Developer: Project Sora
Designer: Masahiro Sakurai
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Reviewed by: Alaska_Gamer
Video Review by: Balrog
Kid Icarus Uprising Review
It’s Finally Here…
I’ll be frank, I was beginning to have doubts about Kid Icarus Uprising the closer it got to release. The time from announcement to release for this game, almost two years, felt like it was taking too long for something that everyone saw as just a Sin & Punishment styled rail shooter with some on foot sections. Add to that the slipshod sounding solution for wrist strain with the 3DS stand, and then there’s some actual concern about the state of this game. What could Sakurai have been doing for the last couple years that took this game so long?
Well, as it turns out, he was making a surprisingly deep and fun game that is worth owning for the 3DS. If you don’t mind a couple caveats, here and there.
As I briefly mentioned in the first paragraph, the gameplay is half 3D rail shooter, a la Space Harrier or Sin & Punishment, and the other half is an on-foot 3rd-person shooter/action game. The levels begin with Pit flying to his destination, and after the power flight has been used up, the rest of the level takes place on land. While flying, the game is a fun rail shooter. On foot though, well, there are odd things about the controls that could have been corrected easily, and possibly non-existent if it was on another platform, but that’s not the point. When flying, you use the stylus on the touch screen to move the on screen reticule on the top screen to aim. On land, the touch screen does the same thing, but also rotates the camera around Pit. It’s like a cross between a mouse and a track ball, and is only really useful when you need to spin the camera around you quickly. Trying to make small adjustments with it is terrible. Moving Pit around with the analog disk is a bit bothersome, but you’ll soon get used to dashing constantly as you want to get from point to point quickly. Plus, dashing is pretty cool. In fact, regardless of problems I had with the on foot controls, it can feel pretty good when things are working well for you during battles. You can do various dashes and dodge moves in conjunction with attacking and firing. It’s great when it works, but when you first start out it may not be that very fun.
Of course, apart from the single player stuff, there is a multi player mode in the game. It’s not as robust as Sakurai’s past games, like the Smash Bros. series, but it’s fun for what it is. There are two game modes: Free-For-All and Light vs. Dark. The first mode is self explanatory, the other is team based. Both modes host six players, and is basically the on foot sections in the main game in a sort of death match. Actually scratch that, because while there is shooting, and that comparison would seem valid, it is more of a 3D Smash Bros kind of thing. There’s a certain element of craziness that I find carries over to this game that makes me think of Smash Bros. But instead of four players, it’s six. The mode is pretty decent and rather fun, assuming you’ve gotten used to the on foot controls.
And that’s where everything people knew about the game for the past year ends. Everything else in the game explains and for the most part validates why this game took longer than what most people thought it should have. First, let’s start with the story.
Storyline and Dialogue
The basic plot is that Medusa has been revived and has brought her Underworld army to wreak havoc. Under guidance by Lady Palutena, Pit is sent forth to repel the Underworld invasion and defeat Medusa. Pretty simple, Nintendo-styled plot, right? Well, that is until about ten chapters in when things start to take an unexpected turn and then you have no idea what happens next. There are plenty of new characters as there are old redesigned characters. On top of all this, almost in spite of how I thought they would turn out, are the writing and characters which are pretty fun. I expected it to be super corny and dumb… and it is super corny and dumb, but endearingly so. It’s knowing and self aware just enough for the silly one-liners and awful puns to be effective. If there’s only one thing I have wrong with it is that there’s just about no moment where the characters aren’t talking at all. It grew on me after a while, and after certain sections started taking longer there wasn’t as much talk, but at the start in particular I thought it was still a bit much. Regardless, the story is pretty good, and according to Sakurai, he wrote the original script himself. The guy is pretty hands on with his stuff.
The second element that took me by surprise were all the unlockables and incentives to replay levels in the game. You get loot, which can be either weapons or powers you can equip to Pit, and there is a LOT of loot. In fact, playing levels on higher difficulties, or “intensities,” will net you more powerful weapons and powers. You also have hearts, which act as a currency and can be used for many things. You can sell weapons for hearts, or break them down into hearts after finishing a mission, throw them into a cauldron before starting a mission for a chance of earning more heats at the end (assuming you don’t die), and lastly, offer them to the goddess Lady Palutena. There’s no reward according to the game, but that didn’t stop me from donating hearts. There is an unlock grid similar to the one in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where you can see the spaces you’ve unlocked, and the nearby spaces giving hints on how to unlock it. To further push the Smash Bros similarity, there is the Idol Toss, where you can toss eggs that you’ve either earned from playing the game, or spending play coins from the 3DS, into the air to unlock an Idol, this games equivalent to the Smash Bros. trophy. There’s a whole lot of stuff in this game, plenty of reason to keep playing if you are an insane completionist, like me.
I did say that the on foot controls were somewhat of an issue for this game, but there is another issue that I can say I had no problem with, but I recognize that it is a problem most other people will have. I have no problem holding up the 3DS the way the controls are set up. I had no problem 6 years ago playing Metroid Prime Hunters, a game with a similar control setup and criticized by some for the same comfort issues, so I had no problem with Kid Icarus Uprising. However, the problem exists for other people, and that is what the stand is intended to correct. At least, I assume that’s what it does. I did not have the stand when I played the game, but let’s just say that that’s what it’s there for.
And also, like the stand, I did not have any of the AR cards to use either. I’ve read that it’s another way to unlock Idols in the game, though.
So, it’s only been a little more than a year since the 3DS first game out, and it’s been almost two years since we first heard of this game. Has it been worth waiting for? Pretty much. If you think your wrists are strong enough and you can manage with some slightly awkward controls, absolutely go for it.
+ You want a fun and entertaining story in a Nintendo game
+ You like 3D rail shooters and a decent 3rd person action game
+ You’re a crazy completionist and want to spend a lot of time getting it all
You will not like this game if:
- You don’t like how the on foot controls feel
- You care more for the comfort of your wrists (probably corrected by the stand)