About 25 years ago Nintendo released Kid Icarus, a platform game with light role playing game elements. It was a solid albeit forgettable entry in the NES library. Although it was somewhat successful, there was only one sequel made for the original Gameboy, and with that, Kid Icarus was left in the 8 bit era. Super Smash Bros Brawl reintroduced Pit, the main character of Kid Icarus. This was a foreshadowing to what Sakurai, the Nintendo developer at the helm, was going to work on next. Kid Icarus Uprising is the triumphant return of an old NES IP, and it's absolutely the best kind of sequel one could imagine. Masahiro Sakurai is the Nintendo director behind many of the Kirby games and the Smash Bros series. What this developer touches is usually turned to gold, and this is no exception.
Kid Icarus Uprising has the type of polish and care given to a game that was someones labor of love. You can absolutely tell the developers really gave their all with this title, it oozes style and character. The art direction is anime inspired, and it works very well with the characters involved. They look great and sound even better. Nintendo is not known for using substantial voice work in their games, yet with Kid Icarus they the hit the nail on the head. Characters truly come to life and hold some hilarious banter throughout the many, many stages of the game. There is quite a lot of content here. Just when you think it's over think again. Uprising is quite the epic installment of this old 8 bit platformer. For a series that held little history, Nintendo created a new staple in their repertoire, and now has a quite the franchise on their plate.
Uprising stages , for the most part, are broken into two distinct portions. The flying ,Star Fox style, on rail shooter sections are a blast to play. You are practically thrown into a theme park ride with twists and turns requiring you to dodge and shoot enemies in classic twitch shooter fashion. Thankfully the touch screen works flawlessly for quick aiming during the split second moments. The visuals are a sight to behold during these parts of the game. The sprawling landscapes that you fly across are colorful and detailed. Thanks to the 3DS, they lend themselves quite well to the 3d aspect. The music during these stages is extremely well orchestrated, and because these sections are on rails, it's all timed perfectly to the action on screen. They are, without a doubt, what most people will favor in Kid Icarus Uprising.
The other facet to the game, the land battles, are the most controversial aspect to the game. They require one to have a specific knack for video game controls,and much like a fighting game, require patience and skill in order to be successful at it. The camera control is the most difficult part to get the hang of and is simply not intuitive. While aiming your reticle at enemies, you are also expected to swipe the screen in a horizontal fashion to adjust and pan the camera. This can be daunting and disorienting at first but like anything practice makes perfect. The beauty of Kid Icarus Uprising is that despite a high learning curve in these sections, there are plenty of ways for those who simply cannot grasp the controls to proceed. There are a plethora of abilities to find and unlock to help you on your journey. Some of these auto target enemies, so players that have a problem with adjusting the camera while in the heat of battle should make use of them. There is also an adjustable difficulty scale from 1-9 much like Nintendos own Super Smash Bros. The easy side of the scale will not grant the more rare and powerful items you can acquire on the opposite spectrum, but for those who simply want to enjoy the game and its story, it's available. Granted this won't make the controls any easier, but it will allow players to make mistakes, as the higher difficulty levels will push even hardened players to the limits.
For the more hardcore gamers Kid Icarus Uprising is a treasure trove. There are so many items, weapons, and abilities to unlock that the replay value is extremely high. There are quite a few weapons to play with but each will have different status modifiers. This makes every weapon unique and coupled with a weapon fusion system that combines these modifiers with one another, creates a loot esque aspect to the game. Those who like to play games that grant random drops from treasure chests will have a nice treat here. Replaying the stages is a rather large draw to Uprisings design and acquiring that "perfect" weapon is something that will keep you playing. These weapons and abilities allow the player to have a very customizable experience.The ability system is balanced by equipping different skills via a Tetris style block square. Stronger abilities will yield larger or more awkwardly sized shapes that you must fit into your power block. Its a fun little deviation that adds to this personalized customization.
Fortunately, putting together the perfect sets of skills and weapons do not need to be kept to yourself, because the multiplayer portion of Kid Icarus Uprising allows you to show off and use your hard earned gear on other players through ground battles. There are two modes of play available for both online and local wireless play, one of which is a simple free for all brawl. Whoever gets the most points through kills wins, and it's all keep somewhat balanced by giving values to higher power weapons. A player is granted higher points if they take down a player with a more powerful weapon, so those who use the higher valued weapons become more of a target for the others. The multiplayer is fast and frantic. There are so many different weapons and skills constantly firing off that it can become utter chaos. There is a method to the madness however, and better players will use the distinctly optimized battle grounds to their advantage. The other mode of play is a 3 vs 3 team battle. Each team shares the same health bar and when it's depleted, one of the players will become a more powerful character in the match. When they're taken out, it's game over. The weapon values also balance this mode by decreasing the team health bar when a player with a more powerful weapon is KO'd more so than a player with a weak one. Overall the online mode, called Together Mode in Uprising, is exceptional and works like a charm. Even though you can play with friends online, you unfortunately cannot party with them and then play with randoms. It's only all friends or all random players, but you can add A.I. controlled bots into your friends matches.
Kid Icarus Uprising is the complete package. It's filled to the brim with content and has so much polish it's remarkable. The graphics are by far the best on the 3DS and I would go as far to say it is the best game on the 3DS to date. The steep learning curve for the land battles are not something that should deter anyone from getting enjoyment out of the game. It's merely a slight blemish on an outstanding, quality product. With each copy of Kid Icarus Nintendo has also included a set of AR(augmented reality)cards for use in the game. They don't add much to the gameplay itself but they are used for more unlocks and end up just being more bonus content. Also included with every copy of Uprising is a stand to place your 3DS on. It helpful because holding the 3DS in one hand while using the touch screen can become tiresome to some during extended play periods. This is a flagship title for the 3DS, and hopefully it's a successful one. If you own a 3DS it's a must play, if you don't own one, consider it.