Kid Icarus: Uprising 3DS Review – A Classic Experience from the Modern Era
Developer: Project Sora
Release Date: March 23, 2012
It’s been nearly two decades of hiatus since Pit’s appearance on the NES marked the beginning of his quest to vanquish the encroaching army of evil monsters. Now our winged hero has returned for another adventurous battle against the forces of the Underworld, this time in a new title for the Nintendo 3DS system. The franchise is about 15 years late in making the shift to 3D, but its unique sense of self-deprecating humor assists the game in making a light-hearted (though still slightly bumpy) transition.
Nintendo’s advertisements for Kid Icarus: Uprising seemed to focus on drawing in a new crowd, rather than appealing to fans of the original games. In fact, Nintendo of America made a post on their Facebook page pronouncing that “Pit from Super Smash Bros Brawl” had finally received “his own game.” Perhaps they just have a poor memory? The developers definitely didn’t, having included many (often humorous) references to the original Kid Icarus in the new sequel. Which begs the question: How well does Uprising bridge the gulf left by an entire generation of dormancy?
Kid Icarus: Uprising recounts the story of the angel Pit’s battles against the forces of the Underworld at the behest of the goddess Palutena. In some ways, the story is simplistic, relying on a sequence of levels building to a final battle. Some may call the style “outdated,” but there’s no denying it’s a classic. One which, in this case, suits the game extremely well.
The characters are equally classic. Unique, story-driven, simple. In many ways Kid Icarus relies on the time-honored struggle between good and evil, and the characters are equally clear-cut. The protagonist, Pit, is a selfless but (somewhat) humble hero, taking on any conflict with poise and a healthy dose of wit. Palutena is a caring mentor, who assists Pit whenever necessary. The playful banter between the two helps flesh out the characters and lighten the mood of the game without taking away from the story or gameplay. Many of the characters’ conversations and battles pay charming homage to the original Kid Icarus games.
All copies of the game come with a 3DS stand to make it easier to work the controls. In many respects, the gameplay in Kid Icarus: Uprising is significantly shooter based. Having only one analog stick, the default controls are set to allow players to aim a reticle using the stylus and touch screen. These controls can be difficult at best. These settings, however, can be changed to allow the reticle to be controlled by the A, B, X, and Y buttons, which offers marked improvement. There are also other options for left-handed players.
In another aspect closely related to the RPG genre, Uprising features a sizable weapons customization suite. Players can choose from different types of weapons (blades, bows, claws, clubs, orbitars, staffs, arms, and palms) that can be collected in the game. These can be fused to create new weapons with their own unique abilities, hybridized from the properties of the original weapons.
Aside from the main story, players can partake in multiplayer duels over Nintendo’s new online network, a sure sign that Nintendo is finally moving into the modern world of online gaming (not that they ever needed to in order to maintain their greatness). The graphics and music in Kid Icarus: Uprising are both top notch. Most of the game uses a blend of photo-realism, employed for backgrounds, environments, and effects; and Japanese animation, for the characters and monsters. Both styles are crisp and colorful, bringing an extra sense of life to the game. The music, forged by a team of several seasoned video game composers, is memorable and a pleasure to listen to.
Unlike other generational sequels that flopped, the newest installment in the classic Kid Icarus series didn’t spend twenty years in the making just to settle for less than the best. Uprising has everything you could ask for in a Nintendo title: solid gameplay, endearing characters, memorable music, and a story that will keep players firmly entrenched in the struggles they face in Pit’s… sandals.
+Charming cast of characters
-Iffy controls (but a respectably daring concept)
-Classic style not for everyone
-Shooting element gets repetitive
4.25 out of 5 stars