Well, whaddya know. Looks like “the kid” has grown up quite a bit since his days as an 8-bit sprite on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
After several cameos and appearances in other games, the heroic angel Pit makes a triumphant return in a game of his very own — the devilishly divine Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS. The game starts with Pit being guided by his divine protector, the goddess of light Palutena, as a familiar evil resurfaces to threaten the world yet again. Yep, Medusa’s back, and this time she’s got an axe to grind with the dynamic duo that put a stop to her dastardly deeds last time. So how did the dark goddess return to life? That’s a good question as even Medusa apparently doesn’t know. The mystery behind her return serves as the appetizer for an adventure of divine intrigue and tribulation that has Pit caught right in the middle.
Interestingly, the likable Pit isn’t even the most interesting character in the game. The true stars of this show are the collection of misfits who serve as the game’s wacky supporting cast, thanks to their totally warped yet comically hilarious personalities. From the three-headed Hewdraw with multiple personality disorder to the goddess of nature with a Brain Age of 24, the supporting characters serve as a source of chuckle-worthy moments that make Pit’s voyage lots of fun. There’s also a lot of third wall breaking going on, including a generous amount of references to the original Kid Icarus.
In terms of the main adventure, Uprising is a hybrid game of sorts, featuring stages broken up into two styles of play. Each stage typically kicks off with classic third-person, on-rails shooting followed by land-based 3D action adventuring. The approach seems strange at first as you try to make sense of the two styles of gameplay. Once you get the hang of both, however, the result is a polished and quite satisfying romp. Flying sequences have a Space Harrier/Panzer Dragoon-like feel that should satisfy old-school gaming fans. Use of the stylus for aiming also makes targeting a breeze while compatibility with the Circle Pad Pro adds more control options. Land missions, meanwhile, feature shooting and heavier use of melee attacks, along with added challenge. Weapon unlocks and fusions, combined with multiplayer modes and AR cards further add to replayability. You can spend quite a bit of time replaying levels to try and get the various types of weapons matched with your abilities of choice — a necessity if you want to clear levels after bumping up the difficulty slider.
Admittedly, stylus-based camera control on land can be a bit wonky. It can be a bit tough, for example, to make Pit turn on a dime on the ground by swiping the screen. Also while, the Circle Pad Pro increases your control options, I wish it was a tad bit more customizable to minimize some of the aforementioned camera niggles. The control scheme with the stylus can also tire out your hands after a while, though the included stand might help alleviate that. You can also stick your 3DS into a Circle Pad Pro for added grip support.
That said, Uprising is a great game overall that features a plethora of missions and replay-friendly features. Fans of first-person shooting might not like the old school-style shooting system. But for well-rounded gamers who like to sample a wide range of genres, Uprising is definitely a worthy addition to that portable gaming library.KID ICARUS
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Cost: $40
- Final rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
- Official site: http://kidicarus.nintendo.com