Review: Kid Icarus Uprising

Pit is finally back and he’s here to stay. The angel is back to take care of Medusa’s dark legion of underworld creatures. The last time he had to defeat those monsters was 20 years ago. Although Pit is stronger than ever, a lot has changed during his years of absence.

Uprising is the third game in the Kid Icarus franchise. The first games were known for their variation in the gameplay. At one point the game played as a vertical platform game while at another point it  would shift to a horizontal platform game. This duality  in gameplay is something that hasn’t changed over the years. Kid Icarus Uprising consists out of two different styles of gameplay.

The first piece of gameplay consist out of the on-rails air battles. In these sections of the game the goddess Palutena will grant you the ability to fly. Pit may be an angel but without the help of the goddess he isn’t able to fly at all. During the air battle you won’t have full control over Pit. It is in fact Palutena who’s controlling him through the sky. The only way you can control Pit is by changing his position on the screen to dodge enemies. With your touchscreen you can control the crosshair to shoot down enemies using your shoulder button.

The analog stick, shoulder button and touchscreen are the only buttons you’ll need to survive the air battles and they work very well. The aiming with the touchscreen definitely is something you’ll have to get used to but once you master this control scheme, you’ll discover one of the most fluent on-rail shooters.

Aside from the controls the air levels absolutely look amazing. A lot of love went to the characters models and they all look very unique and gorgeous. The same goes for the environments you’ll witness from high above. We can say without a doubt that Kid Icarus Uprising is one of the best looking 3DS games out there.

Although you’ll be stunned by the graphics and you’ll really start to enjoy the on-rail gameplay, it would start to get rather boring fast. Playing air level after air level just won’t work. Luckily Sakurai (developer of the game and Super Smash Bros. Brawl) came up with the idea to introduce a second gameplay mechanic, the ground level. Each air level is followed by a ground level and aside from the setting this second gameplay idea plays totally different form the on-rail segments.

The one thing that won’t change on the ground is your mission, defeat all the underworld troops. Everything else however will change quite drastically. The first and most logical change is your loss of flying. This time Pit will have to continue his journey on foot. This means that you’ll be controlling Pit with the analog stick and the shoulder button is still used to fire Pit’s weapons. But what about the touchscreen? This time the touchscreen is used for two different things at the same time: aiming and camera control. A control scheme that not everybody would appreciate.

To be honest the first ten minutes of the first ground level can really get frustrating. The controls high up in the air worked like a charm but the controls on the ground aren’t that easy to master. Aiming and controlling the camera at the same time can get really hard for your hands at some time. If you’re holding the 3DS in your hands while playing, cramps will often occur. Lucky for us, Nintendo delivered the 3DS stand in the package of the game.

What this stand does is simply giving you the possibility to let your 3DS rest comfortably on a stand, nothing more, nothing less. It may not sound like that big of a deal but it can really save your experiences with the game. Without the weight of the 3DS in your hands, it’s more easy to control Pit on the ground. It won’t take you that long to master the controls and you’ll be bringing death to all the underworld troops faster than ever before. The 3DS stand is without a doubt more than just another Nintendo accessories, it will give your hands the rest they drastically need while playing this game.

Other than the controls the ground levels do follow a pattern. You’ll always end up defeating the underworld troops with you weapons to finally end up in a spectacular boss battle fight. Those boss battles are without a doubt one of the highlights of the game. Each boss battles plays differently and each boss will need a different strategy to beat. How difficult some battles will be, depends on you.

Kid Icarus Uprising is the first game where you’ll be able to bet on your own skills. Before you start a level, you’ll be given the opportunity to change the difficult level from soft to intense. Based on your skills the game will automatically set the difficult level just right for you but if you’re feeling lucky, you can make it even higher. A higher difficult level means more hidden rooms and more hearts during your play trough. When you lose however, hearts will be lost and you’ll have to play the rest of the level set on a lower difficulty. This is a very unique and challenging way to earn more hearts in this game.

The reason why you’ll be willing to have more hearts is because you can buy more weapons with them. Gamers who played Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii know that Sakurai is fond of filling his games with a lot of content. This is not different in Kid Icarus Uprising. You’ll be able to receive an unseen amount of different range and melee weapons in this game. The better the weapon, the more hearts you’ll have to offer. Each weapon can also be forged into a new one by combining it with another. The possibilities are endless.

This wide variety of weapons is also something that will make you come back to the game more. The variation in the gameplay mechanics between ground and air based levels are great but the weapons really make the difference. Each level will feel different if you use a different weapon. Some weapons have a big impact but are rather slow, while others will have a really fast blast ratio.

The only downside about these weapons is that everybody will be able to take his/her weapons with him/her during a multiplayer session. During the multiplayer it’s up to you to defeat the other players. Although a lot of time has been put in creating this multiplayer, you’ll often meet up with players of level: Asian. Gamers who played Kid Icarus a lot more than you did will automatically have better weapons and that’s a big advantage in multiplayer sessions. Therefor the multiplayer won’t be that enjoyable for new players. It’s too bad really because the multiplayer works very good. It looks glorious and works really fast. Too bad you’ll have to be really good to start to appreciate this game mode for what it is.

All in all we can conclude that Kid Icarus is a very complete game with a lengthy single player campaign mode and a lot of items to collect (even outside the game thanks to AR-cards). It has taken pit a long time to find his way back on a Nintendo console but it was definitely worth waiting. The variation in ground and air levels will keep you playing for days and you’ll even try to get better and better on the online battlefields. It’s true that you’ll have to invest a little of your time in the control scheme but once you master it, you’ll be enjoying one of the best 3DS games out there. Kid Icarus Uprising is the perfect action game for Nintendo 3DS owners.

Game Rate: 8.8 /10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.