Kirby: Canvas Curse (DS Review) by Leroy S.
Kirby: Canvas Curse
Developer: HAL Laboratory
System: Nintendo DS
Release: June 13, 2005
February 12, 2011, by Leroy S. - Kirby: Canvas Curse is the first entry of the illustrious Kirby series on the Nintendo DS platform. Released in 2005, the game is considered as the most radical departure from the usual Kirby formula. This time around, the pink puff has to save Dream Land from an evil sorceress named Drawcia, and restore its normal setting after its transformation into a giant painting. Kirby starts at a major disadvantage with his first encounter against Drawcia as she uses her power to change him into a ball, rendering him powerless.
This is where we, the players, come in. Drawcia's magic paintbrush is objecting to her actions and finds Kirby in hopes of ending her tyranny over the Dream Land folk. The game traverses through 6 main worlds, each split into 3 levels. There is also a special boss world, with only one level leading to the final fight.
The gameplay in this DS entry is much more robust than a few previous Kirby games on the Game Boy Advance due to the new controls in place due to Kirby's situation with his body being in a ball form. He still retains a few power-ups from previous entries like the beam, shock, among others. Being a platformer, the idea is to make it from point A to point B.
Because Kirby is unable to walk, it's up to the player to draw rainbow line paths for Kirby to roll on using the stylus, courtesy of the magic paintbrush. Lines are like escalators: whichever way they are drawn, Kirby will follow in that direction. If you make a loop within the line, Kirby will begin a dash. This is also done by tapping Kirby's body. This doubles as Kirby's basic attack as you can either charge at an enemy while dashing or tap them for a quick stun while Kirby harmlessly rolls into them. The level designs are pretty amazing as there are many different things within levels to help Kirby out: lanterns to light dark areas, elevator chutes to move quickly and switches that open different gates.
The paint world of Dream Land is beautifully made as colorful, vivid two-dimensional landscapes are showcased. From the green plains, to islands with beautiful sunsets and even the heights of space, it can be possible to get lost in the art-style during a session, something which caused a few fallouts on my own personal account. The audio is also amazing as you can hum along to the tracks playing while you move through each level. Most tracks are refreshed versions of past Kirby tunes, while others are fairly new.
The game has a ton of unlockables and extras to achieve. During normal gameplay, you'll be expected to collected hidden medals in order to unlock songs, new paint lines and new characters that are also in ball form. It also unlocks the sound test which allows you to listen to every track in the game. Finding the medals aren't easy, and players will be busy with medal collection long after you beat the game for the first time.
The only problems I faced with some difficulties with controls and a few insanely hard levels, especially the water levels. The game wouldn't really explain how to properly dive, but it is all explained in the manual. While not being too much of a bother, the game is still a solid buy. Go ahead and search through the bargain bin to get this for a great price, because you won't be disappointed.
13/15 - You'll be hearing a few familiar tracks from within the Kirby universe, and you'll end up humming them eventually.
18/20 - Colorful and vivid, these two-dimensional landscapes are. Beautiful and cute, holding up to Kirby's cheery nature.
23/25 - A ton of unlockables and extras are out there, with medal collection being a top priority. Completing the story with Kirby just won't be enough to fully complete the game.
36/40 - The game is considerably the most radical direction ever taken with a portable Kirby game, re-invorigating the most common genre of video games with interesting control and great level design.
90/100 - Overall, for its first DS outing, Kirby: Canvas Curse does a great job even though the normal Kirby formula was sacrificed in order for a much more innovative one. The story is a little bare-bones but it does actually include the player as its own character since you are seen as the holder of the magic paintbrush, and with the unlockables present, it'll be a while before any can complete the game 100%.