, draining all of the colour from Kirby’s home world. Just as all seems lost a strange being appears form the portal, a magical paintbrush called Elline, who returns colour to Kirby and his friends and leads the charge to take on the evil power behind this colour draining scheme.

Like most of the Kirby games, this is a 2D platform action game, with Hal Laboratory using their 20 odd years of experience to create a wonderful game that is perfect for the WiiU. Rather than just an all-out jump and run style platform game Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush has a very different mechanic; playing very similar to its Nintendo DS predecessor, Kirby Canvas Curse. Here, rather than taking direct control of Kirby the player acts as Elline, using the stylus on the GamePad to draw rainbow bridges for Kirby to traverse, the pink ball for most of the time just casually rolling in one direction. It is with the skilful brushstrokes that Elline and Kirby will win the day, travelling across a beautiful selection of worlds, battling a huge assortment of enemies whilst traversing dangerous terrain, avoiding pitfalls whilst also on the hunt for special treasure to add to your collection. It is not just about building bridges for Kirby as Elline is also able to interact directly with Kirby, with an assortment of taps and presses unleashing some of his own powers, like a quick dash to take on enemies head on or a longer press to transform him into an indestructible wrecking ball, charging though the levels and crushing most in his path. With this very simple game mechanic Hal Laboratories have managed to create a wonderfully flowing game, with each level throwing new challenge at you and never feeling like they are reusing old ideas, which in turn adds a real spike in difficulty early on; there will be lots of failed attempts but it is rewarding when you figure out some of the latter levels and there are also plenty of extra lives to collect.

I will address the visuals at this point as if you have seen any screenshots or videos you will know this game is going to be a treat to look at and seeing it in action does not disappoint as there is no denying just how amazing the game looks, feeling like the life’s work of Aardman Animations in digital form, every character and piece of the environment looks like it has been sculpted from hand and painstakingly photographed to produce a moving image, it really is beautiful and never gets boring however, and this is Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrushes biggest flaw, due to the intricate commands required in creating rainbows for Kirby to travel across your focus is 100% on the screen in your hands rather than on the bigger TV screen, which does make you think why on the WiiU? other than better visuals. This becomes clear though if you grab some friends or family round as just like many WiiU and Wii platform games over the past few years, it is in the multiplayer modes which adds another dimension to the experience and changes this from an enjoyable single player game to a must have multiplayer game.

With the main player still on Elline duties, up to three other players are able to join in as Waddle Dee by using a Wii Mote or alternative control pad, a small helper armed with a spear and a rather handy floating jump. Waddle Dee is played more like a classic platform game, running and jumping around the screen, using his spear to take on enemies and also being able to pick up Kirby and throw him to otherwise inaccessible areas. The teamwork required between the players really adds a fun new element to the game and offers many great gaming moments and even a few new instances that the single player mode would not have offered.

With a solid selection of levels and of course bosses to take on, the game will last around 8 hours if you are just hammering away at the story, offering lots more if you scratch away (literally) at the many secrets hidden away, however replay-value in single player is sadly not a strong point, the hunt for secrets is a little linear and tiresome, with the prizes of fully realised clay models to view and some soundtracks to listen to a bit of a disappointment, but as mentioned earlier, though the prize is a little weak, trying to get to 100% with friends either in the main game or the many challenge modes is a lot more fun.

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush (Rainbow Curse in other regions) is yet another wonderful platform game for the WiiU that manages to utilise all that is unique about Nintendo’s console and at such a surprising budget price is a game worthy of your collection.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: Wii U)


+ So much fun in multiplayer
+ The clay visuals are amazing


- Single player is focused on the GamePad screen

Edited On 12 May, 2015

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