“Kid Icarus: Uprising” review

It’s been an outstanding 25 years since the original Kid Icarus came out on the NES and fans have been longing for a true heir to the throne. I’m proud to say that Kid Icarus: Uprising takes on the legacy very well.

The story revolves around the main character, an angel named Pit, fighting off Medusa and her hordes of underworld minions. It takes place 25 years after the original game to humor the fact that so much time has passed between the two games, and that same 4th-wall breaking humor can be found throughout the game, which makes it more enjoyable. The story has some interesting twists and turns and just when you think it’s over, it turns out its not! The saying “it’s not over until the credits roll” does not apply to this game. The story runs for a good 10 hours, which is great for a handheld game and you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

Air Assault mode lets players take to the skies for a few minutes.

The gameplay has changed considerably since the NES days. The original was a mixture of Metroid and Super Mario, while Uprising is more of a Star Fox-style space shooter combined with a third-person  shoot’em up.

 Every chapter is broken up into two sections – the first being an “Air Assault” in which Pit takes to the skies and fights the underworld horde. Pit, sadly, can’t fly by himself and requires goddess Palutena to grant him the power of flight. The power of flight only lasts 5 minutes before Pits wings burn up so at most your flying around for five minutes. As mentioned before, the Air Assault parts play out like a Star Fox game in which players are on rails shooting anything that moves. This is the more fun part of the game and hooks you in – and the 3D helps a lot. The shoot’em up parts are fun, but can be a bit strenuous. The later levels drag on and can get annoying, but, overall, you’ll still have a hell of a time.

The controls are the biggest gripe. The game comes packaged with a stand that can be used to prop up the 3DS to help feel more comfortable while playing it, but I haven’t used it. The control breakdown is like this: the thumb stick is used for movement and the shoulder buttons are used to fire. Simple yes? But to aim you have to use the touch screen, and that’s where it can hurt. Supporting the system without the stand and playing can lead to some serious arm/wrist strain. The game even warns you after two levels to take a break. You’d think that the developers would have found a different control scheme to help save the pain instead of adding a stand to the game.

The soundtrack to the game is damn good and has the player feeling incredibly immersed. The epic space battles feel like something straight out of Star Wars, and I’ll be damned if that ain’t adding to it. The environments are gorgeous and are always different from the ones before. Levels vary from outer space to ancient Grecian-inspired locals. There are also many different types of weapons and powers to acquire. Each weapon/power has its own feel and style, so different players can be happy with there own style of play. All these little things add up to a carefully constructed game for players.

Multiplayer allows players to duke it out against rival angels.

There is multiplayer too, but it is forgettable. There’s only two multiplayer modes: free for all, which is pretty self explanatory, and a “Light VS Dark” mode which is basically team deathmatch in which the two teams have a health bar that whittles down until its empty. After depleting the enemy team’s bar,  the last player on the winning team to die is turned into his team’s angel – either Pit or Dark Pit (Pittoo if you play the game) – and then the match shifts into a assassination-type game in which the lead angel must be taken out to win. Fun, but, like I said, forgettable.

Kid Icarus: Uprising is an amazing game and strong recommendation for any 3DS player. This feels like a strong rebirth in what could be an amazing series if Nintendo chooses to explore the franchise further. The only things that really needs to be worked on are the controls. I just want a game that doesn’t cause me physical pain when I play it. We at the Vault give Kid Icarus: Uprising get an 8/10. A damn near perfect game, but hurtful controls and forgettable multiplayer hurt the overall score.