NS Review – Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush (Wii U)
When I think of rainbow symbolism across the gaming globe I can’t help but relate back to Critter Crunch’s Biggs (a fluffy whatchamacallit spawned by Capybara Games) regurgitating for his famished offspring. He quite literally chunders up seven colours. Will Kirby’s most recent Wii U hootenanny replace this imagery? Only time will tell.
If you’ve played anything with Nintendo’s puffy pink mascot before hopefully you’ll know what the brunt of the gist is here; cuteness, colours, catchy tunes, colours, platformness, colours, stars, THE COLOURS!!! What Rainbow Paintbrush adds to the palette is a claymation tangent with player one relying solely on their stylus to GamePad screen co-ordination.
The thematic decision making is quintessentially Kirby, this digitised take on an art medium working to the hero’s favour. The short lived cutscenes frame as stop motion animations, with every enemy and loading screen appearing to be as though they have been molded with thumbs. Take it this way, if you love how palpable claymation looks you’re going to find it all very pleasing. That can also be said for the ‘hypish dittyness’ of the audible part of the bargain. Not because you have to love clay, but for the reason Kirby games have always treated the ones who like to play them with the volume up. The iconic level completion motif synching up with the points tally roulette appealed to me in a “Duh-dee, duh-daa, duh- dum, DING!” kind of way, yes indeed.
Putting the bomb in A to B!
Playtime wise you’ll find yourself tasked with the duty of bringing the now shade ridden Dream Land back to its former colourful glory. This is paced over aptly matched rainbow themed levels, you know like Indigo Ocean or Orange Woodland, yes? You do this by painting A to B rainbow threads for Kirby to roll along in what seems to be a magnetic marbled state. Complete control relies on manipulating him and the environment around him to reach the next star door. Whether that’s drawing straight lines to halt movement, drawing loops for bursts of momentum, blocking environmental hazards or drawing crafty routes to avoid boss attacks.
*QUICK TIP ALERT* The direction you draw over Kirby with on the GamePad determines which direction he rolls in, this I didn’t realise till quite far into my playthrough. Not one of my proudest moments I can assure you ladies and gentlemen.
Overall this plays nicely, although I must admit there were quite a few occasions where I found that not having direct control of Kirby frustrated the otherwise smartly plotted proceedings. Co-op mode (your couch chums will be wielding Wiimotes) also felt slightly dampened due to the ever ‘Sonic-in-the-cockpit-Tales-being-left-behind’ dilemma. In fact Kirby’s even borrowed a few of Sonic’s spin dash repertoire in-game here.
It’s not all rainbow swirls and marbles though. There are levels dedicated to canvas prompted transformations. Submarine Kirby, Tank Kirby and Rocket Kirby which also make for some unique tweaks to the gameplay. Actually my favourite moments of the five hour or so story mode were when I was guiding torpedoes into star blocks and the like. The pink fellow also has some nifty tricks, for example once one hundred stars are collected he can bloat up into an overpowered ricocheting ball of fury! Whoah, steady there now pal.
Kirby ‘saw’ it from a mile away…
The usual suspects of a challenge mode and menus of collectibles are here to be toyed with. There’s even some amiibo functionality for those who own a Meta Knight or two. The gauge of enjoyment all depends on how much revisiting you can muster, in my case I was content with the content (2x content bonus!) I’d witnessed after one playthrough.
If you love your eyes free stylus scribing as much as a game artist loves their graphics tablet, then you’ll surely nestle neatly into this telly and GamePad relationship. For the rest of us however, being a third wheel just ain’t gonna cut it this time. Dump the bigger screen and book yourself a romantic evening in with the Wii U’s pack-in controller instead. Although there will be hints of awkwardness in this keepin’ it fresh yet brief affair, the tango while it lasts does dabble more in the happy-go-red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo–violet-lucky department if you’re game!
Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is out now worldwide. This Nintendo Scene Impression wouldn’t have been possible without a press copy kindly provided courtesy of Nintendo PR.