|When you slide your stylus across the Touch Screen, you draw a rainbow line. When Kirby rides on rainbow lines, he rolls in the direction the line was drawn.|
— Kirby: Canvas Curse manual, pg. 8
Rainbow Lines (referred to as Rainbow Ropes in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse) are colorful lines drawn by the stylus on the touch-screen of the Nintendo DS in Kirby: Canvas Curse and on the Wii U Game Pad in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. These lines are drawn by the player using the Magical Paintbrush in the former game, and by Elline in the latter. Using these lines, the player can guide Kirby by creating for him a path to follow, or they can be used to protect him from various hazards such as enemy projectiles, lasers, and bottomless pits. Rainbow lines can be drawn anywhere on the screen, except in Gray Zones, but careful monitoring of the Ink Gauge is necessary, as if ink runs out, no lines can be drawn. Ink replenishes quickly while Kirby is on the ground, but slowly while suspended in the air or riding rainbow lines.
Rainbow Lines are mostly used to guide Kirby's movements. Due to Kirby's movement limitations in these games, the lines are his only way to get over walls and open pits. Kirby will follow the direction the line was drawn. Loops can be drawn to speed Kirby up as though a dash move has been activated. Lines drawn too steep will ricochet Kirby's direction of travel. Whenever a second line is drawn the first will begin to disappear quickly.
Using rainbow lines under water inverts the mechanics somewhat. Since Kirby's ball form naturally floats, lines need to be overhead to guide him. In Gray Zones, Rainbow Lines cannot be drawn at all. Rainbow Lines can also be used to block wind or currents from contact-activated fans to free Kirby's movements.
Lines can block on-coming projectile attacks from Shotzos, Flame Shotzos, lasers, and more. Clever use of the ink can both protect Kirby and provide the rail to travel on. Some enemies (like Thudd) are able to attack through rainbow lines and even destroy them. Of all the boss fights in Kirby: Canvas Curse, only the Drawcia battle requires the use of rainbow lines.
Specifics by game
Kirby: Canvas Curse
Rainbow Lines first appear in Kirby: Canvas Curse, where they are conjured using the Magical Paintbrush in order to help Kirby defeat Drawcia. By default, they resemble colorful lines that follow the shape they are drawn in and continually shift through the colors of the rainbow.
Additional ink styles can be unlocked in Medal Swap. These include a black and white Zebra Line, a studded Bead Line, and a primary color studded Tropic Line. The ink styles can be changed at any time in the Options menu.
- Main article: Rainbow Run
Line Trial is a mode of Rainbow Run in which ink usage must be minimal in order to receive the medal prizes. The courses are from areas of the main game levels, but replacing the World of Drawcia with unlockable courses. The top screen replaces the map with a large ink bottle filled with Rainbow styled ink. The bottle has incremental markings on it, to gauge usage.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
In Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, rainbow ropes serve largely the same purpose as before, but are now painted by Elline and resemble coiled clay ropes that continually change color. The spin of these ropes also more clearly indicates what direction they will make Kirby travel if he rides them. These slowly lose their color saturation as they begin to wear out, and are quickly overridden if another rainbow rope is drawn through them. Rainbow Ropes are also generally more fragile than rainbow lines in Kirby: Canvas Curse, since a single explosive projectile will destroy them.
In addition to guiding Kirby, rainbow ropes can also be used to build platforms for Waddle Dees to stand on and jump from. Inkwells can also be found in this game, which immediately replenishing the Ink Gauge without needing Kirby to land on solid ground. The Rainbow Rope also has unique interactions with Kirby's transformations, which are spelled out in more detail on the Kirby Tank, Kirby Submarine, and Kirby Rocket pages.
Using the rainbow rope to redirect Kirby Submarine's torpedoes in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse