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Kirby: Canvas Curse is a platformer game for the Nintendo DS, starring a limbless Kirby. It makes use of the DS's touch screen abilities, which are used to control everything in the game, and two screens, which allows the level to be seen on the bottom screen and level info to be seen on the top screen. It is said by many to be the first "complete" DS game, rather than a mini-game or test of the DS capabilities.
Unlike other Kirby games, Kirby is constantly in a ball form in Canvas Curse. Thus, the player must tap Kirby with the stylus to make him go forward in his current direction, or draw rainbow lines that Kirby will stick to and follow like a conveyor belt. Lines can also be used to block lasers, flamethrowers, arrows, and other dangers before they hit Kirby. Sometimes, there will be obstacles in your way, such as star blocks. You must tap these obstacles to make them disappear.
As in other Kirby games, Kirby can absorb the powers of enemies. He receives the power when he defeats the enemy, which he can do in two ways. The first way is to tap Kirby and make him charge forward into the enemy. Kirby must hit the enemy before he stops charging. The second way is to tap the enemy, which stuns it, then roll Kirby into the enemy while it is stunned. Enemy powers are used by tapping Kirby, meaning he cannot use the boost while he has a power. However, some powers also boost Kirby when used.
Canvas Curse features seven worlds with three levels each in its Story Mode. Each level contains at least three areas, as well as three bronze medals to collect. Bronze medals are usually hidden or hard to get to. In the case of some medals, you must hit a switch in a later level to get to it.
The first time you beat the third level of a world, you will go to the Boss Stage menu. Here, you can pick between three "boss mini-games" where you fight one of the bosses. The first time you play any mini-game, it will be Level 1, the most simple version of the game. However, when you play it again, it will be Level 2, a slightly harder version. After beating Level 2 of any boss mini-game, you will unlock it in the Subgames section. Once it's unlocked in the Subgames menu you can play both the levels you beat in the main game, in addition to a new, harder level. You will not, however, be able to pick it as the end-of-world mini-game anymore.
Rainbow Run is a mode where you can play levels from any world you've beaten. Each level has two modes: Time Trial and Line Trial. Time Trial is just what you'd expect; beat the level as fast as possible. In Line Trial, you must use as little ink from drawing lines as possible. If you complete the level fast enough or have enough ink left, you will get a medal for every one of the three preset scores you beat. Usually, the area played in Time Trial and the area played in Line Trial are different areas of the level.
Medal Swap is a menu where you can use your bronze medals to buy unlockables. You can buy new line styles to replace the rainbow lines, eight new levels to play in Rainbow Run, three extra life points that will extend Kirby's maximum health, several unlockable characters, and an option to change all of the music in the game to that of Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland's.