Having reviewed Yoshi Touch & Go earlier this year I was left with the distinct impression that I only got a taste of how Nintendo planned to utilize the touch screen to control a game. Their latest release, Kirby Canvas Curse, has upped the bar when demonstrating the true innovation that the DS is as this game is solely controlled by the DS
Touch Screen Compatible
Having reviewed Yoshi Touch & Go earlier this year I was left with the distinct impression that I only got a taste of how Nintendo planned to utilize the touch screen to control a game. Their latest release, Kirby Canvas Curse, has upped the bar when demonstrating the true innovation that the DS is as this game is solely controlled by the DS’s touch screen. Once anyone picks up and plays this game they will come to see how it definitely showcases why Nintendo believes in their dual screened machine.
Canvas Curse is a great looking 2D game. As seems to be par with Nintendo developed games on the DS, everything seems to leap off the screen due to the brightness and vibrancy of the colors found in their games. It definitely has that Nintendo feel as each level seems so familiar. That being said each level has a style of its own and the developers definitely made an effort to update the feel of Kirby’s latest adventure on the more powerful DS hardware. The colors jump off the screen and everything just feels so right.
For those tech heads out there this game runs very smooth. Animation is well done as everything seems to flow effortlessly. I did not find any levels where the DS seemed bogged down as each level moved as fast as the next and the framerate was solid and over. Some people may complain that this is still just a 2D game but man it is a great looking 2D game nonetheless. It is this reviewer’s humble opinion that the visuals in this game add to the atmosphere of this game and one will not be disappointed.
Kirby is a franchise character that Nintendo makes sure his own identity. This definitely goes for the music that accompanies our pudgy hero. As seems to be the case with Nintendo made games, the sound has a distinct flavour. In Canvas Curse that flavour may be described as cheerful, bouncy and just plain happy. The music seems, to me at least, to have a bit of a throwback to the 16-bit days. Don’t get me wrong, it is good music, but it has that 16-bit platform feel to it. As for the accompanying sound effects, well they make the grade too. They are simple as they don’t need to be anything particularly special; however they just seem to match the overall scope of the on screen action. If anything they are your typical Nintendo cute and they do manage to add to the game.
Kirby Canvas Curse is not your typical Kirby game. This time around our hero has lost the use of his arms and legs as he has been turned into a ball by an evil witch. So Kirby only has the ability to roll around the screen, and this is where the touch screen becomes so important. Before you play Canvas Curse you have to throw out any notion of how you may control a typical platform game. For this game it is no buttons or d-pad to be used here, it is just you and the stylus.
To move Kirby around you need to utilize the stylus as both a pointer and a brush. To get him moving you only need to tap on him to cause him to speed up in the direction he is already moving. This is important as you need to go up hills and across platforms in a timely manner. The brush use of the stylus is the most important use in this game. You paint rainbow lines on the screen in an effort to help Kirby get where he needs to go. Should you wish to change or stop the direction he is going you only need to draw a vertical line and he will bounce of it and head in the opposite direction. These lines are not permanent and you need to learn how to time your travel over the paths that you make. The rainbow lines also help to protect Kirby as well. Specific enemies and obstacles have the ability to inflict great harm by launching projectiles (e.g. bullets or lasers) and certain levels have wind gusts and endless caverns to fall in. It will take some brain power to fully utilize your stylus skills while avoiding all the pitfalls of this game.
As you take Kirby through the various levels you are faced with the typical enemies that would be expected in any Kirby game. As Kirby has no arms and legs defeating these enemies are a touch and tap away and there are two different ways to kill them. The first is as simple as tapping on Kirby to speed him up and he will run over whoever is in front of him. The second method, and just as simple, has you tapping on the actual enemy temporarily stunning them allowing Kirby to run them over at regular speed. As you progress through the game enemies will have specific powers that you can use as a power-up (e.g. Spark power-up allows you to shower electricity in a 360 degree radius). Power-ups, as one would expect, are quite important as they allow you to get one up on the enemy and assist you in reaching those areas you thought were unreachable.
Overall there are eight main levels that are broken up into three sublevels. Of course there are the usual boss battles to fight at the end of the three levels and the stylus is the only way to defeat them. However, gameplay in Canvas Curse is much deeper then just beating the enemies and finishing the levels. Exploration is the key here as the levels are much bigger then people will expect. As you explore these levels you will find that there are three bronze coins scattered throughout. Some are easy to attain while others will take gaming skill and smarts. Some people may finish this game without getting all three coins per level; however they will miss out on what this game has to offer. The coins are used to purchase new game modes and extra abilities for our pink hero. This aspect of the game increases is replay value and adds to the incentive of exploration throughout the game.
On the negative side is the lack of multiplayer. Nintendo for some strange reason did not add this feature for Kirby’s latest adventure. This is somewhat of a dissapointing, but with the depth and enjoyment one will find in the single player the lack of this feature may seem like a moot point.
Every time I play a Nintendo branded game with this kind of innovation, style and enjoyment I can’t help but say “Way to go Nintendo, you have done it again”. Kirby Canvas Curse shows why the DS is an innovative machine and further testament to how Nintendo continues to put out quality games. With great 2D graphics, good sound and an awesome use of the touch screen, Canvas Curse is a must buy for anyone who owns Nintendo’s dual-screened wonder.