Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush (Wii U) Review

By Shanker Varma 28.05.2015 1

Review for Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U

In 2005, Kirby rolled onto the Nintendo DS in Kirby: Power Paintbrush, which was praised for its excellent use of the touch screen and stylus to deliver a truly brilliant adventure. A decade later, the Wii U plays host to a spiritual sequel that is every bit as enjoyable thanks to the GamePad and a range of challenges that appeal to casuals and the hardcore alike.

The aim of each level in Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is to guide Kirby between platforms and around hazards to reach the goal using only the GamePad. The only way to move Kirby is by tapping him on the screen, which sends him rolling in the direction that he is facing. Drawing rainbow ropes will then alter his trajectory so that he can collect stars, avoid obstacles or tackle enemies before they hurt him.

It's easy to see that a lot of time and care has gone into crafting each world as new gameplay concepts are frequently introduced. Not only does this stave off repetition, it also shows the creativity of the developers as Kirby and the rainbow ropes are used to create unique mechanics. A great example of this comes in the first world where Kirby is transformed into a tank and the stylus can be used to shoot at enemies, as well as create tracks for the pink machine. Playing this game is as enjoyable as it is inspirational thanks to such excellent level design, which also carries over to the boss levels at the end of each world. Even the reoccurrence of certain bosses feels different thanks to variations in their tactics.

Screenshot for Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U

Collectors of amiibo will be pleased to know that compatibility is included, but it is sadly limited to just Kirby, King Dedede and Meta Knight. Tapping a character to the GamePad gives Kirby a new ability, which is short-lived as it disappears at the end of a stage or when Kirby loses a life, whichever comes first. Each amiibo can only be used once a day, so saving them for specific stages is key to maximising their power, but all three offer something different. While this won't prove to be a big incentive to hunt down these elusive figurines, they do provide a welcome bonus to those who already have them in their collections.

The main campaign also supports up to three other people who can assume the role of a Waddle Dee to help Kirby on his adventure. These clay companions can be controlled with Wii Remotes or Pro Controllers to move around levels, attack enemies with spears and even pick up Kirby. The frantic, but enjoyable, chaos seen in other multiplayer platformers, like New Super Mario Bros. U, is easy to replicate here, and is a great way to share this wonderful experience with others.

Screenshot for Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U

At first glance, it is easy to dismiss this as an experience for children, thanks to its colourful nature and relatively simple objective, but the reality is something that can capture the interests of nearly anyone. Every stage has a number of hidden treasure chests to find, some of which are hidden behind difficult tasks that only the best will accomplish. Unlocking each chest at the end of a level gives a new figurine of the characters in the game, or a music track from the Kirby universe, which provides an even greater incentive for finding them all.

The stars that populate each level also have collectible merit as they affect the rating given at the end of each level. A gold, silver or bronze medal is awarded with regard to the number of stars that Kirby has picked up and, as the game progresses, it becomes necessary to collect even more stars when going for the gold. One way of doing this is by quickly and efficiently moving between star clusters to increase the combo count and receive even more stars. These optional challenges add extra layers of complexity to the game, without alienating those looking for a simpler challenge, to create a game that can appeal equally to casual and hardcore gamers, as well as everyone in between.

It's easy to get lost in the amazingly beautiful design of each world as Kirby and his surroundings have been rendered with a striking clay design. The journey through Seventopia reflects the colours of the rainbow, and each world, from Green Valley to Purple Fortress, is wonderfully created to deliver one of the best looking experiences on the Wii U. Sadly, it is tricky to play the game without constantly looking at the GamePad, which, while still looking great, does not do justice to the fantastic artwork on show. Nonetheless, every world is still a delight to play through and the varied environments lend themselves well to the gameplay as, for example, jets of water propel Kirby across the screen.

Screenshot for Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U

This stunning game is made even more endearing as it comes with a hugely impressive soundtrack. In addition to variations of classic Kirby themes, the score introduces a number of amazing new pieces that complement the action in an almost magical way. Whether it's floating through the calming blue of the Sky Palace, or frantically outrunning the lava of the Red Volcano, the music magnificently matches the mood and pace of the players' actions. In a further treat for audiophiles, there is a sound test mode, which plays songs from the game itself, as well as titles from Kirby's colourful past.

Outside of the main campaign, a number of challenge rooms are available to further test the skills that have developed by guiding Kirby on a rainbow adventure. Each room presents a series of timed trials that must be completed to earn a better ranking. Once again, this shows that it can appeal to a range of tastes as failure of a single trial is not fatal to experiencing other stages, but mastering them all is mandatory when seeking gold medals.

Screenshot for Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Not since Super Mario 3D World has the Wii U, or any platform, seen such a cheerful and enchanting platformer. Guiding Kirby around each world in Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is a true delight thanks to fluid controls, innovative gameplay and magnificent audio and visual presentation. The challenge of finding every hidden collectible means that there is something for practically everyone, as a range of skill sets have been accommodated by the developers. It's hard to finish the game without being hungry for more, but this is due to the high quality on offer, not a lack of content, while the budget pricing makes it exceptional value for money.

Also known as

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse


HAL Laboratory




2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I'd take a point off for it being a bit on the easy side. :p Still though it's great fun and Kirby is hilarious. He isn't stuck as a ball which makes it seem like he doesn't really give a care about saving the world. XD

He's just like "Och, better go save the world again..."

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