Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kirby Canvas Curse (DS) Review

Welcome to Thursday here on SuperPhillip Central. This past Tuesday we took a look at Super Princess Peach, an early DS game. Here's an even earlier DS game that came out within the initial seven months of the DS. Known as Power Paintbrush in Europe, here's Kirby Canvas Curse.

A Brush With Destiny

Kirby seen a lot of action, but he's been mostly relegated to handhelds. His last full console adventure was Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards on the Nintendo 64. This trend of portable platformers remains true with Kirby's first DS outing, Kirby Canvas Curse. At the time of release, there was a huge drought of worthwhile DS game releases that stretched out for most of the first half of the DS' first year. It was until Canvas Curse came out that the proverbial ball really started rolling with new releases with Nintendogs, Advance Wars, Mario Kart DS, and a new Castlevania all coming out within the span of a few months. Kirby Canvas Curse remains one of the best uses of the DS touch screen and here's why.

Out of the frying pan,
into the volcano.

The world of Dream Land was once peaceful until an evil witch showed up, and started terrorizing the denizens with her mystical magic. Kirby himself was affected by the magic, being turned into a ball. Now with the player's help, drawing lines to move Kirby around, it's up to you and Kirby to save Dream Land from the wicked witch of Dream Land.

Kirby Canvas Curse is not your traditional platformer. There's still platforms to ride on, jumps to make, and baddies to bash, but it controls entirely with the touch screen. As a ball and by himself, Kirby is helpless. He needs you, the player, to draw lines for him to ride, tapping enemies to daze them for Kirby to attack, and tapping Kirby to perform a spin dash. Special enemies give Kirby new abilities which can by utilized by tapping Kirby with the stylus. There's fire, ice, beam, stone powers and more. Using these powers can give Kirby access to otherwise unreachable areas.

Balloon is just one of many powers
in Kirby Canvas Curse.

You only have a limited amount of ink to draw lines, so you can't draw willy-nilly at your leisure. Yes, the ink recovers after a certain amount of time, but you still have to be smart about your ink usage-- especially in later levels. You can draw loops for Kirby to gain speed upon, draw lines to block Kirby's progress, having him change directions, and make lines to shield Kirby from harmful bullets and lasers. This is important as Kirby can initially only take four hits before the player loses a life.

There's eight worlds in all to tackle. Seven of which have three levels each with the eighth only possessing one to conquer. The worlds aren't themed-- just the levels. You'll face off in red hot mountains, cool blue oceans, contraption-filled caverns, grassy plains, and much more. After the three levels in a world are completed, you're assigned to a choice of one of three boss battles. Eventually, each boss battle will have to played twice, but at the start you have a choice. These boss battles face you off in a game of arkanoid against a cloud, a race against the dastardly King Dedede, and a connect the dots mini-game. Unfortunately, the latter of these has horrible hand-recognition and are incredibly frustrating.

Use lines to dive Kirby underwater.

In almost every level there's three medals placed in precarious locations or hard-to-find areas. Collecting as many as possible earns Kirby the ability to purchase new goodies with them such as new-colored lines to draw with, more health, new mini-games, and even new playable characters.

Additionally, there's two bonus modes included in Canvas Curse. These award medals for completing them quickly and efficiently. The first is a time trial where the goal is to get to the end of the level as fast as possible. The second requires a bit more finesse as you have a limited amount of ink to use and only so many lines you can draw to get Kirby from point A to point B. These modes are very enjoyable and add some longevity to this already meaty game.

Visually, Kirby Canvas Curse is what'd you expect. It's mucho colorful and even utilizes multiple different graphical styles depending on what level you're in. The game runs smoothly without a drop in framerate and looks quite nice doing it. It's 2-D art at its finest... at least on the DS. The music features many classic Kirby tunes to listen and hum along to. There's nothing ground-shaking here, but it's pleasant enough.

It might be called Ghost Ground, but
there's nothing haunted about this place.

Overall, Kirby Canvas Curse still remains one of the best uses of the DS' touch screen even after all this time. I eagerly anticipate a sequel of some shape or form even though we've already seen three Kirby games on the DS already. Those looking for an innovative and intuitive platformer will feel right at home. Everyone else should definitely give this game a try. You might be surprised with how good it is.

[SuperPhillip Says: 9.0/10]

1 comment:

The Dread Pirate Guy said...

I'm still curious as to why NoA feels the need to make a cute character like Kirby "angry" in all of his box art, when it doesn't really reflect his personality anywhere else.

It's a rosy pink ball who rides on stars. I'm sorry, you can't make that "tough" no matter how much you arch the eyebrows downward.