Kid Icarus Uprising: review

Those of a certain age may remember playing the original Kid Icarus game on the NES in the late 80s, and beyond that some re-releases on the GBA and later via Virtual Console for the Wii. People may also have seen the cameos that the lead character, Pit, has had in the Smash Brothers franchise. Beyond that, a new iteration was one of the original games used to help drum up interest when the 3DS was first revealed – and finally it has seen a release.

Once again you take up the role of Pit, an eager young angel serving Goddess Palutena, who still isn’t able to fly by himself but makes up for it by being a pretty dab hand at fighting. Though once thought defeated by Pit, the evil Medusa resurfaces with a fresh army of monsters and begins causing havoc across the world forcing Pit into the fray once more; though everything may not be as it seems.

While there are moments where the plot tries to be serious (with some large scale devastating events to back this up) it is also very tongue in cheek at times, which is a love it or hate it approach. The voice actors do a good job with a very quirky fourth wall breaking script – but the clashes with serious moments and presumably undesired weakening of any investment in the plot is a shame.

The original Kid Icarus was a 2D platformer. Uprising goes in a totally different direction and can best be described as an on and off the rails shooter. Thanks to Palutena’s help Pit is able to fly for bursts of five minutes before the power wears off and this sets the scene for the beginning of every chapter, as you are hurled into interesting situations and are guided through while you aim and shoot down relentless enemies. You have some movement here in terms of dodging incoming attacks, and very rarely you’ll be given a choice of going one of two directions. These are often the best looking moments of the game, including one stand-out section which had Pit soaring over two armies at war with one other.

After the five minutes of on-rails shooting Pit is usually thrown into the stage proper and you’re given the ability to explore to a reasonable degree as you fight your way to the chapter boss. These sections still largely consist of Pit firing at range using his weapon of choice, but if you press attack when an enemy is nearby he will automatically switch to melee attacks. The graphics aren’t as impressive in these sections but are by no means ugly.

A pseudo-shooter may not have been what people were expecting, whether they were familiar with the original game or not. It works well for what it is though, so assuming you aren’t adverse to the sort of game it is at its core that won’t prove a problem.

Where most people, including us, will have the biggest problem with Kid Icarus Uprising is with the baffling unintuitive, overcomplicated control scheme. The game comes with a 3DS stand as standard to try and compensate for the default control scheme which has you using the left shoulder to fire, the stylus on your screen to aim and the analogue stick to steer. This works assuming you are right handed and don’t mind leaving the 3D off (as the stand doesn’t lock the 3DS, it jostles as you play) to a certain degree. Platforming sections or sections requiring more precise movement (such as sections where Pit can gain control of certain vehicles) can still be an exercise in frustration, not to mention constantly accidentally dashing when all you wanted to do was run.

Left handed people will find it impossible to play with the default scheme. If you have purchased the right analogue stick add-on for the 3DS you will find the game much easier to control regardless of which hand you use, though.

The story mode is a surprisingly decent length, filled with fun characters you might grow to like and a silly plot. In terms of replay value there are a vast number of weapons to find or craft which, while all essentially acting the same way, add visual flare and also levels are littered with areas which only unlock if you have gambled enough collected hearts by artificially increasing the difficulty. An achievement system of sorts which has related unlocks also encourage clearing chapters faster or finding secrets. There is also a local and online multiplayer mode which has two teams pitted against each other which adds to the longevity overall.

If you can excuse and put up with the awful control schemes and aren’t put off by a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously for the most part, then Kid Icarus Uprising is a decent enough shooter and a visual treat for the 3DS; just don’t expect anything ground breaking or particularly memorable.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

Leave a Reply