Kid Icarus: Uprising review

After 20 years of waiting, Nintendo’s only angel based character Pit is back in his own game. Kid Icarus has a lot to live up to, but is the game heavenly or should it be sent straight to hell?

It’s about time Nintendo relaunched this franchise, especially on the remake heavy 3DS. I can happily say that Kid Icarus is the game 3DS owners have been wanting since they bought the device. This is also a brave new step into hard-core gaming for Nintendo…Uprising is mentally difficult. Mixing Starfox style flying and shooting levels with on foot sections, the overall package is mightily impressive.

Controls are Uprising’s only downside. After about 20 minutes of play, your hands will ache. The game is played using the circle pad to move Pit, with the stylus and touch screen aiming your shots. This works well enough in the flying sections, but the on foot sections are trickier, requiring quick dashes and swiping movements to avoid incoming fire. Nintendo have realised their controls cause pain, to which a cheap plastic stand is bundled with the game. The stand doesn’t help terribly, mine kept moving across the table. I tried playing on the tube, which was ok for the flying battles, but the on foot sections are a no no!

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The game is hectic to say the least. Pit can fly around the worlds at high speeds, dodging incoming fire and blasting large groups of enemies. This is easily the most technically impressive 3DS game after Resident Evil: Revelations. The game worlds are fantastically designed, with a real mix of game locations, varying from the Underworld to Tron-esque settings. As Pit destroys enemies, they leave behind hearts, these do not refill your energy, but add up to be used as currency. With the hearts new weapons can be bought and new stuff unlocked. The trick is, playing a level on a low difficulty will only give a small pay off of hearts. Play a level on an intensity of 9, and your hearts rewards will go through the roof, allowing the unlocking of more powerful weapons.

The single player mode is split up into 25 levels chapters. Each chapter usually has a flying section, followed by an on foot section, followed then by a boss. So really there are 50 levels or so. I found the on foot levels to be my least favourite, mainly due to the controls and the fact they are much longer than the flying levels. The on foot section sometimes felt as if they were padding the game’s length a little, with repetitive sections and constant waves of enemies. On the harder difficulties, the game can be really unfair, more often than not, I was offered a health power up, only to have it immediately taken away by an enemy spawning behind me. If you die in the game, the difficulty level immediately drops down, and your hearts are forfeit. I enjoyed the single player, as it offered a meaty challenge and each level offered some cool moments. The multiplayer was a little bit of a let down. I must admit I was killed over and over by more powerful players, and was confused what to do. This could have been implemented a little better for noobs.

Visually the game is fantastic. The flying sections in particular are breathtaking. Moving at an incredible rate, throwing hundreds of enemies on screen with no slowdown, Uprising is a marvel.  A lot has gone into the level design and it shows, with almost every level offering a unique setting or feel. Some dud levels exist, like the ones in space fighting the Aurum, which are simply polygonal shapes, though retro heads will love it. The bottom screen is used to display conversations between game characters, which surprisingly aren’t annoying at all, to be honest are quite funny. Sadly, the action is so frantic; most conversations go amiss amongst the action. The music is decent too, with an epic soundtrack which matches the game well.

Nintendo have upped the ante in Kid Icarus: Uprising. The game is a bold step in a direction aimed for the mature gamer. Packed to the brim with unlockables and hidden content, this title will keep fans busy for months.

Intense flying and blasting action
Amazing visuals and level design
Great music and terrific voice acting
9Final Score

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