Kirby: Canvas Curse

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Kirby: Canvas Curse
Kirby Canvas Curse Game Cover.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s)HAL Laboratory
Director(s)Motomi Katayama
Producer(s)Hiroaki Suga
Masayoshi Tanimura
Kensuke Tanabe
Designer(s)Tomomi Minami
Programmer(s)Teruyuki Gunji
Composer(s)Jun Ishikawa
Tadashi Ikegami
Platform(s)Nintendo DS, Wii U
ReleaseNintendo DS
  • JP: March 24, 2005
  • NA: June 13, 2005
  • AU: October 6, 2005[1]
  • EU: November 25, 2005
Wii U Virtual Console
  • PAL: December 3, 2015[2]
  • JP: February 3, 2016
  • NA: October 13, 2016

Kirby: Canvas Curse,[a] known in Europe as Kirby: Power Paintbrush, is a platforming video game developed by HAL Laboratory, published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS and released in 2005. While Kirby: Canvas Curse is a platformer, it does not play like a traditional Kirby video game, as it uses the stylus exclusively. In 2014, Nintendo announced a Wii U sequel to the game titled Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, released in 2015.


One day, a strange portal appears in the sky, and out of it comes a witch named Drawcia. Drawcia casts a spell over Dream Land, turning it into a world of paint. Upon fleeing back into the portal she came through, Kirby gives chase, eventually finding himself in Drawcia's also paint-themed world. The witch curses Kirby, turning him into a limbless ball. After Drawcia escapes, the Magical Paintbrush (Power Paintbrush in the European version) turns to the player to help Kirby. The player and Kirby set off to find and defeat Drawcia to restore Dream Land to its normal state. Along the way, Drawcia creates replicas of Kirby's oldest foes to slow him down. These include Paint Roller, Kracko, Kracko Jr., and King Dedede.


Screenshot depicting the gameplay in Kirby: Canvas Curse

Unlike most previous Kirby games, the player does not directly control Kirby with a directional pad, face buttons, or shoulder buttons. Instead, the player only uses the stylus and touch screen to control Kirby, who rolls around in ball form. The player can draw rainbow lines, which Kirby will roll on, or poke Kirby, to make him do a little speed dash.[3] These rainbow paths can form ramps or bridges for Kirby to cross, or walls to protect him from enemy projectiles. Drawing paths depletes the player's rainbow ink supplies, which recharges slowly while Kirby is in the air or on a path, but quickly when Kirby is on the ground. These paths eventually disappear, even faster if another path is painted. However, the player must either tap on Kirby to cause him to dash forward onto the path, or have the path created directly underneath him, causing him to automatically move forward on it.

The player can use the stylus to stun enemies by tapping on it. Afterwards, the player can either allow Kirby to roll into the enemy with his own momentum or by dashing to defeat the enemy. Defeating certain kinds of enemies by either dashing into them or touching them while stunned causes Kirby to gain one of several special abilities, which may be used at any time by tapping Kirby himself. This special ability replaces the dash. Once an ability is obtained, the only way Kirby can lose it is either by tapping a button in the bottom left corner or by being damaged. This is also the only way to get a different ability from the one Kirby already has.

Kirby: Canvas Curse spans eight worlds, with all but one having three levels. A variety of themes are used throughout the game. These themes range from a volcanic area to a frozen area. The objective of every level in the game is to reach a rainbow-colored doorway. As the player makes progress in the game, the environmental hazards become far more plentiful. In one level, the player must maneuver Kirby quickly enough to avoid getting defeated by an ever-rising body of lava. Occasionally, Kirby will come across a barrier, which prevents the paint lines from being created inside of them, forcing Kirby to do nothing but roll, dash, and use a power (if applicable). Portions of these levels can be played in Rainbow Run mode, where speed and amount of paint used are key factors in the player's success.

At the end of each world except for world seven, Kirby must face a boss. In worlds one through six, the first time he completes them, he must face one of each boss - Paint Roller, Kracko, or King Dedede (all of whom must be battled twice). With the exception of the final boss, all bosses are mini-game based. The boss of world eight is the main villain of Kirby: Canvas Curse, Drawcia Sorceress. Drawcia starts out in her standard form. Upon defeat, she will transform into a large ball of paint with five eyes and a mouth called Drawcia Soul.

Kirby: Canvas Curse features special collectibles called Medals, which can be used to unlock secret features in the game, such as characters, sound tests, and alternate paint colors. There are three ways for the player to find a Medal. The first way is to get one in one of the main levels. Each level has three Medals to be found, all of which can be seen on the map if Kirby is in the correct area and close enough. It is often required that the player do something particularly challenging to acquire one, and the difficulty of the challenge is respective to the difficulty of the level. Another way is through Rainbow Run mode. In it, Kirby must complete a portion of one of the main levels, with the objective being either getting through it as fast as possible, or getting through it while trying to use as little paint as possible. Reaching a certain peg awards Kirby with one or more Medals. The third way is by defeating the lesser bosses outside of the main game with an A Rank on the third level in each of the boss battles.


Aggregate score
Review scores
Game Informer8.5/10[9]
Game RevolutionB+[11]
GamePro4/5 stars[10]
GameSpy4.5/5 stars[13]
Nintendo Power9/10[15]
Detroit Free Press3/4 stars[16]
The Sydney Morning Herald4/5 stars[17]
GameSpyEditors' Choice[13]
IGNEditors' Choice Award[18]

Kirby: Canvas Curse received "favorable" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[4] In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of one nine, two eights, and one nine for a total of 34 out of 40.[8]

1UP called it "genuinely excellent", saying that "it's a welcome reinvention of gaming's most overplayed genre" and later concluded that Canvas Curse is "the DS's first great game".[19] The stylus gameplay has also been noted, with IGN hailing it as "incredibly innovative", GameSpy saying it is "quite rewarding", and GameSpot calling it "a satisfying part of the gameplay."[12][13][3] Official Nintendo Magazine ranked it the 96th best game available on Nintendo platforms.[20] On the other hand, Play's editor disagreed, noting that "it's innovative... but for me, that's not enough."[21]

The New York Times gave it a very favorable review and called it "tremendous fun".[22] The Sydney Morning Herald gave it four stars out of five, saying that "Kirby's use of touch-screen technology provides a fresh and engaging game."[17] However, Detroit Free Press gave it three stars out of four, stating that "there is some nice innovation, such as levels that are completely black until Kirby bumps into lanterns that put off light. And as we all know, in dark places like this, it's good to have a friend."[16]

Kirby: Canvas Curse was the third best-selling game in Japan during its week of release at 75,365 units sold.[23] Famitsu annual sales for the region show the game sold 276,418 copies by the end of 2005.[24] According to NPD Group, the game sold just under 80,000 copies in North America during the month of June 2005.[25] The following month, it was the top-selling DS game in the region at 50,000 copies.[26]


  1. ^ Known in Japan as Touch! Kirby (タッチ!カービィ, Tacchi! Kābī)


  1. ^ "Nintendo DS price drop: As of September 22nd". Nintendo Australia. September 14, 2005. Archived from the original on October 18, 2005. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  2. ^ "Weekly download news". Nintendo of Europe. December 3, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Harris, Craig (June 10, 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse". IGN. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Kirby: Canvas Curse for DS Reviews". Metacritic.
  5. ^ Edge staff (June 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse". Edge (150): 90.
  6. ^ EGM staff (August 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse". Electronic Gaming Monthly (194): 116.
  7. ^ Walker, John (October 22, 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "New Famitsu Scores". The Magic Box. March 16, 2005. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "Kirby: Canvas Curse". Game Informer (148): 108. August 2005.
  10. ^ Rice Burner (June 30, 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse DS [sic] Review for DS on". GamePro. Archived from the original on November 20, 2005. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  11. ^ Silverman, Ben (June 23, 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (June 13, 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse Review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c Theobald, Phil (June 14, 2005). "GameSpy: Kirby Canvas Curse". GameSpy. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
  14. ^ Bedigian, Louis (June 15, 2005). "Kirby: Canvas Curse - NDS - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Kirby: Canvas Curse". Nintendo Power. 194: 82. August 2005.
  16. ^ a b Schaefer, Jim (June 10, 2005). "Kirby fans will have a ball in newest title". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on September 17, 2005. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Hill, Jason (October 6, 2005). "Fresh and engaging". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  18. ^ " Editor's Choice Awards (DS)". IGN. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  19. ^ Parish, Jeremy (June 13, 2005). "Kirby Canvas Curse". Archived from the original on February 4, 2013.
  20. ^ East, Tom (February 17, 2009). "Nintendo Feature: 100 Best Nintendo Games: Part One". Official Nintendo Magazine. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  21. ^ "Kirby: Canvas Curse". Play: 57. August 2005.
  22. ^ Herold, Charles (June 17, 2005). "Painting Rainbows, Not Battle Scenes". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  23. ^ Jenkins, David (April 4, 2005). "Japanese Sales Charts, Week Ending March 27th". Gamasutra. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  24. ^ "GEIMIN.NET/2005年テレビゲームソフト売り上げTOP500" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 28, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  25. ^ Maragos, Nich (July 22, 2005). "June 2005 U.S. Sales See GTA, Pokémon On Top". Gamasutra. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  26. ^ Jenkins, David (August 15, 2005). "July U.S. Sales See NCAA Football Dominate". Gamasutra. Retrieved October 6, 2016.

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