Way, way back in December of 1986, Nintendo gamers got their hands on the new action platformer: Kid Icarus (NES). Though it was fun, the game is mostly remembered for its cruel difficulty level. Kid Icarus was a game that you’d play for a few minuets, die repeatedly, then curse loudly as you thew your controller at the wall. The game only had one sequel for the original Gameboy in 1991, and that was it. It seemed as though the Kid Icarus series was gone for good, but over two decades later, the series protagonist Pit triumphantly returns, apologizing for keeping us waiting. Is Kid Icarus: Uprising a good enough game for us to accept Pit’s apology? Continue reading to find out! -Dallas B.
The game starts out like this: The evil goddess Medusa ( the antagonist of the original classic) has somehow re-appeared to take over the entire world again, so the goddess Palutena sends the over-confident Pit to defeat her AGAIN. Unlike in the two previous games, Pit is Granted the power of flight, which only lasts for 5 minuets. After that, well… his wings kind of burn up mid flight. The the plot is short, but very well explained, and surprisingly enough, the farther you play into the game, the more interesting the story gets.
The controls for the game are very basic: Press L to shoot, slide the circle pad to move pit, and use the touch screen to aim. The game is broken into short episodes, running at about 10 minutes each. The episodes are divided between five minuets of flying, and five minutes of land battle. In the flying sequences you play as Pit being flown across beautiful landscapes by the goddess. You are basically dragged to your destination while controlling Pit in 2D space within the screen, and shooting all enemies in sight.
The fun (and also challenging) thing about flying sequences is that you’ll have to aim and shoot at monsters, while at the same time maneuvering Pit out of the way of oncoming enemy fire. Once you get the hang of it you’ll feel like a badass. Land battle is mostly a hack and slash. The point of every land battle is to fight your way across a map to reach the boss. When close enough to a monster, you’ll smack the mess out of it with your weapon of choice (think Kingdom Hearts), but from far off, you’ll use your weapon as gun to shoot the enemies.
You’re able to shoot larger bursts of energy by quickly dodging and shooting at the same time. Looping your attacks together helps you to preform combo moves to more swiftly defeat your foes. Gamers have complained that there’s no option for aiming with the Circle Pad Pro, because they find it hard to aim with the stylus, but it does get easier over time. Also, each copy of the game comes with a stand to set your 3DS on so you don’t have to hold it while playing. If stylus control really bothers you that much, you can always configure your controls to aim with the the A, B, X, and Y buttons instead.
As a bonus, since Kid Icarus has always been known for being extremely difficult, the hardcore gamers have the option of turning up the difficulty level as high as they’d like for more of a challenge. One more thing I’d like to draw attention to, is the fact that the online actually works great; the game rarely lags, and not once has my game been randomly cut off mid battle. It’s safe to say that Nintendo finally has good online capability.
Kid Icarus: Uprising gets an A+ for production values; the graphics are gorgeous, the voice acting is top notch and well synced with the characters’ mouth movement, the artwork is well drawn, the menus are simple, and easy to navigate, and as with most of the more recent 3DS titles, the game executes the 3D effect almost flawlessly. The only thing people might complain about in story mode is the constant voice acting in every level, but to be honest, that is one of the things makes this game unique.
The way the characters carry out conversations can really draw the player closer to the game’s story. Of course if you want to hate, you can always turn off the voice acting all together, so it’s really no cause for complaint. One neat plus is the fact that characters never miss a chance to break the fourth wall, constantly pointing out that they’re in a game, and making hilarious connections with other famous Nintendo series’. At one point, Pit actually points out that certain monsters in the game look like little Metroids! Though some people might think breaking the forth wall would ruin the experience, it actually just makes the dialog more hilarious.
Kid Icarus: Uprising was created by the mastermind behind the Kirby and Super Smash Bros series: Masahiro Sakurai, who believes that a good game is structured like a buffet where you can have as much as you want of whatever you want. Kid Icarus: Uprising is a very good example of this concept. In the game, you can pick from various weapon types like, claws, cannon arms, bows, lances and clubs.
When you get any given weapon, it may look identical to one you’ve seen on your friends game, but it will always have completely different effects than anyone else’s version of that weapon. You can also upgrade, merge, and sell your weapons. Some other cool features are the local, and online multi-player modes, trophy collection, and the ability to make trading cards come out of your table and fight each other RPG style via 3D augmented reality.
It’s really a joy to see a long lost series like Kid Icarus make such a big comeback. What’s especially great is that the game doesn’t suck. Kid Icarus: Uprising is an ambitious title that delivers on so many levels. It’s got good gameplay, good graphics, good voice acting, and a multiplayer online mode that already has a large amount of participants all around the world.
If the game continues to get such positive feedback, we may just see a sequel in the near future. Here’s hoping that is how it goes. Though it would have been nice to have the option of using Circle Pad Pro instead of the stylus, the controls still work great. Minor complaints aside, this game is pretty close to perfect. If there’s one game you need for 3DS, there’s no doubt its Kid Icarus: Uprising.