A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is an adventure game that features some mild fantasy violence. Specifically, the pink protagonist can transform into a couple of vehicles (tank, sub, rocket) that can shoot missiles at enemies that disappear when struck; it should be known that combat isn't the primary focus of the game. Although it does feature a tutorial that explains the controls very well, interacting with Kirby isn't as intuitive as it could be, which could increase frustration in players. Kids also might ask parents to buy amiibo characters, which are optional action figures that can be used in the game to unlock special abilities.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
In KIRBY AND THE RAINBOW CURSE, the pudgy and pink Kirby and his (equally as round) friend Waddle Dee discover a mysterious hole opening up in the sky, which drains all the color from the once-idyllic Dream Land. With the help of a paintbrush fairy, the duo travels through a portal to find who's responsible and to restore color to Dream Land. Instead of controlling Kirby, gamers draw on the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen with a stylus or fingertip, which creates rainbow ropes to help Kirby navigate the strange worlds, collect stars, open treasure boxes, and defeat enemies. At times, Kirby can transform into other objects -- such as an underwater submarine, a soaring plane, or a tank with brute force -- and get past tougher levels and bigger boss battles. The game can be played solo, but up to three friends can drop in and out at any time using Wii Remotes to play as Kirby's friends. Plus, there's support for amiibo action figures to unlock special abilities.
Is it any good?
On one hand, the colorful "claymation" look of the game, unique Wii U GamePad integration, and multiplayer support all make Kirby and the Rainbow Curse a solid addition to a Wii U owner's library. Unfortunately, the game also is plagued by some issues that mar the overall experience. For one, the controls, while refreshingly different, are often frustrating. The game starts off easy enough, but drawing on the screen requires meticulous accuracy to get all the things you need to pick up, avoid, or smash into -- but it's often unresponsive (which isn't a good combination). Or the timing of your stylus taps seems to be off. As a result, you might find yourself wrestling with the controls by the third level or so, instead of mastering them; in fact, Kirby's "Jell-O-y" physics can make it harder to direct him where you want him to go. Secondly, while the environments change over time, level tasks largely remain the same. It doesn't take long to feel déjà vu -- but bringing in friends helps make the experience better; one or more Waddle Dees can time their jumps and slash at enemies to help Kirby do his thing.
Though it's not a huge disappointment, the nagging control issues do take away from much of the fun. It's too bad because this is a kid-friendly game that's ideal for the entire family to play together. As a result, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse doesn't soar as high as it could -- that might have been accomplished with perhaps a little more testing and tweaking of the gameplay.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the cartoonish combat in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. Is the popularity of this game proof that you don't need excessive violence to make a successful franchise? Should other game companies emulate this kind of play? Why, or why not?
Talk about social gaming. Do you prefer to play games alone or with friends? Do you enjoy the pressure to perform well when playing cooperatively, or would you rather take on challenges by yourself?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: February 24, 2015
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.