Review: Kid Icarus Uprising (3DS)

”Sorry to keep you waiting!” Never before has a truer phrase been heard at an E3 conference. Fans of Kid Icarus had been waiting, 21 years in fact (unless you’re Japanese, then it’s 25) for a follow up to the Gameboy’s Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters.

Originally intended to be a 3DS launch title (though it wouldn’t show up until nearly a year after launch) it is no surprise that, even in early trailers like the E3 2010 reveal one, it is one of the, if not the, best looking 3DS games available, as Project Sora (a small team from inside Masahiro Sakurai’s Sora Ltd) had been in possession of 3DS development kits to work with ever since the 3DS has been planned. Everything about the game is beautiful, the characters, the enemies, the stages… the list goes on and on.

It is because of just how stunning it looks that you can tell just how dedicated the team had been in developing the game. The stages (called chapters) are the perfect length and have a steadily increasing difficulty curve, starting with short, easy levels to allow you to get used to the game, then ending with longer and harder chapters. Although the way in which the stages have been designed (air battle, land battle, boss fight in that order) can become a bit repetitive, the game is infuriatingly addictive, with the sheer amount of weapons and powers hidden away in the chapters for you to find so that they are at your disposal for following chapters.

The most unique, and in my opinion best, feature in this incredible game is the ‘Fiend’s Cauldron’. Though this is used to increase/decrease the difficulty level in the game, a common feature in many games nowadays, you are made to bet hearts, the games currency, to do this, with raising the difficulty level higher costing you more hearts. Of course, this isn’t without it’s rewards, as the higher you raise the difficulty level, the more powerful weapons you find, but more and more powerful enemies will try and stop you from reaching the end of the level and claiming the weapons and powers that you find.

As with many games, if single-player has become boring or it just isn’t your thing, Kid Icarus: Uprising has a full multi-player mode for you to explore and play. Many, including myself, have praised this mode for not having no noticeable lag, no matter how many players are playing. Undeniably the best part about the multi-player mode is, however, that both modes available can be played in either local multi-player, or online via Nintendo Network. The two types of modes for you to play, myself preferring the first mode, are:

Light VS Dark – This sees you splitting into 2 teams of 3, first trying to defeat anybody on the other team to whittle down the other teams life gauge, and then defeating the opponent’s Angel to finish off the match.

Free-for-All – This is exactly what it says, and sees you facing off against up to 5 other people (either real humans or computer AI) to see who can get the highest score in a set time.

As well as the whole multi-player mode, this game is made even more sociable by the introduction of StreetPass and SpotPass, in which players receive ‘weapon gems’ either from each other (StreetPass) or from Palutena (SpotPass). These weapon gems can be made straight into their named weapon, or fused with other gems (though some types of gems can’t be fused with each other) to create new weapons, but both of these happen at a cost of hearts.

Probably an underused, yet hugely appreciated, feature of the game is the AR mode, which has you scanning special AR cards to unlock idols and hearts in-game. 407 AR cards are known to exist, though it is unknown what card number 405 is. Although this AR mode has no other in-game effects other than the ones mentioned, and as such doesn’t really need to be in the game, it is nice to see that Project Sora have taken the time and effort to include this mode into the game, adding to the huge list of other features, and showing that no shortcuts have been taken during development.

As mentioned, the AR mode is just one of a huge number of features in the game, of which there are too many to list here, but one of the best is the in-game achievement system, which consists of around 250 achievements. You can spend hours trying to get all of these achievements, and the rewards that you get for doing so can be used in the game, as they range from new weapons to new stages for multi-player stages.

The only gripe I have myself with this near-perfect game is the control system. Although the default control system is pretty simple (Circle Pad to move, stylus on the touchscreen to aim and L to shoot, akin to Metroid Prime Hunters) I believe it would have been easier to use the dual circle pad setup using the Circle Pad Pro (which lefties can use to move instead of the 3DSes own Circle Pad) or to at least have the option to use dual circle pads. However, there is a legitimate reason for this to not have happened, as Sakurai and Project Sora didn’t know about the Circle Pad Pro before its release, and by that time they felt it to late to program into the game, as well as dual circle pads not offering the same quickness and accuracy of the touch-screen. Despite this, all it takes is a five minute mess around in an options menu, and it’ll allow you to find a control system that works for you, be it the default version or a version of your own. It really is that simple.

This meant to be launch game was well worth waiting for, and cannot be described as anything other than amazing. If, for some reason, you haven’t already picked this game up, I would heavily suggest that you go pick it up right now. Despite the small niggle of the control system, this is definitely the best of 3DS right now. Uprising is a worthy follow-up to the first 2 Kid Icarus games (even if it’s not in the same genre) and Project Sora should congratulate themselves on a job very well done.

5 Star



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