Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush - Wii U

Release Date:

08 May 2015

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.


Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush will see players take on the role of Kirby as he sets off on grand adventures in a hand-sculpted clay world. Draw lines on the touch screen of the Wii U GamePad controller to create rainbow-colored clay ropes to move Kirby around freely, or tap him to attack enemies or blast through obstacles. Transformations include a submarine, rocket and tank. In underwater levels, Kirby dons a swim mask. If his power level gets too low, a clay bandage appears on his head.

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Wii U


Kirby is probably one of the most recognizable video game characters in the realm of video games. His pink plushy body, high pitched voice, and ability to suck up foes has become something of an icon in a world so dominated by muscular men and women. Perhaps that is why Kirby appeals to us so much. Either way, Kirby is back in his latest title on the Wii U - Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush. This title, developed by Nintendo, serves as a follow up to 2005's cult hit The Canvas Curse for the Nintendo DS. Rainbow Paintbrush seeks to take that same touch and go concept and push it to new depths utilizing the Wii U's incredible power and diverse gameplay elements. Let's dive straight in and see if this is the right purchase for you!

Pop Star is in trouble and Kirby is the only one who can help - this is the essential opening to every Kirby game that has ever mattered. An evil witch with powers beyond compare has stolen, and we mean this literally, all of the color in the world so that she can use it in the fleshing out of her own clay based universe. Kirby has to follow this witch, save the rainbow, and bring color back to his own world. You'll have to use your strategic skills to get from point a to point b as well as rely on your stylus to help you save the day. The game is much more interesting than the synopsis might let on so let's dive straight in and see what it is all about.

Our first impression, upon loading the game, was that the Rainbow Paintbrush is a fundamentally beautiful experience. We are used to Nintendo titles belting out colorful classics, with games like Mario and Donkey Kong, but the developers have gone all in with their development of Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush. All of the trademark colors are there and the imagery is profoundly Nintendo even if you had no idea what franchise this was a part of. To push things further, in the realm of technical prowess, the game takes place in a world of clay-mation. This vibrant and beautiful clay artwork makes Rainbow Paintbrush a truly unique game. Every single character, item, environment, and menu item looks like something ripped straight from a clay based art museum. Much like the crew did with Paper Mario, Rainbow Paintbrush has an art aesthetic that sets it apart from any game in recent memory - on any console.

So if you are at all familiar with The Canvas Curse then you know how to play this game. At a basic level you have to control Kirby with your stylus, mapping out his movements on your screen using rainbow lines to scoot him along. This stays the same with Rainbow Paintbrush. Rather than making things more difficult, the crew at Nintendo decided to scale down what you will be dealing with during your game. You don't have to worry about activating switches and you can't mimic abilities anymore. This may sound like things are easier, but they aren't. You have to be more focused than ever in order to navigate around traps and enemies. This is a fresh twist on the style so perfected by the 2005 entry into the series.

Kirby doesn't just face restrictions in this new game, there are some new additions as well. Kirby has a new maneuver: the dash attack. This special dash attack is activated whenever you make your way to 100 collected stars. Stock up the stars that you earn in order to bankroll these moves and unleash them at the right moments. You also have several new transformations available: the tank, sub, and rocket ship. Each transformation will change how Kirby moves in the level. They become particularly useful when you reach certain mid level sections of the game.

Boss battles are back and rage harder than ever. Rainbow Paintbrush features real actual battles instead of mini games like in the first title. Unlike certain parts of the first game, we found these end level encounters to occasionally be quite infuriating: bosses are tough again and that is a welcome change, no matter how frustrating it can get. Anyway, Rainbow Paintbrush isn't about the fighting and Kirby never has been. The soul of Kirby games relies upon replayability.

Like every Kirby game you've ever played, there is more to do than just finish the primary campaign - especially with such a beautiful game as Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush. You can play through levels several times in order to find hidden clay figurines, unlockable music tracks, and special animated diary pages. These hidden collectables are fleshed out enough to actually be worth going through the trouble to collect. They aren't gimmicky and placed just to keep you playing the game.

Outside of simple secret item collecting you can also dig into the challenge mode. Playing the challenge mode in Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush opens up a whole new selection of tough mini games. These mini games are played with instinct in mind as you won't have time to think out your moves. If you collect Amiibo figures then you can also use them to enhance your gameplay experience. Add the right Kirby figure and add some perks to your adventure - extra speed or bonus health. They are basically little cheats, so don't feel bad if you don't collect the figures.

If we had to pick something that frustrated us we would point out how reliant the game is on your handheld Gamepad. With the adventure needing your complete attention, your eyes will almost always be down toward your lap and on a small screen. For those of us who spent big money on a gaming rig, this isn't exactly ideal. Incidentally your view will be limited to one that does not showcase the glory of the HD visuals. Still, that is a small complaint and any Wii U owner should add the title to their library.

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