Kirby: Kanvas Curse
One of Nintendo DS's best titles? Let's find out, as we have fun repeatedly flicking a small, round, pink thing.
Much to Kikizo's pleasant surprise, Nintendo DS has turned out to be a great success. A fantastic E3 showing and an abundance of quality titles already released have us convinced that the handheld is just as fresh and fun to use as Nintendo hyped it up to be. The future for DS looks golden, but the real meat of its titles is already here. Kirby: Canvas Curse (aka Kirby: Power Paintbrush for the UK market) is a surprise hit - it's fun, original and yet simple enough for anyone to pick up and play. Where the DS is concerned, this is just what the doctor ordered.
Kirby: Canvas Curse is a platformer requiring only the stylus to play. Horifically, thanks to the Canvas Curse, Kirby has lost the use of his legs, which means you're going to have to slash, tap and scratch your way through levels that aren't totally unfamiliar from Sonic the Hedgehog style 'courses.' Unlike the arcade-like experience of Yoshi Touch & Go, Canvas Curse is a much more complete platforming experience, with all the length, bosses and mini games you would expect from something in the genre.
In his new spherical form, Kirby rolls along the environments as a normal ball would, and things only start to take off when the player starts interacting with the world using the wonders of touch screen technology. A simple tap on Kirby will cause him to dash - useful for speeding up hills or smashing into enemies. However, the real fun part about controlling Kirby is in the 'rainbow roads', which you can paint anywhere on-screen using the stylus. If Kirby rolls onto one of your painted lines, he will follow it along wherever it guides him. You can also protect Kirby from harm by drawing vertical lines which act as walls, preventing him from falling off of ledges or even blocking enemy projectiles.
The game is divided up into 'worlds' in typical platformer fashion, each of the many obviously themed worlds are segmented into three different levels. The levels are inhabited by all the familiar enemies which inhabited previous Kirby games, you can defeat the cute little nasties by dashing into them or stunning them with a tap from the stylus and simply letting Kirby run into them. The occasional enemy warrants special powers that Kirby can posses, again - as you would expect from previous Kirby games. The tyre enemy will let Kirby speed around, the electric enemy will let Kirby fire electricity, the brick enemy will let Kirby turn into a brick, and so on.
At the end of each world you're presented with a choice of three boss battles, which are more like touch-screen mini-games than the type of boss fight you'd expect. Each of these boss battles are unique and will unlock various new games modes when you've played them for a certain amount of time, one of the boss battles challenges you to draw various items from the Kirby universe before the time runs out, whilst another boss battle is an on-rails racing mode where you must guide Kirby into power-ups to increase his speed. Each of these boss mini-games increases in difficulty when you next encounter them after successful completion.
Also at the end of each level you're challenged with a fun little mini-game, typical of HAL Labs' game design. You must dash along a stretch of track and then up a ramp, using the stylus to draw a final line to help you travel as far as possible across the course. You will be rewarded in stars (the game's collectable item) for the distance you travelled, and for breaking your top record.
There's a whole lot more to Kirby: Canvas Curse than I've mentioned - a whole wealth of replay value to be discovered. Hidden in each level is a coin which you can use to purchase extras such as music tracks and new moves for Kirby. The game also sports a few interesting game modes to hold your attention, Time Trail expectedly challenges you to race to the end of a level without the use of a map, whilst Line Trial is even more tricky, setting you the same challenge with only a set amount of paint fluid.
Kirby: Canvas Curse is one of the many unique games on DS which truly could not work without the touch screen technology. Anyone can find child-like enjoyment from simply sketching on the touch screen, whilst the accessible nature of the games design helps Canvas Curse's pick-up-and-play appeal.
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Kirby Canvas Curse
Gameplay footage (Nintendo)
|0.47m||8MB||DF, SD, 30