Saturday 1 October 2016

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush review: Staying in line

Published 28/04/2015 | 13:08

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush: cheery claymation style
Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush: cheery claymation style

EVERYONE’S favourite pink blob continues his resurgence courtesy of a sequel to the 2005 DS outing that used the stylus to draw a path through a colourful landscape.

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush (Wii U); rating: 7.5/10; age: 3+

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With an irrepressible art style mimicking claymation cartoons and a lead character who’s never less than unbearably cute, the only danger here is a charm overload.

But Kirby is not his usual self-assured blob this time, lacking his trademark inhale and exhale attack, nor even the ability to jump. Instead, he navigates the worlds by rolling on freehand trails sketched by your stylus, collecting stars, bopping enemies and dodging hazards.

It begins deceptively easy but evolves into a challenging platformer with tough boss battles. Luckily, a co-op mode enables younger gamers to call on assistance from up to three other players.

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush: follow the colourful trail
Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush: follow the colourful trail

Oddly, though, Rainbow Paintbrush is perhaps the first Wii U title that more or less ignores the TV screen – you must keep your eyes glued to the GamePad screen to control Kirby. Somehow, that seems a waste and betrays the lack of progression from the 2005 game.

In fact, gameplay has actually excised some of the original’s features, such as Kirby’s adoption of defeated enemy’s abilities. But at least the rolling action is broken up by sections in which the blob morphs into objects such as a tank or rocket. Such levels feel a tad dumbed-down, though, being much more linear than the expansive areas regular Kirby gets to explore.

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush
Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush

The stylus control produces some frustrating moments with its imprecision and the recycling of some bosses is just cheeky.

Yet while Rainbow Paintbrush may not be Kirby’s finest hour, there’s a tactile delight in roaming the handcrafted landscapes.

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