Kirby And The Rainbow Paintbrush Review

The beloved pink puffball begins his first Wii U solo adventure in Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush. With only three power-ups, the paintbrush fairy Elline and Waddle Dee to help him, players will guide Kirby across marshmallow-like ropes in a clay-crafted world, oozing with charm and delectable intrigue at every turn.

As a direct sequel to the DS title Kirby: Power Paintbrush – or Kirby: Canvas Curse, as it is known in North America – and developed by Hal Laboratory, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush delivers the magic of play-doh at the touch of your stylus. With 22 levels stretched across seven rainbow-led areas, the Wii U game features such stylish and languid serenity it’s akin to a casual beach stroll in the summer sunshine, rather than a Caribbean cruise on choppy waters. But that’s not to say Kirby takes a smooth ride with every roll in his claymation form, with plenty levels full of pitfalls, hazards and tricky moments for players to work up a sweat.

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It’s such an adorable tableau I just want to squish it. But it’s made of clay. Oh.

Perhaps it’s the adorable clay animation that makes Kirby’s opening sequence one of the cutest ever witnessed, but it certainly tugs at our heartstrings when Dream Land is sapped of all its beautiful and vibrant colour following the appearance of a mysterious void. Brought back to life by the paintbrush fairy Elline, Kirby and Waddle Dee must take their chances against the evil forces in Seventopia, led by the wicked Claycia, in order to rid the dull hue from Dream Land.

Armed with an ink gauge, players must use the GamePad’s stylus to draw colourful ropes from left to right – or vice versa – for the pink puffball to roll under or over, whilst collecting stars, bonus treasure chests and secret diary entries across levels. Yet, despite the accuracy when drawing from stylus to GamePad, Kirby feels oddly unresponsive at times, particularly when coaxing him onto a newly drawn rope. He’ll occasionally roll the other way if he bumps into the start of a rope or will come to a complete standstill, refusing to budge, even though a rope is quite clearly beneath. It’s this lack of control that makes the game’s levels frustrating and confusing to newcomers. Fans of the series may fare better following the learning curve, though may share in equally stressful times when it comes to piloting Kirby across zipwires in a hanging basket during later levels.

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Sadly you’ll be looking down at the GamePad for most of the game, but hey, rainbow ropes are fun.

With only four hit points, players will need to utilise Kirby’s defence tactics wisely by tapping him to build up speed and bump into enemies. Collecting over 100 stars will allow Kirby to perform a star dash and break through those super sturdy metal blocks to reveal hidden chests or pathways for players. But due to his turbo-charged and frenetic nature, Kirby’s star dash can be difficult to control with your ink gauge and occasionally initiates when tapping the pink puffball for a simple speed boost, only adding to the dissatisfaction. It is, however, incredibly handy to store several star dashes at once given there’s no cap limit on star collection.

In story mode, players will have the opportunity to use special Kirby power-ups in various levels, including a rocket, submarine and tank. Aside from providing level diversity, both the submarine and tank power-ups control beautifully and seamlessly. The underwater levels – normally insufferable in many franchises – are absolutely breathtaking in HD visuals and are expertly designed to allow for fluid, elegant control. Rainbow Paintbrush also includes a level which allows players to control two Kirby’s at one time and, though it may seem perplexing on paper, it works with such devilish, playful charm it is completely irresistible and a highlight of the game.

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Submarine Kirby controls like a dream in the underwater levels. Totally intended pun.

But, equally, there are also oddly convoluted levels such as the volcanic area, which considerably spikes in difficulty and often contains awkwardly placed obstructions to halt and frustrate players – especially if you are left-handed. And while the eight boss levels are fun they are largely uninspired, with three repeated, though the final showdown does shake the monotonous feel.

Aside from the main gameplay, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush features multiplayer and challenge modes. The latter features over 40 different mini challenges, where players must beat the clock to find four treasure chests hidden in the levels. It’s a good change of pace, giving extra length to an otherwise short game. Multiplayer mode, on the other hand, allows four players to join the claymation game and play alongside Kirby as Waddle Dees. While it creates an additional enemy in Grab Hand, the mode feels disjointed as Waddle Dees must follow Kirby on screen, getting transported if you dare to stray too far.

With a completed game at just over 7 hours of total play, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush feels too short. The HD visuals are astounding with the clay animation but, with touch-based controls, those gorgeous colours are pallid in comparison on the GamePad. Perhaps if there was an additional single player button mode utilising Waddle Dee, Rainbow Paintbrush may have had longevity. But for now, Kirby’s paintbrush rope is a little frayed despite its glossy front. We’ll keep on rolling until his next adventure.

7.5/10

Based on the PAL Version

You Can Now Pre-Order Splatoon Amiibo At Walmart

US retailer Walmart now has various Splatoon Amiibo packs available for pre-order. Due to arrive on May 29 alongside Nintendo’s upcoming colourful shooter for Wii U, Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy and a special triple pack featuring an Inkling Squid can now be pre-ordered on Walmart’s official website. But given how quickly amiibo sell, make sure you place your order as soon as possible for guaranteed delivery by ordering at the links above. Both inklings can be purchased for $12.99, while the triple pack comes in at $34.99.

As has been the case since their release, grabbing select amiibo can be particularly difficult. Yesterday, four figures from Wave 5 were available for a short period of time on the Nintendo UK store including Dark Pit, Ganondorf, Zero Suit Samus and Palutena. Let us know if you’re considering purchasing the various Splatoon amiibo in the comments below.

LEGO Dimensions Gets An Amusing Extended Announcement Trailer

New toy-to-life video game LEGO Dimensions has received an amusing extended trailer following its announcement yesterday. Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group has once again joined forces to reveal a new LEGO game, which will feature various film franchises including The Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, The Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie and DC Comics universe. Taking the lead as the three main characters, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle must work together to save the LEGO race after a mysterious and powerful vortex appears in various LEGO worlds.

The five-minute extended trailer – which is embedded above – adds more depth to the live-action world, delivering its classic comedy with a few more famous movie one-liners. LEGO Dimensions will launch on various platforms, including Wii U, on September 27 this year. Similar to Disney Infinity, the LEGO Group will launch a starter pack alongside the game’s release, featuring a LEGO toy pad, bricks to build the gateway, 3 main character minifigures and a LEGO Batmobile vehicle.

Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Says He Would Like Banjo In Next Super Smash Bros DLC

Microsoft Studios’ head Phil Spencer has said “it would be cool” if Banjo was included in the next DLC update for Super Smash Bros. Earlier today, the Xbox boss remarked to a fan on Twitter that he’d be open to the idea of the Rareware honey bear’s inclusion in Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS brawler.

Phil Spencer’s answer follows Nintendo’s decision to open a global poll for the game, in which fans can vote for their favourite characters to be added as fighters. As such, the voted-in characters will then be considered by director Masahiro Sakurai and his team. Be sure to vote for your favourite at the official website here, if you haven’t already done so. Voting closes on October 3, 2015.

Nintendo UK Uploads Handy Mario Kart 8 150cc Versus 200cc Comparison Video

Nintendo UK has uploaded a neat Mario Kart 8 video comparing the differences in speed between 150cc and 200cc engine classes. Announced earlier this week during a Nintendo Direct, the Wii U racing title will feature a brand new 200cc engine class for truly manic high-speed thrills. The video embedded above may just pop your head into a spin as it showcases Mario racing across Dolphin Shoals, with the 150cc on the left and the new higher speed class on the right.

The new engine class will arrive as part of a free downloadable update for those who own the game on April 23, alongside the Animal Crossing DLC pack. The earlier than expected DLC will bring new vehicles, including the Streetle and City Tripper, as well as two new cups and four playable characters with Isabelle, male and female Villager, and Dry Bowser. If you haven’t already done so, you can pre-purchase the Mario Kart 8 x Animal Crossing pack through the in-game shop or on the Nintendo eShop.

DreamRift Announces Monster Tale Ultimate For 3DS eShop

Florida-based developer DreamRift has revealed a remastered version of Monster Tale will arrive exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS eShop later this year. Originally released on the Nintendo DS in 2011, Monster Tale was received favourably among critics upon release and featured virtual pet elements, alongside metroidvania gameplay. The title Рwhich followed a young girl named Ellie and her monster companion on various quests through Monster World Рhas had a complete overhaul by the studio and will showcase new areas and visuals, as well as restore balance and introduce backtracking to the gameplay, without making it necessarily easier.

Monster Tale Ultimate is currently a 3DS eShop exclusive only, though DreamRift says a retail version may be considered in the future. The studio’s creative director Peter Ong said the following below in support of the game. Monster Tale Ultimate will target a Spring 2015 release on the Nintendo handheld. You can view a trailer for the original DS game above.

“A lot of the rebalancing has nothing to do with difficulty. [It] is, instead, about making the various components of the game more balanced in a manner that makes the game more strategically interesting.”

 

Mario Party 10 Review

It’s time to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer with Nintendo’s first HD Mario Party game for the Wii U. Promising a strong mix of luck and skill-based minigames, the game’s three party modes flourish with friends and refresh the franchise. But a series of drawbacks really kills the merrymaking mood, quicker than Bowser’s fiery breath.

Developed by Nintendo’s SPD team, Mario Party 10 brings two new modes to the buffet table with a GamePad-focused Bowser mode and Amiibo party, which echoes the classic mode from past series’ entries, as well as the returning Mario Party mode. With over 70 minigames to play, including 10 boss stages featuring enemies from the Mario universe, and a variety of extras in Toad’s room, players are unlikely to throw in the towel after a few short hours. But, as always, the franchise is best served in multiplayer with its infuriating RNG rates to test even the hardiest of relationships. Sore losers will crumble, newcomers will triumph, and the Luigi death stare will make a comeback between friends. Yet the resulting fun and ongoing hilarity with character animations is just too good to miss.

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My own Yoshi amiibo had an eggs-ellent time collecting coins and stars on his green-tiled board. Yes, I used that pun.

The best mode, perhaps, is one that stays closest to the iconic board game with Amiibo Party. Yet ironically, it’s the “bonus” section you can only unlock with a compatible figure model from the Super Mario series. As such, Smash fans can use their Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong and Rosalina amiibo with this mode, along with Toad and the remaining cast from the Super Mario Collection. Fortunately, not every player needs to own an amiibo, as just one model figure will unlock a character board. As per classic Mario Party rules, players can move their character figure around the board individually with the roll of a computer generated die, collecting coins to grab those elusive stars. Each round will give you a chance to build up your stack of coins via a minigame, in free-for-all, two versus two and three against one.

Yet it’s in amiibo party’s customisation mode that really keeps the festivities varied and interesting. Drawn into four segments, the circular board can be customised to your liking after picking up a number of scattered character tokens. Blending the DK jungle with Peach’s castle, or Mario’s pipes and Yoshi’s mountainous eggs helps keep players on their toes. And it’s not set in stone once you begin playing either, with players freely able to mix and match between character boards throughout gameplay. It’s truly a fantastic blend of chaos and fun rolled into one.

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The perfect party for your best Bowser impressions. Release the carnage in the only GamePad mode!

As part of the only mode that utilises the Wii U GamePad, Bowser Party works as a mad dash to the dessert spread, where all the good stuff vanishes in the first few moments. Picture whippy cream for kids; amazing in the moment but a mess to clean up. Similarly, Bowser mode can be utterly delightful in its twisted minigame carnage, where knocking players out with fireballs, hammer slams and bullet bills is fantastically entertaining, as well as making excellent use of the GamePad’s gyroscope and touchscreen controls.

But if you’re a regular player cooped up in a vehicle, you’ll be fighting for your life in minigames devilishly skewed in Bowser’s favour, with very little drive to reach the end. And unless Bowser rolls a number to catch up to your vehicle, players will be stuck without a minigame in dreadfully boring cat-and-mouse territory. And don’t we always want to be the cat?

Although vehicles in Bowser Party feel justified, cramming all four players into a car in Mario Party mode dilutes gameplay, creates friction and tilts many of the available boards directly into luck-based fields. Players can choose from six boards in the luscious Mushroom Park, sinister Haunted Trail, the idyllic Whimsical Waters, the cloud-filled Airship Central and Bowser’s brutal Chaos Castle. Each board has its particulars, from Boos to hot lava, and can be adjusted via the menu to involve no luck-based minigames, vehicle selection and to change the CPU difficulty.

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The rolling green fields of Mushroom Park are so lush we could probably live there. Just don’t bring any flint and steel.

Aesthetically, Mario Party mode looks beautiful, with character animations fluid and funny as many fans would expect. Yet, unfortunately, the boards feel far too short. The minigames are sparse, despite being such a pleasure to play, mini star gates will only distribute to one player, and occasionally you’ll miss out on the coolest sections of the board because one character has mixed up the order of play. However, the mode’s saving grace is in its fixed boss fights.

With ten minigame boss fights, players can crank out their skills and best a huge Goomba by bopping on its head or take on Bowser in an epic end battle. As such, working as a team to beat the boss delivers great satisfaction, along with trying to thwart your friends and push them into danger for your own selfish needs. In fact, many of Mario Party 10’s minigames are top notch, with only a few duds including the narcissism-led Flash Forward and the clunky controlled Piggy in the Middle. While race-to-the-finish minigames such as Ice Slide, You Slide; Snake Block Party; Rapid River Race; and Peepa Panic all deliver fun-filled action, as well as others such as Steal the Beat and Boo Burglars to add rhythm and teamwork to the mix.

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OK, this guy. I mean THIS GUY is just a hoot. Unlock him and play as him. You will not regret it.

Other than the three main modes, Mario Party 10 has many extras in Toad’s room, achievement unlocks and bonus minigames such as Bowser’s challenge, a minigame tournament and a coin challenge. Players will also be able to unlock two new characters with Toadette and Spike, the latter providing laugh-out-loud, killer dance moves which are not to be missed. Yet since the game relies solely on Wiimote controllers, the GamePad is seemingly shoved into a corner, wearing the only dunce-labelled party hat in the room.

With the lack of a real single-player challenge and online mode, Mario Party 10 is a little too remote to be the life of a get-together. But the game’s interesting amiibo use, sublimely designed minigames and hilariously frustrating luck rates will certainly help beat the boredom. Mar10 day might have been and gone, but Bowser’s manic mayhem – arguments and all – is here to stay.

7/10