Kirby: Canvas Curse (DS) review
"If anyone has imaginative mascots, it's Nintendo. What, with Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi, Nintendo has proved time and time again that they know their creativity from their connectivity. In Kirby's case, he was apparently designed after a swelling marshmallow. This time he happens to be a circular, pink puffball, chubby at all sides with the ability to expand in the air, suck hard, take the form of his opponents, and now he's been magically transfused into a ball. However, this past summer,..."
If anyone has imaginative mascots, it's Nintendo. What, with Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi, Nintendo has proved time and time again that they know their creativity from their connectivity. In Kirby's case, he was apparently designed after a swelling marshmallow. This time he happens to be a circular, pink puffball, chubby at all sides with the ability to expand in the air, suck hard, take the form of his opponents, and now he's been magically transfused into a ball. However, this past summer, following the DS's less-than-spectacular launch, there was still nothing worth picking up for the cursed canvas. Until Kirby came along, our touch screens had seemingly remained useless. There was Mario, and then nothing else. Fanboys' everywhere soon became irate as they watched Sony's Playstation Portable blossom into what would soon become only an ugly media tool, instead of a gaming device.
Fortunately, Nintendo did not leave us stranded. Kirby: Canvas Curse is everything you've come to expect, and at the same time everything you have never expected in a video game. Where Yoshi's Touch N Go was gimmick choked, here we find something that's both self confident, and has finally presented the usefulness of the DS's touch screen. As all the other developers constantly resort to using violence in their games as an effective way to promote value and intrigue, Nintendo remains tried and true in formula; still presenting what is at heart like all of their older platforming Kirby games.
Being a Kirby game, there are a few things that can be assumed going into Canvas Curse. We know there's trouble in Dreamland, and it's obvious that King Dee Dee's behind it. Kirby will stop him by wandering through levels taking on the form of his enemies, then using it against them. Same old stuff. Except for the spots where the game breaks free of its older formula, and creates something never before seen. Using your paint-infused stylus, you'll guide Kirby through the levels with ease. Blocking enemy attacks with walls, drawing Sonic-the-Hedgehog-like loops for him to spin inside, and creating ramps allowing for "the pink wonder" to clear undesirable obstacles.
Like magic, as you rub your pen underneath Kirby, a line of rainbow will form, and will lead him along the path until what you've drawn comes to an end. Whatever direction you draw the line Kirby will go. For example: if you draw a line up and to the right, Kirby will follow the line up and to the right. Knowing this, you can now realize the world of possibilities this type of gameplay opens up. Kirby no longer sucks in enemies, which may be a surprise to some, but he can still take their capabilities inwards. By poking the enemy with your DS stylus, then leading Kirby to come in contact with the enemy, you can effectively keep their themed powers until you either get hit, or decide to let go of the power. Once obtaining an enemies property you can do things like spinning like a wheel, catching on fire, floating like a balloon, freezing yourself, creating a tornado, and there are even more exciting possibilities. There wasn't a single moment I felt that the control scheme didn't work for the game.
Nearly flawless in manner (although at times unconventional), you'll soon realize that everything implemented is here for the better. The backgrounds sparkle providing an ever-changing environment through each of the worlds. You won't exactly be surprised by the direction the art's taken, it's just the natural evolution from what the Game Boy Advance games had looked like before. Even with the DS's capabilities to produce massive 3D games, you'll be glad Nintendo is sticking to their working formula for this aging series.
Those gamers' not completely devoted to Nintendo's "just wait five or six months, we promise we'll deliver the goods one day" attitude may have given up with Nintendo after the first few rounds of so-so DS games. Never wavering, the Nintendo faithful are in for a real treat this time. In fact, there's no better time than now to own one of these portables. Finally, Nintendo's shown the promise of the Dual Screens, not leaving us with a half-hearted game, but instead one that is endlessly enchanting in charisma and enchantment. Controlling like a dream, if you do own a DS, Kirby: Canvas Curse most certainly a must have. If I could sum up Kirby in five words, they'd be: Perfect, Original, Flowing, Graceful, and absolutly-life-changing.
Community review by Calvin (December 20, 2005)
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