Touch! Kirby's Magic Paintbrush (Kirby Canvas Curse)

Shows off what the DS is made of.


The Lowdown

Pros: An old styled platform game re-invented with the DS in mind.

Cons: Just seven levels long, with most of the fun coming from playing them over again.

Purchase at Play-Asia

Purchase at Lik-Sang

OK you early DS adopters we feel your pain. You've seen them now, those shiny new PSPs boasting original games like Lumines and Metal Gear Acid. You may think you have sunk your money in the wrong portable, but when all hope is lost there's a surprise out there. Just in time for the US PSP launch Nintendo pushes out Touch! Kirby's Magic Paintbrush for the DS. While it may not look as amazing as Ridge Racer for the PSP, Touch! Kirby's Magic Paintbrush (aka Kirby Canvas Curse in the US) has more innovation and fun than most handheld titles out there.

The pink puffball that you love has an all new adventure, that's designed with the DS in mind. Instead of making him fly around with the D pad, you're going to be doing everything on the touch screen. Kind of like Catch! Touch! Yoshi! Kirby will naturally roll on screen. Unlike that game you can actually move around and explore levels. By cleverly using your magic paintbrush you can draw rainbows to help direct Kirby's movement. If there's a giant pit up ahead, make a rainbow bridge so Kirby can cross. If a pesky laser is blocking you use a rainbow to block it. Once you get a hang of drawing rainbows you'll essentially make a track that Kirby will move on. One cool thing about the rainbow road you make is that it's gravity defying. Making a loop will have Kirby latch on to the rainbow upside down. It's a pretty neat and essential trick to master. You don't have an unlimited amount of rainbow ink. After about 3/4 of a the width of the touch screen you'll run out of ink. In this time you'll have to wait a few seconds for your ink to recharge. This is a pretty good balance because it prevents players from randomly rainbows on screen.

It wouldn't be a complete Kirby game without getting powers from other enemies. Of course in Touch! Kirby you'll be able to get steal skills from enemies, but you can't just eat them anymore. First you'll have to poke them with the stylus. Next you'll have to have Kirby run into them. Most enemies don't have powers to offer Kirby. Those that do offer Kirby awesome powers. The spark ability has been given a huge boost. It shoots a huge blast of electricity upwards, demolishing blocks and enemies above. The familiar stone ability still makes Kirby fall to the ground as a boulder. While you can use this to stomp on enemies it has other uses, like letting a pluffy Kirby sink to the bottom of the ocean. The flame ability has a double use too. It can be used to torch enemies, but it also allows Kirby to do a longer air dash across gaps. Any of the abilities can come to a quick end if Kirby is hit or the stage ends.

Creative use of Kirby's abilities isn't really necessary to complete the early stages. However, if you want to take part in the most addictive part of the game, medal collecting, you'll need to do so. Scattered in every stage are gold King Dee Dee medals. Collecting medals will offer you awards like new songs and even the ability to play as King Dee Dee. If you want to unlock everything there is quite a bit to search for.

There are seven level over all, each with a different theme. For instance there is the futuristic Neo Geneo world that acts like a huge pinball machine. Ieras Adventure has a ruins feel to it with plenty of underwater regions to explore. Whether you're challenging the classic Kirby inspired Reddy Land or exploring Aronge Volley the game flows the same way. You'll play through three stages, with the last one containing a boss mini game. Beating the boss mini game successfully opens up a new area to explore. You'll get a choice of three mini games to complete. One of the mini games plays like the trampoline boss stage from Wario Ware DS. You'll draw little trampolines for Kirby to bounce on to move Kirby the level. Another game is like Simon Says drawing. You'll see a couple of dots on screen and you'll have to connect them the same way you saw them drawn. Early on the mini games are simple, but as you play them over and over they level up. Essentially making a fair learning curve.

Kirby Canvas Curse looks more like a Game Boy Advance title than a DS game. There's no impressive 3D graphics, huge polygon count or anything that will make it showcase the system. However, you have to give credit to Hal Labs for making a story book styled game. The world has a cute hand drawn feel to it, even if gamers may criticize it for being overly cute. Every game out there doesn't need to have dark scenery to be cool. Kirby defiantly proves this right, so don't judge this game as childish by a glance at the pastel colors.

If you have a Nintendo DS you should pick up Kirby Canvas Curse. This game showcases a unique title that's designed for the DS. Best of all it's genuinely fun to play. It's not some technical demo, like a few other DS titles out there. Everyone from the hardcore FPS frag machine to a person who strayed away from games all their life can pick up Touch! Kirby. Being universally enjoyable is just another benefit, making this one of the best DS games to date.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 1

There are Japanese menus to navigate through, but a few menus do offer a little English text. The main menu that gamers will be concerned with is the menu for unlocks. If you don't know Japanese you won't know what you're unlocking, a minor problem really. The actual game is easy to learn and easy to play irregardless of language.

US Bound?

A US release is scheduled for June 20th under the name Kirby Canvas Curse.

Overall

Honestly, this is one of the few games that actually tries to use the DS' unique abilities. On top of that the game is really enjoyable from, even if it's short and maybe too "cute" for some gamers.