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Review

Kid Icarus: Uprising Review

  • Game release: March 23, 2012
  • Reviewed: March 23, 2012
  • 3DS

Kid Icarus: Uprising soars in this fast-paced and compelling shooter.

by

Kid Icarus: Uprising has been a long time coming. It has been 21 years since the last original entry in the series and, understandably, fans of angelic hero Pit have been calling for a new game for quite some time. Despite a thoroughly modern makeover, Uprising is a pure celebration of the 1987 original. There's an initial hurdle in the form of the game's controls, but once you master that learning curve Uprising provides a deep, satisfying experience. Combining air-based target shooting with some grounded platforming and a generous helping of customization, this is a great return for the little angel that could.

After 21 years, Pit makes a welcome return.

Uprising tells the story of Pit, a flightless angel who is battling to save humanity from the forces of the Underworld, headed by the nefarious Medusa. The plot is an entertaining amalgamation of Greek myth and Nintendo charm. Thanatos, the God of Death, takes the form of a flamboyant, sensitive ogre, while Pit himself is endearingly naive and consistently plucky. Since he can't fly, he's aided by the Goddess of Light, Palutena. She's the wind beneath his wings, but only for five minutes at a time. This serves a gameplay purpose; the opening section of each chapter has Pit flying through the skies, taking on enemies in an on-rails shooting gallery reminiscent of Star Fox. It also leads to some rather amusing exchanges between the two.

Uprising is a genuinely funny, wonderfully written game. Constantly self-aware and never afraid to break the fourth wall, the script delivers cheesy lines with a knowing wink, and frequently a sarcastic follow-up. Voice acting is pitch-perfect, and the comedy skits that play out over the action are a perfect complement for the colourful, surreal art direction. It's rare to find a game that's consistently laugh-out-loud funny, but here Kid Icarus doesn't miss a beat, warping Greek mythology for comic effect as well as throwing in a host of Nintendo references, all of which would be a shame to ruin beforehand. The action is complemented by a jaunty original score alongside frequent nods to the original's still catchy soundtrack.

For someone who can't fly by himself, Pit is pretty nifty when he takes to the air.

The game's a high-score shooter at its core, and in the air-based sections, it's a wonderful experience from the off. Pit is on a set path, but you can move him around the screen to dodge enemy fire. A reticle floats ahead of him, controlled by either the stylus or the face buttons, and this is used to target enemies while the left shoulder button fires. It's simple, rewarding fun, made all the more interesting by the visual spectacles in the background. Pit darts over cities and through volcanoes, and even takes a trip into space. Weaving through the air and picking off enemies as a giant spaceship fires lasers at you is genuinely exciting. It's when Pit takes to the ground that things can be a little more awkward, at least at first.

During the ground-based levels, you're directly in control of Pit, guiding him around areas and taking on enemies head-to-head. Here, the stylus controls come undone somewhat. The stylus is a bit cumbersome for 360-degree aiming, and the 3DS hardware isn't well designed for being held in the required position for any length of time. The game comes packed in with a plastic stand, but in a lot of situations that isn't ideal. Fortunately, the controls are customizable (going so far as to offer left-handed circle pad support if you own the Circle Pad Pro add-on, although it should be noted that there's no twin-stick control option). The best option is to use the face buttons to control the reticle while Pit is on the ground, although it's worth experimenting to find a control method that suits you. At first, the button aiming takes some getting used to, but once you up the sensitivity and play around with the various auto-aim options and movement controls, things start to click. There's no denying that it's a significant early hurdle, but once you get to grips with everything, it all starts to feel natural.

Little-known fact: angels have more than a thousand hearts in their tiny bodies.

These ground sections require Pit to push through an area to reach a boss. Normally this involves taking on waves of enemies, picking them out of the sky with a variety of ranged weapons, or moving in close for some melee action. Different enemies require different strategies; there are armoured enemies who can be attacked only from behind, enemies with weak spots who need to be picked off, and some enemies who must be avoided altogether. There are also a few vehicle sections, with a rapid-firing mech providing the highlight. These ground sections are more thoughtful, complicated affairs than their aerial counterparts, and most of the time the two styles work together beautifully.

Occasionally, though, the design of the ground sections can prove to be problematic. A few take place on thin, treacherous platforms, and Pit's propensity for dashing often leads to an unwanted fall. The Circle Pad isn't accurate enough to avoid the occasional accidental dash (achieved by tapping a direction), and since a fall takes off precious health, this can be an annoyance.

Most of the time, however, the game is sensible enough to avoid these mistakes and instead focuses on its versatile combat system. Dashing and firing lets off a powerful shot, while rapid fire can be achieved by holding down the shoulder button. Get in close, and you can whack enemies with a melee attack. There are nine weapon classes, each featuring a bunch of weapons. Cannons, for instance, offer slow but powerful long-ranged shots, while clubs let you deflect shots back at your opponents and deliver devastating close-range blows. Other types range from blades and staffs to claws and bows. Each weapon has its own stats and buffs, and you can spend a lot of time customizing your loadout.

Ground controls take some getting used to.

Customization is helped, in part, by the fusion system. Weapons can be fused together to create new, more powerful weapons, and this aspect of Uprising alone adds a great amount of depth. With the aid of a simple grid, you can view the results of possible weapon fusions and decide which to sacrifice to create something new. Your gear section lets you test out any owned weapon on a practice range, and there's a lot of fun in finding the perfect weapons to suit your playing style. You can also convert weapons into gems, which can be traded to other players via StreetPass, allowing them to either claim the weapon, fuse the gem with a weapon of their own, or sell the gem.

You purchase new weapons with hearts, the in-game currency, and then take them into battle or merge them with existing arms. Hearts can be earned from defeating enemies in-game or wagered at the start of each level. There's a difficulty slider which lets you either spend hearts to lower the difficulty or gamble hearts to increase it. The risk/reward aspect is a neat system that gives plenty of incentive to replay levels. So too does the challenge aspect, in which you earn hearts, weapons, and powers by completing goals outlined on a puzzle board. Powers also form part of Pit's arsenal. These range from support abilities like healing and a high jump, to offensive powers like meteor strikes and giant lasers. Each power has a corresponding shape, not unlike Tetris pieces, and you equip them for battle by placing them on a grid, which in itself is a fun spacial management minigame.

Little angel. Big gun.

The versus multiplayer is playable either online or locally, and these ground-based modes let you take your hard-earned weapons and powers into battle, either in teams or in a free-for-all. Free-for-all features up to six players going head-to-head trying to kill one another. Play takes place across a variety of arena-based stages, providing a solid deathmatch experience, albeit one that won't capture your attention for too long.

Light vs. Dark, the team-based mode, is the more interesting of the two modes. Here, teams kill each other until one team's life gauge depletes, at which point the player who died last transforms into an angel, either Pit or his Dark counterpart. Then it's a case of protecting your angel while trying to deplete the other team's life gauge, to trigger its angel and defeat it. It's a simple mode, and the faster pace of the multiplayer combined with the ground controls means it lacks some of the finesse of the single-player campaign. It's an enjoyable way to show off your weapons and is good fun with friends, but the real meat of Uprising is in its single-player story mode.

Multiplayer offers a fun, frantic diversion when you fancy a break from the story.

When it hits its stride, Uprising is a huge amount of fun. Once you get over the initial control discomfort, there's a deep and satisfying shooter to be found here. There's still the occasional maneuverability foible, but once you get to grips with a control scheme that suits you, these are few and far between. It's one of the best-looking 3DS games to date, with some fantastic 3D visuals that are used particularly well to convey depth in the flight sequences. Endearing, enjoyable, and brimming with content, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a loving homage to Nintendo's heritage.

The Good
A deep shooter with tons of customization options
Visually stunning, with excellent use of 3D
Laugh-out-loud funny dialogue
Colourful, fun art direction
The Bad
Controls require getting used to
Fiddly platforming segments
8
Great
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Discussion

89 comments
simomate
simomate

I LOVE this game. Its certainly in my top 3... which is surprising because before now, my top 3 were from 10 years+ ago.

InfernalLawyer
InfernalLawyer

There should be a specific demerit emblem for games that are brilliant overall but have one or two parts that make you want to tear your hair out. Falling off a bridge or merrily skipping through lava when trying to dodge bullets stops this great game from being brilliant. I swear, i will never be able to finish the volcano level on anything above easy when i'm tiptoeing over a narrow path while being sniped by the weakest enemies in the goddamn level

barren167
barren167

"PKFIRE" and "Toad" users in the multiplayer image are nice touches. If I weren't always "Mario" I might have stolen one of those...

iplayah
iplayah

the controls are horrible. 

Blobs3
Blobs3

This game is very, very good.  So far, I have been playing for 75 hours, and I have loved every hour of it.  All the missions are fun.  I'm not trying to justify my purchase, or anything like that, but I've found the controls to be fine.  I'll even go as to say as I'd rather play like this that have to analog sticks.  But that's just my opinion.  I love the complex weapon fusing system.  The graphics are sublime, especially during the flying sections.  The multiplayer is just excellent.  

 

Bai the way, if you see me online, my name is Blobs.  I use a Flintlocky. :3

justanotherjosh
justanotherjosh

If you're left-handed, I strongly urge you not to buy this game without playing it first. The game requires the simultaneous use of the circle pad and the touch screen interface, meaning you'll be forced to use the stylus in your right hand. While it is possible to customize the controls to alleviate this problem somewhat, I still find the game difficult to play. Definitely try it before you buy it.

bgghgubcjhgknjk
bgghgubcjhgknjk

yeah don't bother with the touch screen controls for unless you are already accustomed to them they suck, circle pad pro is the best way to play it for certain

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

@Shadowzeroace Heavily Agree, this game is definitly worth it. Whats good is that the controls are customizable, the default controls are excellent on Sky, on the land i use the face buttons for the camera, much easier for me.

NightFox313
NightFox313

@leroy9 They're two games in different genres. Of course some games are going to strive to be different from each other. Just because a game got a review score that's higher than another doesn't mean you should just forget the game with the lower score.

Hellman108
Hellman108

@Ovirew good luck man, But i have 20 hours on it and im only a 1/2 done with the game.. :P

Ovirew
Ovirew

@Hellman108 I'm glad you're enjoying the game, I've heard a lot of people are. I don't own a 3DS anymore, but I probably wouldn't get the game even if I still did. It just doesn't seem like the type of game I'm looking for right now. I need a bigger game, something with more playtime and replay value. Maybe I'm not even looking for a handheld game, idk.

Hellman108
Hellman108

@brosim1104 Does that mean MGS4 deserves an 11? I think so too.

Hellman108
Hellman108

@ovirew I 100% advise getting the game, as i had mentioned, I wasn't a huge fan of the series in the first place, however the game has brought back many of the old bosses and cameo appearances that the old game was iconic for. The multiplayer is as well amazing and the story is sizable for a portable game with tons of content, very much worth it if you ask me.

Steba93
Steba93

@leroy9 They don't compare these games between each other, and so what if this got better score? It's your opinion that matters to you, reviews are just telling you what the game is like, more like guidance, and the score is given based on what works and what does not, and it's just one or couple reviewers opinion. If they start comparing this to Skyward Sword and giving - and + points if something works worse or better in other game, SS would propably get higher score for larger world, innovative controls etc. but as just a game on 3DS, not compared to anything, Kid Icarus just got better score.

leroy9
leroy9

How can this get a higher score than Skyward Sword? Please sort your crap out, Gamespot.

MetalMick585
MetalMick585

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Shadowzeroace
Shadowzeroace

I love this game, it takes about 30min to an 1hr to get fully used to the controls but it works best at the default setting. As far as the gameplay it can be hard but it is very forgiving. Multiplayer is awesome 9 different weapon types offer a variety of play styles each with its own strengths and weaknesses, only thing is i wish you can customize your character a little but that's minor. All in all Kid Icarus is one of the best 3ds games i've played and its worth getting.

SR71halo
SR71halo

Actually, I can't see it working on the Wii too well. It was clearly designed for the stylus, you just need to get used to it.

snake63
snake63

Kid Icarus Uprising is more suited for the Wii. No matter what control setting Kid Icarus is designed for a second analog stick.

n64man94
n64man94

@hotdiddykong I agree 100%. That line and this review is just contradicting itself. This game deserves at LEAST and 8.7-9.0, easily.

FatmanAB
FatmanAB

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Angry3DSNerd
Angry3DSNerd

I can´t wait to play this epic game, but 8 for this game Gamespot? Well at least a 9 for the control issues, but it has lots of content to get and online battles! If you wanna play with me (when I get them 26th April) Kid Icarus: Uprising or Resident evil : Revelations, my friend code is 4210-4531-7365; and then you tell me yours. Good luck.

csward
csward

A Nintendo game with voice acting? What?

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

@Cherokee_Jack Sometimes you have to swim through the bu***hit in order to get the results you're looking for. In the case of reviews, trollers pick 1's, and fanboys pick 10s, but they're usually the minority vote and cancel each other out. Even adding in both the glowing, and troll voters, this game still holds a good rating at about 8.8 as of now. Still damn fine and better than the Metascore.

Cherokee_Jack
Cherokee_Jack

@dxBIGBOSSxb Well of course those aren't overrated, because people don't like them. A good percentage of users will rate anything they like a 10 and anything they don't like a 1, often with the sole intent of skewing the average user rating. If you click on the user reviews for Kid Icarus, you can see a lot of 10s already (and that's not even counting user ratings without reviews). Hardly what I'd see as a balanced assessment of the game.

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

@Cherokee_Jack I beg to differ on the "Overrated" part. A good example is Mass Effect 3 and MW3. Both games where given glowing reviews, but didn't live up to their respective heights as both got butchered user scores, with MW3 getting the rank it deserved at first, a 6.3, and ME3 got an 8.5 because of the ruined story, and dumbed down mechanics. But yes, most reviewers talk right out of their a**' today.

Cherokee_Jack
Cherokee_Jack

@dxBIGBOSSxb Or some users just overrate things they like, because they don't have to think as much about their scores as professional reviewers do. ... Nope, you're right, all reviewers everywhere are just dumb.

Drazonix
Drazonix

Extra: OFFICIAL CHAMPION WEAPON OF CHOICE: I like using the club. With the Babel Club, you can equip counter power up and if someone attacks you....DEAD. I literally killed 4 people at a time using this bad boy! It is OFFICIALLY the best weapon. So awesome, that I always win first place with it. The damage kills in 1-3 hit with the right range and melee. The maximum kills I received using this (19). That has to be a record; so if you are looking for a weapon of choice, use the Babel Club with a counter power up.(Bragging about the weapon, not my skills). I seriously named my character "1stPlace" since i just can't seem to loose. Well, glad to let my secret out to the public, now use this beast mode and win those matches!

Drazonix
Drazonix

Controls are absolutely NOT an issue. You have the option to adjust them. And here is a simple solution, use your thumb and nail, instead of the stylus. An easier way to use the power ups is to set the scrolls to Y and A, and activation power up to X P.S: I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR A FACE-PACED Ultra fighting action game on a nintendo handheld for over 23543636 years. This is my new favorite game of all time!

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Wow, how Ironic that the multiplayer is "Too Fast paced" when the title line for Uprising is "Kid Icarus: Uprising soars in this FAST-PACED and compelling shooter."

Omni-Slash
Omni-Slash

This game is one of the best that Nintendo has put out in awhile....every gamer should pick this up....

Runock
Runock

Don't own anything Nintendo anymore but this looks like a solid game. Have fun guys:)

DARKNESSxEAGLE
DARKNESSxEAGLE

Why'd they use a screenshot from the Nintendo Video thing? You know, instead of one of the visually stunning flying segments?

simomate
simomate

Oh, and to any left handed people, if you plan to buy this game be sure to use CCP with it. By itself, the game has no left handed support... but with CCP it does.

InfernalLawyer
InfernalLawyer

 @bgghgubcjhgknjk Boo! Touch screen controls are best for twitch-FPS action! Using buttons is so annoying when you're trying to get anything resembling accuracy. 

InfernalLawyer
InfernalLawyer

 @Steba93  @leroy9 Scores are overrated. I myself have fallen under the spell where i won't think twice about anything with a score lower than an eight, and even then...

Aleksa8
Aleksa8

 @bbkkristian Seriously, am I the one person in the world who actually LIKES the controls, let alone doesn't have a problem with them?

Rod90
Rod90

@ABEzilla116 @Blobs3 

I don't own Kid Icarus yet, but it would be a wise decision to exchange an ipod for a real gaming portable. You can sorta use it for music too haha.

ToxicSeoul
ToxicSeoul

 @Branmuffin316 that problem can be fixed using the circle pad pro for this game. It only works for left handed people, but to right handed people it's completely useless. But if it's only this game, I wouldn't waste my money.

simomate
simomate

@Aleksa8 @bbkkristian The game wouldn't feel the same without those controls. Honestly, if dual analogue support was added, I think the game would play very differently. I feel like to add it, they would have had to gimp the game. 

InfernalLawyer
InfernalLawyer

 @Aleksa8  @bbkkristian I'm okay with the controls (except dodging on bridges), but that's probably because i always play it positioning the 3DS on my lap. Lots of people claim its restrictive

Kid Icarus: Uprising

  • 3DS
Kid Icarus: Uprising is the long-awaited franchise follow-up to the NES classic.
ESRB
Everyone 10+
All Platforms
Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
Check out even more info at the Kid Icarus: Uprising Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average User Score See all 457 Player Reviews
8.7
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Most helpful Player Reviews

After 25 years, the Kid Icarus series is back and better than ever

User Rating: 10 | Read Full Review
3 of 3 users found the following review helpful

Kid Icarus: Uprising is the pinnacle of what the 3DS can offer.

User Rating: 1 | Read Full Review
4 of 5 users found the following review helpful