Review – Kid Icarus Uprising [3DS]

Posted: April 18, 2012 in 3DS, Reviews

Imagine Star Fox but with more flexibility and the ability to charge into some beasties and unleash some powerful attacks with a wide selection of weaponry… Got it? Now imagine yourself as an angel delivering justice of the Goddess to the scum of the Underworld? Excellent!

You’re on your way to fully appreciating this game.


I have never played the original Kid Icarus on the NES, although I knew of its existence. My only proper interaction with Pit was when he appeared out of nowhere in Super Smash Bros Brawl, and it enraged me no end as I preferred actually knowing these vintage characters I was about to kick seven shades of the proverbial of. This still includes Ness and more recently Lucas.

Medusa, Queen of the Underworld returns as the ambitious baddie wanting to take over the world, and only Palutena the Goddess of Light and her half angel Pit (since he can’t fly on his own apparently) rush to save the day, but is that all that is at work here? Uprising gives you the action in two flavours, each Chapter starts with Palutena giving Pit the power of flight for some on rails flying shooter action. Pit can only fly for five minutes before his wings burn up (sound familiar?) and so the action switches to ground level where melee attacks can be administered at close range. These are both linear in approach but the land based sections offer more freedom than the flying portions, by being able to stray off the beaten track a little to grab some extra goodies and take time to appreciate the detail in the landscapes which have been created. From a pirate ship in space, a fiery lava land and having the ocean parted for you – Moses style – the environments never get boring.

There are two main ways in which the gameplay can be affected massively – the huge selection of customizable weapons and the difficult configuration settings. Weapons can be collected throughout the game either during the main quest, buying new weapons with the in-game currency of hearts and the unusual lottery-esque Idol Toss, where tossing eggs in the air can reap rewards. Weapons can be beefed up with various powers using a Tetris block style fitting system. New and more powerful weapons can be created by fusing two previously owned weapons. This gives almost infinite possibilities as weapon A and B can create weapon C, but weapon A and D can create weapon C with bigger power. It’s all in the mix.

The difficulty setting is controlled by the Fiend’s Cauldron. At the start of each Chapter you wager hearts into the Cauldron. The higher the amount wagered equals higher the difficulty and the potential for higher rewards, assuming you survive of course. You have a choice between the numbers 0-9, but with all the .1s in-between. This means you have 90 difficulty settings. You will be rewarded for your daring, as doors to treasures will only open if the difficulty is set at an adequate level. Naturally this offers replay value, as you may have the Cauldron with only a small amount of hearts in just so you can get through the game, but the temptation of discovery will make you want to come back when you’re a little braver to see what’s behind that magical door.

 

The way you have to hold the 3DS to control this game is so awkward that a special stand has been bundled with the game. Being unable to play for longer than two minutes before the left hand starts aching like hell; I consider this essential to play with. This would imply the controls are fiddly, but the interface is far from it. The circle pad moves Pit, the touch screen controls your camera/reticule and the shoulder buttons are used to attack. Projectiles will be fired if an enemy is far away, or a melee attack should the enemy be too close. The style of which you will prefer will depend on your weapons stats. This reviewer preferred to shoot from a distance the majority of the time, as my weapons weren’t as good up close, and Pit had a tendency to run in circles around the enemy many times before actually doing anything, and receiving damage in the process. The camera is also fiddly to control whilst up close to enemies and you’ll find yourself frustrated as you move the stylus to find the perfect angle again and again.

The graphics remain smooth throughout, and there’s no drop in the frame rate even when hordes of enemies are flying around you. The 3D is excellent and puts Starfox to shame when it comes to baddies firing stuff at you. The screenshots here don’t do the game justice. And when things get too hectic it may be recommended to turn the 3D down a notch, as with some small ghosting I found myself shooting at shadows instead of the actual enemy itself.

The soundtrack is fully orchestrated and stunning throughout, and all the little chatty moments in every level by the main characters serve as a source of humour and even information as some enemy weaknesses are pointed out and a little history is provided. Even the bad guys get in on the act and the banter goes back and forth before you even meet them. These conversations break the fourth wall and refer to the fact that you’re playing a video game in a style which exudes charm. Many old faces from the original NES game make an appearance and given a fresh coat of paint, many with voice acting to provoke you as you make your way to their lair and then make their displeasure known as you conquer them.

Twinbellows. Added bark. Added bite. Just don't ask it to fetch anything.

Hewdraw now comes with THREE TIMES the fun!

Medusa. Sexy.

The option to play multiplayer is available either locally or online. On offer is Light v Dark, or just a good ol’ fashioned free for all deathmatch. Another quirk which Uprising comes with is six random AR cards. They don’t seem to affect the gameplay at all, but are pretty to look at once you hold your 3DS camera over and watch them spring into life. If you have two pointing towards each other they will battle each other. More cards are available via other ways like Nintendo’s Stars Catalogue and given away with magazines.

Minor niggles aside there is not much to hate with Uprising. It is fun, colourful, quirky and no player can complain that it is too hard or too easy – Nintendo got that bit covered. Consideration has been taken towards the hands of the people of the world by the custom stand, which will no doubt be of benefit to gamers for future (or indeed past) 3DS titles. A game like this is something the 3DS has been waiting for.

Pr0’s
A] Awesome soundtrack
B] Many weapons to unlock and collect
C] Fantastic difficulty management
D] Smooth 3D graphics
E] Essential stand provided

Cons
A] Controls can be fiddly
B] Action doesn’t change much

Graphics 5/5
Sound 5/5
Gameplay 5/5
Playability 4/5
Lifespan 4/5

Total

95%

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