If fellow Nintendojo writer Andy Hoover and I have anything in common, it’s our love of the excellent Kirby: Canvas Curse for DS. That innovative title made ingenious use of the then-new DS touch screen, providing a variety of unique challenges and rich, rewarding gameplay. In what must be part of the continued effort to demonstrate the worth of Wii U’s GamePad, Nintendo unveiled Kirby and the Rainbow Curse at E3 this week. The new title comes boasting Canvas Curse‘s control scheme, along with a gorgeous, claymation aesthetic.
During my preview, I instantly found myself at home with Rainbow Curse‘s familiar controls. Kirby, who is in ball form for the duration of the game, is manipulated via the touch screen exclusively. A tap of the pink hero propels him forward, while passing the stylus across the screen creates paths that guide Kirby’s movement. Draw a spiral, and Kirby will loop through it. Draw an arc, and Kirby will ride it into the sky. Enemies can be tapped to make them susceptible to Kirby’s attacks, while some elements in the background can either be crumbled or modified to solve puzzles.
I tackled the water level and was immediately sucked in once I saw the claymation graphics in action. Like Kirby’s Epic Yarn, it’s a visual style so fitting to the series, it’s a wonder someone didn’t think of it sooner. Given how beefy Wii U is, it’s probably better for everyone that such a graphically potent console is playing host to Kirby’s newest look. Beyond the pretty exteriors, I was also pleased by the amount of challenge on display. Navigating through the web of currents to avoid hazards wasn’t especially easy, and to make things trickier, I was tempted by out of the reach collectibles that required navigation through deadlier routes.
Rainbow Curse is a good sign that Nintendo is not only continuing to pursue new ways to highlight the GamePad, but is also looking to its own past successes on DS for inspiration. Canvas Curse is often greatly underappreciated amongst so many other, classic Nintendo titles, but there’s no denying how powerfully it demonstrated how a touch screen could be used as a legitimate control input for a video game. The allure of the GamePad remains a bit of an enigma to consumers, so tapping into the magic of Canvas Curse might be a great way of getting everyone up to speed.
Rainbow Curse is set to keep Wii U’s upcoming lineup not only fun, but diverse. The demo left me impressed, as the transition of Canvas Curse‘s control setup from small screen to big appears to have been seamless. If there’s any caveat to my enjoyment of the demo, it’s that I found myself focused on the GamePad and not the TV screen as I drew lines. The action was mirrored on both the GamePad and TV, but it’s awkward to draw on the touch screen without looking down at it. It’s not something that I think will hinder anyone’s fun, but it’s an interesting issue that wasn’t present on the handheld. Be sure to stay tuned to Nintendojo for the latest on Rainbow Curse!