Banner Ad
Wei Man takes a look at what Nintendo's first- & second-parties have to offer

// full article... 

Home . . .
Reviews . . .
Articles . . .
Features . . .
Did You Know . . .
Forums . . .
Chat . . .
Poll Results . . .
Staff . . .
About Gen-N . . .

// DS Lite
// King Kong
// Electroplankton
// Kirby: Canvas Curse
// WarioWare: Touched!

// 1st/2nd Parties
// E3 Surprises
// DS to Wii
// Wii Reaction
// The Difference
Kirby: Canvas Curse
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Number of Players: 1
Memory: 3 slots
Controls: Touch
Online Wi-fi Compatible: No
Release Date: 6/13/05
Objective (you are here)
[ objective ]
[ subjective ]

On a peaceful, sunny day in Dream Land, Kirby is taking a nice stroll through the lush, green fields. Little did the pink hero know what was to happen to his world, as a sudden burst of colours warps the land and a mysterious witch appears in the sky.

With a wand in hand, the witch begins to swipe at the air as she unleashes what appears to be gallons of paint, instantly transforming Dream Land into a painting! Once done, the witch notices the shocked, pink marshmellow on the ground and quickly disappears into a strange vortex.

Brave a hero as he is, Kirby immediately gives chase and follows the witch through the portal, unaware of whatever danger might lurk behind it. As Kirby finally catches up to the fiend and challenges her, she uses her magic powers to turn Kirby into a ball!

Helpless, Kirby could do nothing as he watches the witch escape. Soon afterwards, he notices the witch's Magical Paintbrush, apparently left behind by accident...

Kirby touches the paintbrush and a ray of light transports it to you: the player! You must now guide the pink hero through the land as you use the brush to transport the helpless sphere that is Kirby. With your elite painting skills and his sucking powers, you must unite as one and save Dream Land!

Since Kirby is turned into a ball, he doesn't have any legs or arms for him to be able to move from one place to another on his own. Pressing right on the DS's directional pad will do nothing. In fact, pressing any button besides Start, which is used to pause the game, will not elicit a reaction from the game. Instead, Canvas Curse makes players use the touch screen, and only the touch screen, to move the pink hero. Players draw multi-coloured lines on the screen to direct the Kirby ball. The lines essentially work like escalators: if a diagonal line is drawn from ground up, Kirby will travel on it, sticking to it until there is no more to line to stick to. This works even if Kirby travels along a line that leads him upside down: he will keep traveling along the line, sticking to it as it is drawn by the player.

The direction in which the player draws a line is the direction Kirby will travel if he makes contact with it, which further helps in having more control over the helpless ball. For example, if Kirby is heading east and in front of him is a line drawn from east to west, Kirby will not keep traveling east; he will obey the direction in which the line was drawn and start heading west instead. If players want to have Kirby start rolling the opposite direction, drawing a vertical wall will suffice. Kirby will not stick to and travel along a vertical line, but instead bump off of it due to its awkward 90-degree angle.

This drawn loop will send Kirby flying with a boost of speed (click to see second screen)

Other controls include drawing a loop in one stroke, which gives Kirby a boost of speed, assuming he's traveling along the drawn loop. This more advanced technique requires the use of more paint than normal. Players need to pay attention to their paint meter, as it's not possible to continually and infinitely draw lines for Kirby to ride on. The meter will eventually run out, but the paint regenerates when not in use. Paint will regenerate quickly if Kirby is on a solid platform or ground (as opposed to being in the air or on a previously-drawn rainbow line). Rainbow lines also disappear after a few seconds, so the levels will never be permanently cluttered with your paint all over them.

Players can also tap Kirby to give him a burst of speed that will give him enough power to defeat most enemies in his way. Enemies can also be tapped, which will temporarily stun them. Running into an enemy that isn't stunned, or without a burst of speed, will, of course, hurt Kirby. Defeating an enemy that carries a special power enables Kirby to steal that power and use it to his advantage. The available powers are balloon, wheel, thunder, rock, needle, ice, fireball, sword, tornado, missile, and explosion. Each of these adds some strategy to the way the game is played.

Kirby, using the balloon power! (click to see second screen)

There are 8 worlds in the main quest. Each world, except for the eighth and final one, contains three levels, which makes for a total of 22 different levels. Boss battles are actually mini-game battles, of which there are three different kinds to choose from upon completing a world.

Once the main quest is complete, players have a lot more to look forward to completing. In each level is a group of three red medals to collect, so going back to the main quest and carefully discovering new passages is required to collect all of them. A Rainbow Run mode, in which players play either Time or Line Trial, is also available. Time Trial asks of players to get through a certain area of a game in as fast a time as possible, while Line Trial poses a limit on the amount of paint the player can use.

Rainbow Run is the mode in which most of the collectable red medals reside. Red medals are used to unlock items, including alternate paint colours, alternate playable characters, bonus Rainbow Run levels and more.

Much like its controls, one simple yet effective way to describe Kirby's visuals is that it's colourful. A big amount of different shades of colours is used to make up what players see on the bottom screen, where all the action happens.

Of course, the game is played completely in two dimensions. There are no three-dimensional effects; the ones that do appear 3D, such as the rolling sphere that represents the main character, is the work of a 2D sprite with many frames. Each level features a low number of backgrounds to complement the foreground action. Nothing happens in these backgrounds, as they remain static for the entirety of the game.

Visually, not much happens in the top screen. A simple, two-coloured map, where one colour stands for the background while the other for the platforms and obstacles with which Kirby is able to interact, is displayed for the greater part of the center of the screen. The map also displays Kirby's position on it, as well as a small number of other objects, such as red medals. The border which outlines the map is static at all times, displaying simple information that caters to the gameplay.

Simple Map
The top screen, as seen during gameplay in the main quest (click to see second screen)

The game's upbeat soundtrack features 77 tracks, most of which are remixed classic Kirby themes, and a little less than half of which are unlockable by collecting a large number of medals. The unlockables are actually directly ported from the soundtrack of a previously-released Kirby game, which adds to the value of Canvas Curse, as far as the soundtrack goes.

As for sound effects, there is a collection of 294 of them in the game.

Loop through the green fields
Kirby travels along a line protecting him from canon blasts
Going underwater
Kirby...shot from a canon!
Through the Ghost Grounds
Beautiful magma level
Plenty of blocks to break
1-up in the colourless, mechanical level
Sunset level with an early version of a red medal
Get that Maxim Tomato!
Double Loop through Tiny Town
Kirby has put on a little weight over the years
Laser action

[ back to main review page ]
Objective (you are here)
[ objective ]
[ subjective ]

// A mysterious character within the Banjo-Kazooie series was meant to star in his own N64 spin-off...

Click for more . . .

// Delve into the philosophical world of gaming in this Pikmin 2 special, Buried Treasures

Check it out . . .

[an error occurred while processing this directive]