Review: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Nintendo Wii U)

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse: Official GBAtemp Review

Nintendo Wii U 3,487 views 6 likes 21 comments
Reviewed by Tom Bond, posted Feb 28, 2015
Feb 28, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): February 20, 2015
  • Release Date (JP): January 22, 2015
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Genres: Platformer
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is Nintendo's newest iteration of the Kirby series. Featuring touch controls and a clay-mation art style, it acts as a follow-up title to the Nintendo DS title Kirby: Canvas Curse.
Tom Bond

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Don't judge a book by it's cover. 

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I'd like to start out on a positive note, because I know by the end it'll seem like I'm the prime example of a Negative Nancy. This game's clay art style is gorgeous to a point. I really enjoyed the visuals of each level, the nice clay design of the returning Kirby enemies, Kirby's vehicle transformations and everything in between. Unfortunately, there's a rather large drawback. 

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is practically a game pad exclusive  game; the entire control scheme is touch based, there are no other control options available. As such, you are required to play the entirety of the game while staring at the 480p gamepad screen, effectively taking what should be a "next generation" game that could have been enjoyed at it's 1080p glory and turning it into a disappointing last gen experience. Simply put, this game shouldn't have been a Wii U game. The best way I can compile my complaints in a single statement would be this: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse should not have been a Wii U game, period. The touch-only controls and the forced gamepad gameplay would have felt right at home with a 3DS title, and as such the game feels completely underwhelming and awkward as a console game. 

There are a few things I must mention here as well that I can't vouch for, such as the multiplayer options or the Amiibo support, but I'll do my best to sum these up. Multiplayer mode supports up to 4 players who go through the game in local co-op, the gamepad player controlling Kirby and 3 Wiimote players who control Waddle Dees with weapons. The Amiibo support is rather limited, supporting only Meta Knight, who increases your dash speed and gives Kirby a Meta Knight mask to wear, the Kirby Amiibo that allows Kirby to use the super charge ability without collecting 100 stars, and the King Dedede Amiibo, offering Kirby increased health. These Amiibo power ups can only be used once a day, and on only one stage. 

But at least it's fun, right? 

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Nope, not unless you're a part of the younger audience Nintendo has been consistently targeting with their recent games. The game itself was very easy and offered little in terms of difficulty, exploration, and even satisfaction in finishing a level. As with typical Kirby games, you're tasked with going through platformer-style levels while avoiding enemies and collecting stars that activate a super charge ability that allows Kirby to bash through metal blocks and large enemies. You'll find plenty of collectibles in each level, including treasure chests that contain figurines and occasionally unlockable music, puzzle pieces that will in turn unlock chests, and of course a Kirby game wouldn't be a Kirby game without various foods! Unfortunately, these collectibles are overwhelmingly easy to obtain and offer little in terms of substance to the game. 

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse also offers challenge levels, both that appear during each level and that are available in the main menu of the game. These challenge levels are, unfortunately, rather difficult to complete. Not because they're inherently hard or challenging as they should be, but because the imprecise nature of the controls turns simple "jump over the bumper!" obstacles into "Draw a line over the bumper, but oh if you don't angle the line correctly you're going to mess up and have to start over! Ha! Fun!". It appears each challenge room is simply a "complete the stage in 15 seconds", which after a while becomes repetitive and frustrating.

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Speaking of repetitive, oh dear the boss battles. I'll have to admit, I haven't played too many Kirby games so at first I was simply appalled that the game rehashed boss battles. Chapter 1-3 had some standard Kirby bosses; Whispy, the trademark tree boss, the "Claykken", a kraken-styled boss that attacks with tentacles, and "Hooplagoon", a strange circular boss that shoots lasers and electric fields. All in all, the bosses were fairly easy, standard and offered no real difficulty. Chapter 4-6 also had some pretty standard Kirby bosses as well;  Whispy, the trademark tree boss, the "Claykken", a kraken-styled boss that attacks with tentacles, and "Hooplagoon", a strange circular boss that shoots lasers and electric fields. Well gosh, that all sounds familiar doesn't it?

 

At least it's not all the same gameplay.

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One thing I can say about Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is the gameplay is at least kind of varied sometimes. Without the old style classic Kirby Copy ability, Nintendo needed to think up of some new mechanics that go along with the touch gameplay. They borrowed a few of these mechanics from earlier Kirby games, such as Kirby vehicle transformations, and (as far as I know anyways, as I mentioned earlier I'm not too familiar with Kirby games) some new ones, such as a basket-scrolling levels that follow tracks, requiring you to draw new tracks to avoid enemies and acquire chests and stars.

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The game isn't all bad. The first few chapters are...nice enough I guess, and the tank vehicle sequences are my absolute favorite part of the game, even if that only took up 3-4 minutes of the 6 hours of gameplay. Oh yeah, did I mention this game took me 6 hours to beat? Yeah, that's not very long. Granted, this is simply going through the story mode and trying out 4 or 5 of the optional challenges, but regardless that's still a pretty bad deal for $40 in my opinion. If this were a 3DS game, I might have forgiven some of it's glaring issues. If it were a 3DS game, the touch controls might have even been a plus instead of a minus. Hell, the game even feels like it was supposed to be a 3DS game in the first place, so why isn't it? I guess that's up to Nintendo to answer. 

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Verdict
Pros
+ Gorgeous art style.
+ Gameplay was varied enough, and tank levels were awesome.
Cons
- The game was short, easy and simple.
- Bosses were lazily rehashed for half of the game.
- Controls were way too imprecise.
- Gamepad focused gameplay retracts from the overall visual aspect of the game, instead of getting a great looking 1080p experience you're getting a shoddy 480p one.
- Nintendo accidentally made a Wii U game out of a 3DS one.
6 Presentation
At a glance, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse appears to be a nice enough game from the start. After a few levels, however, you start to realize the game feels as if the developers only haphazardly threw something together at Nintendo's request.
3 Gameplay
As nice as the gameplay would be in general, the controls absolutely ruin it for me. The only reason I decided to even give this part a 3 is because the Tank sequences were absolutely awesome and the 5 minutes they took up made the game at least tolerable for a while.
2 Lasting Appeal
The story mode offers little in the way of lasting appeal. While there are collectibles and treasure chests in each stage you come across, they're so easily acquired you probably won't need to go back and play through the levels to get them all. There's also a challenge mode available in the main menu, but that offers little in lasting gameplay, and at most will add another hour or so to the 6 hour story.
4
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Overall, I cannot stress enough not to buy this game at $40 for the Wii U, unless you're ok with what is basically a portable game being packaged as a full console experience. If Nintendo re-releases this game for the 3DS for $20, go for it. If you see it in a bargain bin for $5, go for it. But whatever you do, don't spend more than that.
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