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Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush

Kirby & The Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U at

Kirby may not be as popular as Mario, Link and Samus, but the pink puffball has always delivered a fun time since the NES and Game Boy days. Even though Kirby looks soft, these adventures offered gamers a solid challenge and plenty of replay value.

This tradition continues with Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush for Wii U, which provides simple levels that are difficult to master. All of this is encapsulated in yet another creative and beautiful title that provides an extremely unique visual experience.

Visual stunner

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is one of the most beautiful games we've seen. It features a unique visual style that replicates claymation, with everything in the game, from characters to levels, given a handcrafted look.

These impressive graphics make Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush feel authentic, right down to the thumbprints and smudges that appear on some of the enemies. In later stages, you'll even see the clay realistically collapse, curving under its own weight.

This style carries over to the game's menus, unlockables and even the gallery where you view sculptures, which resembles an in-home art studio. The game's introduction video reinforces this style, and gives Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush a signature appearance.

Kirby & The Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U at

An artist's touch

Unlike most side-scrolling adventures, the game allows you to use the Wii U GamePad touchscreen to draw lines that Kirby will travel through.

Draw lines from left to right and Kirby will travel in that direction; up and down, right to left, in loops or upside-down. It doesn't matter because Kirby will stick to the line and travel its length. As long as you have enough paint in your brush, you'll be able to take Kirby anywhere you'd like throughout each level.

If you've never played a Kirby game on a touchscreen, this mechanic may take some getting used to. Thankfully the game provides a real-time tutorial before introducing new gameplay methods to help you get used to the different techniques. This kind of handholding is brief but helpful, and appears before Kirby transforms into different vehicles that will significantly change how you play those levels.

Kirby & The Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U at

Spice of life

In addition to creativity, Kirby is also chock full of variety. The aforementioned vehicles offer a nice respite from the game's core side scrolling gameplay. Midway through the second world, Kirby will turn into a tank and slowly march forward. Later, he morphs into a submarine.

Instead of worrying about trying to go backwards, you need to instead use the Kirby tank to shoot shells at the different enemies around the level. Tap and hold on the GamePad and you will charge up for a super shot, available each time you collect 100 stars.

In fact, this charge up ability turns regular Kirby into a huge juggernaut, allowing him to bust through solid concrete walls to reach otherwise-unreachable items, or it shoots a mega torpedo once you're that Kirby submarine. Again, variety is the spice of Kirby's life, both in the things he transforms into and the weapons available to him.

Kirby & The Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U at

The world is alive

This variety extends to the gorgeous level designs, with stages split into different worlds that have their own themes. You start with the regular garden-variety world, which soon gives way to predictable but still fun desert, water and cloud worlds as you go through the game's story mode. Each have stunning moments. For example, the absolutely gorgeous water spring that rushes Kirby upwards towards the start of the third world is a cool visual trick.

These experiences can be shared by up to four people in a new multiplayer mode that allows for three Waddle Dees to join as you concentrate on drawing the correct paths. The replayability continues into a Challenge Mode that unlocks as you complete different tasks throughout the game, and they centre around collecting different treasure chests within 15 seconds. Again, easy to figure out but difficult to master.

The great thing about this new game is the fact that there is so much to do and collect. Each level has different treasure chests that you optionally pick up for unlockable sculptures and music tracks, and perfectionists will keep themselves busy trying to reach new medals as they collect every star.

Overall, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is the kind of game we expect from the Wii U, a well-crafted adventure starring a likeable character that can be enjoyed by family and friends. If you own the system, this one's an easy game to recommend.

Final Score: 9 (out of 10)

What's Hot

  • Gorgeous looking game
  • Easy to play but tough for completionists
  • Lots to unlock and uncover

What's Not

  • Only Kirby-related amiibo work with the game
  • Would love to see more levels and worlds
  • A competitive mode would have been great

Find out more about Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush

Published: 07/05/2015

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