Kirby: Canvas Curse, known in Europe as Kirby: Power Paintbrush, is an extremely innovative game for the Nintendo DS. Kirby makes a triumphant return to the platforming genre with a game that’s sure to knock your socks off. However, while Canvas Curse is a platformer, it does not play like traditional Kirby games; it only uses the stylus.
One day in dream land a strange portal appears in the sky, and out of it pops an ugly old witch called Drawcia. Drawcia casts a spell over Dream Land, turning it into a world of paint. Upon fleeing back into the portal she came through, Kirby being the gallant guy he is, gives chase, eventually finding himself in Drawcia’s also paint-themed world. The witch then proceeds to chop off all Kirby’s limbs, leaving him as a ball. After Drawcia escapes, the Magical Paintbrush turns to the player to help Kirby. The player and Kirby set off to find and destroy Drawcia to restore Dream Land to its normal happy state.
The greatest thing about Canvas Curse would have to be the control scheme. Kirby, being the limbless ball he is, just rolls along with complete disregard for his own safety. The player, in control of the wondrous Power Paintbrush must draw rainbow lines on the bottom screen of the DS for Kirby to travel upon. Poking him gives him a bit of a nudge and drawing loop-de-loops gives him a turbo boost allowing him to kill enemies. You can use these lines to form ramps or bridges, but you have a limited amount of paint, and the lines you draw gradually disappear, faster if you’ve already started on the next one, so ration your paint carefully.
Canvas Curse is one of the most colourful games I’ve ever seen, not only are the Dream Land characters and backdrops crisp and colourful, but the lines you paint are rainbows. The entire game looks amazing on the small screen of the DS, all the edges and corners crisp and sharp. Kirby looks as good as he always has, but then again how hard is it to make a pink ball look good? The audio is equally as good, the music is fun and upbeat and fits the general game’s character, with great sound effects thrown on top.
There are eight wonderful worlds in Canvas Curse, with each one having 3 sub levels. Each of the worlds has it’s own theme, with a wide variety being used across the game, these can range from volcanic to sub-zero. At the end of nearly every world Kirby must face a boss, with classic boss characters returning like Cracker and DeDeDe these are great fun, with the exception for the final boss, all bosses are mini-game based.
Kirby’s power absorbing abilities return, defeating certain kinds of enemies by either dashing into them or touching them while stunned causes Kirby to gain one of several special abilities, which may be used at any time by tapping Kirby himself. This special ability replaces the dash. With a wide range of powers from the classics you remember from the SNES, to all new ones, you’ll be continually entertained.
There are collectible medals scattered throughout the game which once collected, can be used to buy extra features such as new playable characters, sound tests or alternate paint colours. There are a few ways to collect these medals and you wont get them all on your first play through. Outside of the main game, there are a few more options to choose from. Rainbow run lets you replay segments of levels you’ve passed in the main game with different challenges. Beating these is another way to earn your medals, and it also doubles the replay value.
The only downside to Canvas Curse is the complete exclusion of multiplayer from the game. Whilst it stands up great as a single player, I can’t help but think a race mode for the levels would of fitted the game perfectly. Kirby Canvas Curse is one of the best DS games out there, it doesn’t sacrifice gameplay for the control gimmicks, with the touch being implemented fantastically. If you’re looking to buy a DS game, give this one a look.
Crisp and colourful from start to finish
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I can find no fault with this, the game plays perfectly
Great upbeat music in every level
Fair few unlockables and no easy feat to collect all the medals
A great game, and a fresh new take on the Kirby universe