Kirby: Canvas Curse, known in Europe as Kirby: Power Paintbrush and in Japan as Touch! Kirby(タッチ!カービィ, Tacchi! Kābī), is a platforming video game developed by HAL Laboratory, Inc. and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console. It was first released in Japan on March 24, 2005, and was then later released in North America on June 13, 2005, in Europe on November 25, 2005, and in Australia on April 6, 2006.
While Kirby: Canvas Curse is a platformer, it does not play like a traditional Kirby video game, as it uses the stylus exclusively and no use of the face buttons on the Nintendo DS.
One day, a strange portal appears in the sky, and out of it comes a witch named Drawcia. Drawcia casts a spell over Dream Land, turning it into a world of paint. Upon fleeing back into the portal she came through, Kirby gives chase, eventually finding himself in Drawcia's also paint-themed world. The witch curses Kirby, turning him into a limbless ball. After Drawcia escapes, the Power Paintbrush turns to the player to help Kirby. The player and Kirby set off to find and defeat Drawcia to restore Dream Land to its normal state.
Kirby Canvas Curse is Kirby's first debut on the Nintendo DS. The player takes control of a magical paintbrush (the DS stylus), and helps guide Kirby or one of four other playable characters on a quest to defeat Drawcia and restore Dream Land to peace.
Unlike most previous Kirby games, the player does not directly control Kirby with a directional pad, analog stick, face buttons, or shoulder buttons. Instead, the player only uses the stylus and touch screen to control Kirby. The player can draw rainbow lines, which Kirby will roll on, or poke Kirby, to make him do a little speed dash. These rainbow paths can form ramps or bridges for Kirby to cross, or walls to protect him from enemy projectiles. Drawing paths depletes the player's rainbow ink supplies, which recharges slowly while Kirby is in the air or on a path, but quickly when Kirby is on the ground. These paths eventually disappear, even faster if another path is painted. However, the player must either tap on Kirby to cause him to dash forward onto the path, or have the path created directly underneath him, causing him to automatically move forward on it.
The player can use the stylus to stun enemies by tapping on it. Afterward, the player can either allow Kirby to roll into the enemy with his own momentum or by dashing to defeat the enemy. Defeating certain kinds of enemies by either dashing into them or touching them while stunned causes Kirby to gain one of several special abilities, which may be used at any time by tapping Kirby himself. This special ability replaces the dash. Once an ability is obtained, the only way Kirby can lose it is either by tapping a button in the bottom left corner or by being damaged. This is also the only way to get a different ability from the one Kirby already has.
Kirby: Canvas Curse spans eight levels, with all but the last one having three stages, a name associated with a color of the rainbow and a first letter when combined with the other first letters spell rainbow. These are:
- Reddy Land
- Arange Gorge
- Iello Adventure
- Neo Greo
- Bloo Hills
- Omarine Zone
- Wonder Lilane
- The World of Drawcia
A variety of themes are used throughout the game. These themes range from a volcanic area to a frozen area. The objective of every level in the game is to reach a rainbow-colored doorway. As the player makes progress in the game, the environmental hazards become far more plentiful. In one level, the player must maneuver Kirby quickly enough to avoid getting defeated by an ever-rising body of lava. Occasionally, Kirby will come across a barrier, which prevents the paint lines from being created inside of them, forcing Kirby to do nothing but roll, dash, and use a power (if applicable). Portions of these levels can be played in Rainbow Run mode, where speed and amount of paint used are key factors in the player's success.
At the end of each world except for world seven, Kirby must face a boss. In worlds one through six, the first time he completes them, he must face one of each boss - Paint Roller, Kracko, or King Dedede (all of whom must be battled twice). With the exception of the final boss, all bosses are mini-game based. The boss of world eight is the main villain of Kirby: Canvas Curse, Drawcia Sorceress. Drawcia starts out in her standard form. Upon defeat, she will transform into a large ball of paint with five eyes and a mouth called Drawcia Soul.
Kirby: Canvas Curse features special collectibles called Medals, which can be used to unlock secret features in the game, such as characters, sound tests, and alternate paint colors. There are three ways for the player to find a Medal. The first way is to get one in one of the main levels. Each level has three Medals to be found, all of which can be seen on the map if Kirby is in the correct area and close enough. It is often required that the player do something particularly challenging to acquire one, and the difficulty of the challenge is respective to the difficulty of the level. The other way is through Rainbow Run mode. In it, Kirby must complete a portion of one of the main levels, with the objective being either getting through it as fast as possible, or getting through it while trying to use as little paint as possible. Reaching a certain peg awards Kirby with one or more Medals. The third way is by defeating the lesser bosses outside of the main game with an A Rank on the third level in each of the boss battles.
The game features, in addition to Kirby, Waddle Dee, Waddle Doo, King Dedede, and Meta Knight as playable characters. Waddle Dee is faster then Kirby, but can't copy abilities. Waddle Doo permanently uses Beam, King Dedede has a Hammer attack and the highest HP out of any character, but is very slow. Meta Knight is fast and has his signature sword attack, but has only 3 health. Also, Kirby is the only one whose max HP can be increased.
Rainbow Run is a mode in Kirby: Canvas Curse that exists for the sole purpose of collecting medals. The player has to go through a part of a stage with limits, described below.
Time Trial: The goal of Time Trial is to get Kirby (or any other unlocked character) through a stage in as little time as possible. If the best times are beaten, 1-3 Medals can be won.
Line Trial: Similar to Time Trial, only instead of a time limit there is a limited amount of magic ink. A meter on the top screen shows how much ink there is, and when it reaches zero, the player receives no prize. Depending on the ink remaining at the goal, 1-3 Medals will be rewarded. (The normal ink meter still exists on the touch screen and they work independently of each other.)
One of the goals of the game is to collect a total of 250 hidden Medals. Many are found hidden in the main game, while others are earned by beating scores in Rainbow Run, getting an A rank in level 3 of a Boss game, or by beating the game with different characters. (There are four others to unlock.)
The game features a Medal Swap, where medals can be traded for health upgrades, new stages for Rainbow Run, new styles of ink for their stylus, new characters, and an option which replaces all the in-game music with songs from Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland.
Features Unlocked Through Medal Swap
- Music for Sound Test
- Playable Characters
- Life Boost
- New courses for Rainbow Run
- New ink styles for the Magic Paintbrush.
- Waddle Dee
- Waddle Doo
- Fluff Waddle Dee
- Bronto Burt
- Spear Waddle Dee
- Flame Shotzo
- Para Matter
Kirby: Canvas Curse has received positive critical acclaim since its release. 1UP called it "genuinely excellent", saying that "it's a welcome reinvention of gaming's most overplayed genre" and later concluded that Kirby: Canvas Curse is "the DS's first great game". The stylus gameplay has also been noted, with IGN hailing it as "incredibly innovative", GameSpy saying it is "quite rewarding", and GameSpot calling it is "a satisfying part of the gameplay."
The game has drawn its criticism however, with a few sources claiming that although the game was innovative, it was not especially entertaining, with Play Magazine editor noting that "It's innovative... but for me, that's not enough."
- All of the World Select screens have the Smash Bros. logo on the top screen (The level is placed vertically, while the name of the world is placed horizontally.)
- Strangely enough, Kirby has been a ball many times before Canvas Curse; games he has been a ball in include Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kirby's Dream Course, Kirby's Adventure, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land and Kirby's Pinball Land.
- All the music in each stage is a remix of a song from a previous game with the exception of a few such as Drawcia's themes and The World of Drawcia.
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