Kirby: Canvas Curse (DS) review
"Now, if you break down the key components of the DS, it's fair to say that Nintendo's gimmick-machine is either going to use its features either just for the hell of it or to use its tools do to what it was supposed to. Nintendo's current policy is to transform the standard way of playing games by introducing innovative tools and methods to games, which would've been extremely unnatural a few years ago. The release of this console and the forthcoming Revolution (I can't say Wii because I know I'..."
Now, if you break down the key components of the DS, it's fair to say that Nintendo's gimmick-machine is either going to use its features either just for the hell of it or to use its tools do to what it was supposed to. Nintendo's current policy is to transform the standard way of playing games by introducing innovative tools and methods to games, which would've been extremely unnatural a few years ago. The release of this console and the forthcoming Revolution (I can't say Wii because I know I'm just going to throw in some rusty jokes! Plus, Revolution is a far cooler name) are probably going to be the most creative consoles available to us in this decade. The DS, despite still having a small selection of quality titles, is booming and the Revolution, which has an already strong fan base, will undoubtedly follow the same path (trudging right behind the PS3 and Xbox 360, of course!)
Now, I digress. The DS's unique features have already been demonstrated in novelty showcases such as Yoshi's Touch & Go and WarioWare: Touched, but both of those games seemed to be nothing more than just that. Showcases, demonstrations and advanced concepts aren't enough to make a solid game, as we've seen. The majority of DS games simple use the creative features of DS simply because they're available to use, not out of necessity. Therefore, the early catalogue of DS games was nothing but games that did this. After several months of waiting for the first “proper” DS classic, I imported Kirby's Canvas Curse mainly because it seemed like a game that captured the creative features of the DS, (which I'd been promised months before) perfectly. Also, with a character like Kirby, who has had a rather clean record in the past by starring in a smooth selection of quality 2-D platformers, it would've been stupid of me not to import it. Although, it doesn't use everything that the DS can offer, it certainly makes fantastic use of the touch screen, while leaving the more pointless features, i.e the second screen and the microphone, out in the cold.
Here is a game that mixes old and new into a well blended fabric, which is packed with creativity, challenge and enjoyment. If you remember the classic platform game Kirby's Dream Land and it's awesome sequels, then be prepared to find that this game has the same fantastic atmosphere. However, it manages to take that atmosphere and come at it with a fresh perspective. Kirby has been reverted to a ball form for some reason. He's not complaining due to the fact that he's discovered benefit fraud! I bet the government don't know that all he has to do his eat someone to get those missing limbs back. Anyway, you're here to be Kirby's limbs, his movement may be limited due to the fact that four key parts of his body are missing but Kirby's fifth limb will be the key to a new means of locomotion. (What!? I'm talking about the stylus! What on earth were YOU thinking of?)
With the stylus, you can move Kirby by poking him in the face or use it to draw out rainbows so he can slide along them with the grace of a swan. If you draw a rainbow and poke Kirby onto it, he will slide along the rainbow as if it was a speedy conveyer belt. You can also use the rainbow to block out enemy projectiles, bridge gaps across dangerous pits and divert Kirby from danger. This ability is also used in a rather enjoyable bonus game where you have to use the rainbow as a ramp in an attempt to fire Kirby, like a cannonball, as far as you can. Doing so will offer you little as a gamer, but will be an incredibly fun time waster. Using this method, you can transport Kirby through the levels with no difficulty. The only catch is the fact that your ability to draw out rainbows is limited and when you reach this limit; you need to recharge this ability. While this sounds like nothing to major, it can be a major stink if your cruising Kirby over an area with no floor. Poking Kirby will enable to him to perform a dash, sending him hurtling across the floor at tremendous speeds to he break through barriers and destroy enemies. However, the stylus isn't just there for doodling rainbows and prodding a pink ball around, it becomes a sword against other obstacles.
You can use the stylus to break down blocks and barriers with a swift poke. You can use it to push buttons to open up doors for Kirby to roll through, stun enemies so you can swiftly charge through them and use Kirby's secret abilities. Those who've played a Kirby game before will know that Kirby enjoys inhaling enemies with his expandable body and mimicking their abilities. Well, he doesn't do that here but with a simple roll and charge, he can sneakily steal a new power from an unsuspecting enemy. Kirby can shoot lasers around his body, become a guided missile, set himself ablaze and fly across the floor, conjure up a blizzard around him and even drop to the ground as a rock. However, these abilities can only be gathered if Kirby finds and kills an enemy who originally possesses them. He can also, obviously, only use one ability at a time and will have to be hit by an enemy to lose it or hit an enemy who has a different ability.
The cartoon atmosphere that is pouring from Kirby's Canvas Curse is simply magical. It captures the essence of the older Game Boy and Super Nintendo Kirby games perfectly. Like the rainbow that carries our hero, the game is so bright and colourful that makes an LSD trip seem like an old re-run of Gone with the Wind with your television with its contrast on its lowest setting. The game's visuals practically leap out from the DS and massage the insides of your eyeballs. It's actually so psychedelic that it gives ageing 32X seizure inducer Tempo and Dynamite Headdy a frantic run for their money. It definitely has some of the most mesmerising and bright graphics that I've seen in years, although, it doesn't pull a Tempo and give you brain damage if you play it for long enough.
The only thing that was problematic about Kirby's Canvas Curse was the bosses, for two main reasons. Firstly, we only have three main bosses, which are repeated throughout with harder incarnations and they're all involve rather annoying and repetitive tasks. King Dedede (I might have added or missed out one of the “De's”, I'm not too sure.) induces you into a racing game where you have to use the stylus to guide Kirby through an obstacle course, gather fruit to gain momentum and eventually outrun that stupid oversized penguin. The other two bosses are a one-eyed storm cloud whose name escapes me but eerie face (or eye) is reminiscent of a boss in one of the original Kirby games. His challenge uses a more standard formula where you use the rainbow to guide Kirby into his weak spot. The third boss is quite possibly one of the most irritating bastard that I've met in all of my years of gaming. He uses a pen to create dot to dot pictures for you to connect by joining all of the dots together using the stylus. However, a time limit is right behind you so if you make one slight mistake, it seriously reduces your chances of completing the task. These bosses, despite being quite easy to overcome, are pains in the neck due to the fact that you have to eventually crush them three times to properly defeat them. It's a lot like performing a severely simple yet aggravating task over and over, with no true reward for completing it. A little injection of that creative touch that has been poking around in all of the other game's areas would've worked wonders here.
However, despite this rather minor flaw, Kirby's Canvas Curse is an excellent addition to the severely weak DS library. At first, it may seem like another test run like Yoshi's Touch & Go! but when you delve deeper into what the game offers you, you'll find that the game provides you with a smooth and innovative way to play a platform games. It doesn't just use the features of the DS for the sake of it; it wraps around these features and takes control of itself. It very well may be the most innovative and enjoyable game I've played in years and it is, by far the best game available on the Nintendo DS, and easily one of the most creative games on the system. Kudos to Nintendo, with one game, they proved everything they said the DS could do. Now, maybe we should get to work on some more titles that do this, yeah?
Community review by goldenvortex (November 09, 2006)
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