[Slipping in one last game before the new year!] It's been a few years since I'd played a Kirby game, and as I'd really enjoyed its predecessor, Kirby: Canvas Curse, I was looking forward to seeing how that game's concepts would have evolved in its Wii U follow-up, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.

The short answer, unfortunately, is, not much. The game uses the same mechanics of drawing paths to guide a ball-shaped Kirby with very little in the way of surprises. The clay aesthetics are nice, but underused and don't influence the game's mechanics much at all. An obvious problem with the game is that relying on the touchscreen of the Wii U's GamePad means that the player doesn't get a chance to see the game on the big screen, which seems like a big waste and a bad game choice: the game would've been a much more natural fit on the 3DS. As with most games of this type, getting through the stages doesn't take a ton of effort, but tracking down all the hidden collectibles is usually worthwhile. There are too many timed challenges embedded in the regular stages, though, which means if you fail at them you'll have to redo the level again, which is annoying.

The developers further padded the game by adding in a ton of 15-second challenges, most often presented in a series of 4 and a few as a tedious series of 12. The challenges are an okay diversion, but having it make up the other half of the game just makes the whole package feel like it was rushed and not up to HAL Laboratory's usual standards. Near the end of the game there are some glimmers of more originality, but aside from the addition of multiplayer, there really wasn't much that kept my attention with this release. I keep meaning to catch up on the Kirby games more, so I guess we'll see if any of the more-traditional games in the series offer any more surprises than this one.

Drawn out Kirby and the Rainbow Curse links:
- Official site
-
Original E3 announcement trailer
- Entry at kirby.wikia.com
- Entry at NintendoLife
- Thread at GameFAQs of people comparing Rainbow Curse to Canvas Canvas

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