Release Date: 8 May 2015
Platform: Wii U
Let’s start this one off by reminding everyone that I am a Kirby fanatic. There is no other game series on any platform (Nintendo or otherwise, console, PC or handheld, past, present or future) that is quite as tremendous as Kirby’s adventures are. This might seem a slightly strange point of view for a nearly-28-year-old man to take, but having consulted with the Oracle of Delphi on the matter I have been informed that my view is the correct one. Anyone who disagrees with me will not be invited over for pizza parties.
So buying Rainbow Paintbrush, as you may imagine, was really a no-brainer for me, and the cat still hasn’t really recovered from my rather loud and perhaps overly flamboyant reaction to its announcement during last year’s E3. To be honest it isn’t a game for everyone, but for those who like games that are a little quirky and different while also being more adorable than the combined cuteness of a baker’s dozen of kittens, then you really don’t have to look any further than Kirby’s latest adventure.
Dream Land has been robbed of all its colour by the evil Claycia. Not only does this mean that all of Dream Land’s inhabitants are currently lifeless blobs, it also means that Kirby can’t eat his once gloriously-red apple. For a simple creature who enjoys the simple things in life, this injustice just won’t stand.
With the help of Elline, a paintbrush fairy from the glorious land of Seventopia, Kirby as his band of Waddle Dee companions must defeat Claycia and get Dream Land’s colours back.
It’s about as much story as you’re ever going to get out of a Kirby game, but it’s enough to get the ball rolling and kickstart the gameplay. Also, if you see Kirby’s face when he can’t eat his apple and don’t immediately demand retribution for the pain inflicted on him, you are both disinvited from the pizza party and I won’t let you play with my amiibos.
Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is a platformer in the loosest sense. As the spiritual successor to Kirby: Power Paintbrush on the Nintendo DS (which I haven’t played but for which I am eagerly awaiting a Virtual Console release) you actually have no direct control over Kirby or his movements. You can tap on him to make him jolt forward or hold down on him to power up a speed dash, but you will spend most of the time drawing rainbow ropes on the GamePad which Kirby will follow.
This might sound a bit daft but it actually adds a different kind of tactical thinking to the game. You need to be able to plot a course using the ropes that will get you from point A to point B without getting Kirby killed by enemies or dropping off something unexpected. You also need to use the ropes to block hazards from hitting him. There’s only so much rope you can use, and the only way to replenish this quickly is either to let him drop down to the ground or to find pots of clay suspended at certain points in the stage. The ropes also don’t last forever, so you need to keep the little guy rolling along. Things get mixed up slightly when Kirby is transformed into either a tank, submarine or a rocket (or when you use a Kirby, Meta Knight or King Dedede amiibo to power Kirby up), but ultimately it all comes down to how good you are with your brush.
Like most Kirby games Rainbow Paintbrush isn’t particularly difficult, and is best suited for those times when you want a relaxing game session. The challenge doesn’t come from beating the game, but rather from finding all of the collectibles littered throughout the stages.
If I have one criticism, and I don’t (and you shouldn’t either – I’m not joking about that pizza party), it’s that the game is quite short. I managed to beat it and collect the majority of the collectibles in around 9 hours, and that was going at a rather leisurely pace. It won’t tide you over for very long, but it’s a helluva fun time while it’s going.
A sense of child-like glee. By this point I’m used to the rather odd looks that I get from my family, my significant other, Tropical Mary, Tropical Mary’s husband (hereafter correctly referred to as Stygian Mole), my cats, Tropical Mary’s Cats, and that one bemused looking guy at the game shop who wasn’t quite buying that I was buying a different Kirby game and a copy of Super Princess Peach for my (non-existent) sister, but such is the price of unadulterated enjoyment. Also, there’s a lot to be said for playing this game and holding the GamePad in Tropical Mary’s line of sight while she’s playing Bloodbourne and shouting ‘differences!’ at the top of your lungs.
And I imagine, deep down, everyone wants to spend a day at the beach with Kirby. And if you don’t, in addition to being disinvited from the pizza party and not being allowed to touch my amiibos (especially not the Kirby one), I suggest you go crawling back to your mother on hands and knees and beg her forgiveness for turning out the way you did.
My Final Rating: 8 / 10
Buy Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush at Amazon.com