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Kirby: Canvas Curse

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: HAL Laboratories

Release Date: 6/17/05

Platform: Nintendo DS

Since the DS launched in the American market, it never really had any firm gaming ground to plant it's feet onto, with the exceptions of Mario DS and Feel The Magic. Many touted the device was just a mini-game machine not capable of delivering a truly touch-oriented game that lasted longer than an hour or so. Ever since the launch of Mario DS, distraught DS gamers have been searching for a game that would make them want to charge their DS' when they returned home so they could further satisfy their hunger for its games, and Hal Laboratories has once again produced a gem that has finally validated the systems existence to critics. Canvas Curse couldn't be truer to the sense of the word "Touch-based-gaming".

Canvas Curse stars are always lovable and violent assimilator Kirby, who is unexpectedly cursed by a witch, causing him to lose all of his limbs, thus rendering him useless. The only one who can help him is the one who holds the Rainbow Brush (you), to guide his way through the haphazard levels that lay ahead. Canvas Curse brings all of the familiar sights we have come to love in the Kirby universe, while integrating fluid visuals and a nice, upbeat musical score.

The first and foremost feature of the game is that you will only be using the touch screen for any manipulation of the menu and game screen; the A,B,X,Y, Select, and D-pad are rendered useless. Kirby's main mode of transportation throught the game are the rainbows you will draw with the stylus, which will change his momentum in the direction of the line. This system is governed by the bucket of paint that is displayed on the top screen, which will gradually deplete based on the speed and length of the lines you draw. The bucket will deplete slowly if you draw slow and concise lines, but in the more hectic moments of the game, you will be forced to be painstakingly precise and agile with the limited amount of paint you are allowed to use at high speeds. The great thing about the paint bucket is the fact that it is replenished by Kirby spending time on the ground (an empty paint can will fill in 2 seconds of Kirbys ground time), or by traveling on the rainbows themselves without interruption (much slower replenishment).

There are other applications of the paintbrush that make it a bit easier for Kirby to navigate. You are able to change his derection at any time by drawing a vertical line in front of him, which will turn him in the opposite direction; you can also draw a small circle around Kirby to make him gain momentum and automatically go into a dash.

This simple system is simple to grasp and yet very hard to master later in the game, the difficulty of the game is solely based on your skill with paint management.

But what would a Kirby game be without being able to assimilate the abilites of your foes? Once again, Kirby is able to grab a nice collection of abilities from the always varying foes in every Kirby game. The way that you capture these abilties is to make direct contact with an enemy after you have stunned it by tapping it with the stylus, or by tapping Kirby with the stylus to send him into a quick sprint in the direction he is facong.. Once it is paralyzed, and assuming it has an ability, making contact will transfer the ability to Kirby. The game features a nice array of abilities to find and master; from turning into a giant ball of spikes and being able to grab onto certain walls you make contact with, or becoming a giant bomb and crashing through certain walls. Old favorites return as well, such as the Wheel, and Fireball, which are the most useful abilities in the game.

Kirby's world remains unchanged in this latest incarnation: masterful level design cut out of a childs coloring book. Worlds are characterized by their bright and vibrant colors, and are all different in a variety of ways. You will be lighting lamps, pushing aerial bombs into switches, fired out of cannons, and avoid myriads of spikes while exploring the 24+ levels. Each level of of each "world" holds a different and unique experience that keeps the game fresh from start to finish, and never becomes stagnant at any part of the game. At the end of each world, you will face a boss of Kirby fame, in which you will be able to choose who you face beforehand. These challenges will range from guiding Kirby along a wild competitive rollercoaster ride where your objective is to collect more food than King Dedede, or a a simon-says-esque tracing battle against Paint Roller; no matter which battle you choose at the end of each level, it will always be unique, challenging, and most importantly, entertaining. Another treat that is pulled from ideas in Kiby Super Star is the ability to gain 1ups at the end of each level. Kirby will be placed on a long platform, where you will be prompted to poke him continually with the stylus to make him go into a dash, and at the end of the line, you will have a tiny amount of paint to draw an ascending line to send him flying as high and and far as possible. The longer the jump will abviously reap the best rewards.

The sound of the game is very upbeat and happy for the most part, but also combines that frenetic melodic pacing that we have become familiar with during the harder levels in Kirby games. The score is pretty much on track for each level, and is never mind-blowing, but coincidentally never annoying or repeditive.

The only problem that I find with the game is that it still has not given much justification to the second screen of the DS. It makes it seem more apparent that the uitilization of the second screen of the DS for most games would be maps and stats, and in Kirbys case (as well as many others), this is true. Your paint level and the level map is displayed on the top screen, and that is really all that the screen is used for during actual gameplay.

Overall, Canvas Curse is the game that every single DS user has been waiting for since it's release. There isn't a good enough reason not to pick this game up after making an investment in the system, not only does it justify the DS validity in the portable gaming market, but is also better than most PSP and DS games right now.


--- Alundra

Copyright by Anime-Source.Com All Right Reserved.

Published on: 2005-07-07 (7668 reads)

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