Kid Icarus' Last Stand
Pit's new adventure comes with no fewer than three different ways to play--one includes a stand for the 3DS.
In case you were unaware, when you play Nintendo's Kid Icarus: Uprising you have to hold the 3DS stylus in your right hand. So if you're left-handed, it probably isn't the most elegant way to play a handheld game. As a fellow south paw, my recent two-hour visit to play Kid Icarus: Uprising gave me an opportunity to see how much of an issue this would be as I tried two of the three different methods for playing the game. I can safely say that left-handed folks can probably make do using their right hands, but even righties might experience some hand cramping.
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But before we dive more into the controls, let's talk about the game itself. Every chapter in Kid Icarus is broken up into two parts; the first is the in-the-air on-rails section, but it only last a few minutes. The second part lands Pit on the surface where most your time is spent in any given level. It's also worth mentioning that these ground levels are fairly open and give some room for exploration.
One of the interesting aspects of Kid Icarus is its level difficulty--or intensity, as Nintendo calls--which can be adjusted to make the game easier or more challenging, but there's more to it than that. When you start the game for the first time, the intensity is set at 2.0, but before starting a chapter, you can still adjust the intensity from 0.0 to 9.0. Of course, this means the higher the intensity, the greater the challenge.
Intensity plays an important role in terms of collecting hearts because when you set your intensity, you wager a number of hearts. These hearts are then used to unlock additional weapons for Pit to use. By completing a stage without dying, you're rewarded with large number of hearts that are added to the hearts collected from defeating enemies. If Pit dies, you lose a percentage of the hearts you might have won and the intensity level drops.
The intensity level you've chosen for a particular area also lets you explore new areas. For example, in the first chapter of the game, there is a section that requires you to set the intensity to 5.0. If you like to take risks before getting familiar with a game, then you might be rewarded with something nice. Naturally, this also gives greater incentive to travel back through completed areas.
But no matter the difficulty, you might be wondering how Kid Icarus feels while playing, particularly for left-handers. The game is set up so that you use the stylus to aim on the touch screen, while the circle pad and L button control movement and shooting, respectively. Because of that, finding the sweet spot to perform all of Pit's actions was quite a challenge. Admittedly, even if you're accustomed to the holding the stylus with your right hand, you might face some problems because the game requires a lot of rapid movements.
Interestingly, when Kid Icarus: Uprising is launched on March 23, it will come bundled with a support stand that makes it significantly easier to play. It makes movement and other actions easier to manage because you won't have to rest the unit on the three remaining fingers of your left hand. The only real downside to the stand is that when you apply pressure to it, the stand moves around quite easily, so you might have to re-position it multiple times for the best viewing and playing angle.
Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to play the game using the circle pad add-on because of the way 3DS debug units are designed. Also, we didn't get a chance to see if it's possible to combine the circle pad add-on with the stand.
At any rate, playing Kid Icarcus: Uprising in a position that was foreign to me was still enjoyable, but it's obvious that you're going to have to find a control style that works best for you. Kid Icarus: Uprising is scheduled for a March 23 release.