Nintendo has always done different things with its Kirby games. For instance, in one game Kirby has ridden on hamsters, and in another the lead character has been made of yarn (a la Sony’s Sackboy, in a way). But for Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, which is now in stores for $39.99, the entire Kirby-based world has undergone a transition, as the game world is made entirely of clay.
Not only that, but the control mechanics themselves have undergone a chance, as players control Kirby exclusively by using the touch screen on the Wii U GamePad controller. By drawing lines on the touch screen with a stylus, players create Rainbow Ropes to help Kirby navigate obstacles and defeat enemies.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse also has a cooperative multiplayer mode in which three friends can hop in and out at any time using Wii Remote controllers to play as Waddle Dees. As the player who controls Kirby draws Rainbow Ropes and taps the GamePad, other players use Wii Remote controllers to play as friendly Waddle Dee characters to assist Kirby and help discover the game’s collectibles. While everyone ultimately works together, each player’s collected stars are shown at the end of each stage, encouraging a little friendly competition.
The Rainbow Ropes will guide Kirby in the direction players want him to go, and drawing ropes in creative ways like a loop will even give Kirby a quick speed boost. Strategy not only comes into play in guiding Kirby, but also in the amount of Rainbow Ink used, as drawing Rainbow Ropes uses precious ink. By staying on the ground or collecting an ink bottle, players can refill the Rainbow Ink quickly. In addition to moving Kirby around, Rainbow Ropes can be cleverly used to solve environmental puzzles. Using a well-drawn rope can block a waterfall or uncover hidden areas.
Instead of his traditional copy abilities, Kirby can also transform into vehicles. As a tank, Kirby will move automatically and players must tap on the GamePad touch screen to shoot at approaching enemies. When traveling through the depths as a submarine, Kirby will move to the spot players tap on the touch screen. And as a rocket, drawing Rainbow Ropes will help navigate him to the goal.
Gamers can even use compatible amiibo figures once per day, per stage to power up Kirby with special abilities. The amiibo limitations seem overly constrictive, especially considering Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is geared toward younger kids who won’t comprehend why the limits exist, but Nintendo tends to play by its own rules.
Kirby, King Dedede or Meta Knight amiibo can each be used once a day to power up Kirby with special abilities. By tapping a Kirby amiibo to the Wii U GamePad, players receive an unlimited Star Dash within a stage, which usually can only be activated by collecting 100 stars. A King Dedede amiibo outfits Kirby with a hat that grants him six health bars instead of the normal four. And the Meta Knight amiibo gives Kirby a mask that lets him use a fast dash that blasts right through weaker enemies.