Playing games can be exhausting at times. We've all been there. Sometimes we don't feel like spending 2 hours on a boss that won't seem to die, times when we don't feel like doing a fetch quest that requires going across an entire overworld just to finish it, and would rather kick back and relax with a game made from a foundation of color and fun; a game without last-minute added in content or day one DLC just to make the game longer. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse does an exemplary job at showing that a game can be worthwhile without having a 20 hour story padded with content just to make it seem like purchase worthy of your hard earned cash.
During a peaceful day in Dream Land, Kirby and his friend Waddle Dee are playing (because obviously the young ones need to be able to relate to the story) and suddenly a mysterious hole opens in the sky, which drains all of the color from Dream Land, which is obviously very bad. This is when players are entroduced to Elline, a fairy from a world known as Seventopia, who uses her limited powers to bring color back to Kirby and his friend. Elline will go on to explain the situation to Kirby and will tell them that they must stop Claycia - the villain, in this case - as a means to return their home to it's once colorful state.
Following suit with most every Nintendo game, Rainbow Curse has strong gameplay that, miraculously, takes advantage of the Wii U's hardware and GamePad. You don't use any physical buttons to play the game, in fact, you use solely your stylus to draw lines on the screen to move Kirby across treacherous terrain consisting of grasslands, sandy ruins, palaces and more. Within each level exists stars, and the concept behind them is quite simple. For every 100 stars you collect, you obtain the ability to do a "Star Dash", which is initiated by pressing down on Kirby via the touchscreen to charge it up. This then causes Kirby to become gigantic and causes everything in his path to be destroyed. If you've played a Kirby game before, you're probably familiar with transformations. Each iteration in the series contains new transformations to play around with, and this one is no different. This time around there are three: Kirby Tank, Kirby Rocket, and Kirby Submarine. All of these make the game more unique while at the same time keeping it simple. I'll be honest here. All three of these transformations feel very similar to the Yoshi transformations found in the Yoshi's Island franchise. In that series, there is a Yoshi Submarine transformation, a Helicopter transformation, and a Mine Cart transformation. While the latter isn't quite as similar to Kirby Tank as Helicopter is to Kirby Rocket and Submarine is as to Kirby Submarine, it's clear that these new transformations take inspiration from the Yoshi's Island series. It's fine though it would have been nice to have some more innovative transformations this time around.
One of the first things that you'll notice upon starting Rainbow Curse is how beautiful everything is. Like, that's an understatement. Nintendo did a stellar job at creating a world of clay. The HUD, the menus, and most notably the art style and graphics in general look fantastic. I was amazed at how alive each level looks; it brings back memories of the Yoshi's Story, which is just a pleasure to look at. It brings me joy to know that this is a game kids will look fondly upon twenty years from now not only for it's innovation and sheer amount of extra content, but because of how colorful and overall beautiful everything is. This isn't something that happens very often any more.
Coming from the mouth of someone who generally pays very little attention to music in games (heck, I don't even really pay attention to music in rhythm based games like HarmoKnight or Guitar Hero somehow), I was pretty surprised with just how much I enjoyed the soundtrack for this game in particular. Remixes of classic Kirby songs to unlock, new songs, and even a music player a la Super Smash Bros., Rainbow Curse has a fantastic sound track that you'll be whistling around the house for a good bit.
Each level is graded on how many stars you collect; you can get a bronze medal, a silver medal and a gold medal. Every level has a different requirement of how many stars you need to collect to get that luxurious gold medal that most everyone will be striving to get. Likewise, each level contains 5 treasure chests that you'll need to collect to obtain figurines and songs. When viewed, figurines will give information about whatever character it's based on. It's a nice history lesson for casual fans of the series such as myself, so it was a very welcome addition. If none of that has convinced you that this is a completionist's dream, then let me tell you something about Challenge Mode. The mode contains 48 bite-sized challenges that consist of maneuvering Kirby through small rooms within a set time limit to collect treasure chests. Each level has four rooms with a treasure chest located within each, so getting all four chests is key if you want to get the gold medal on all of the challenges.
Rainbow Curse takes a long since forgotten formula and builds upon it by adding new transformations (albeit somewhat generic transformations), collectibes and a fantastic soundtrack to boot. All of that mixed with the games creative gameplay and fantastic presentation, this is a game that any Wii U owner should be on the lookout for.