As soon as the first level of Kid Icarus: Uprising starts, Pit (the star of Kid Icarus) exclaims “Sorry to keep you waiting!”. It has been 20 years since Pit has taken the lead role in a game (though he was a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl) and his return was worth waiting for.
One of the strangest things about Kid Icarus: Uprising is it’s control scheme. You play Kid Icarus by moving with the circle pad, aiming with the stylus, and shooting with the L button. This may seem strange, but it totally works. However, holding the 3DS with your left hand for long periods of time may become uncomfortable. This is why Nintendo decided to include a 3DS stand with every copy of the game. Though it isn’t usually necessary, it can be a good way to play the game and it’s nice that Nintendo was so thoughtful.
There were many ways Kid Icarus: Uprising blew my mind, but one way I wasn’t expecting was in the story. Kid Icarus: Uprising has a deep and complex story that unfolds beautifully without any cutscenes. Yep, the entire story unfolds on the bottom screen during gameplay. This includes incredibly cheesy/well-acted witty back-and-forth banter between the heroes and villains. The goofy style of writing surprisingly fits well with the cast and story.
The levels of Kid Icarus: Uprising are broken into two segments. First, a five minute flying section where the Goddess Palutena explains the situation. This section is an on-rails shooter where you destroy large groups of flying enemies. Following this, you land and play the rest of the level on foot. You run though the level with full control of where you go crushing all of the villains in your path. Lastly, you end each level with an epic boss battle.
Kid Icarus: Uprising looks beautiful. Throughout the game, whether you are in the skies or on the ground, playing by yourself or online, the graphics are smooth, crisp, clear, and are comparable to the Xbox 360 games I’ve played. This, of course, is without adding the 3DS’s ace in the hole…3D. The 3D pops into your face with detailed characters and the incredible textures of the environment sink deep into the screen. It is quite literally like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s a treat to the eyes.
Besides the excellent story mode, Kid Icarus: Uprising has robust multiplayer modes including local multiplayer and a couple fantastic online modes. One is a free-for-all mode where you fight to stay alive and annihilate as many other players as possible while the other is a team mode called “Dark Vs. Light”. In this mode you fight alongside two other players and try to defeat another team. This mode stands out for me as it allows players of different skill levels to have the same odds.
Also, every player you battle with or against is going to have a unique fighting style. This is partly because of the elaborate weapon customization options Kid Icarus gives you. You are able to purchase a ton of different weapons in the game. Each individual weapon (even ones that have the same name) have different stats. Furthering this concept is that any two weapons can be combined into a more powerful weapon.
In addition to the story and online modes, Kid Icarus: Uprising also makes use of some of the 3DS’s remarkable features including Streetpass and augmented reality. Players are able to swap their customized weapons with Streetpass while Nintendo has invented a little AR card game. The AR card game is a pretty brilliant distraction and I hope other developers begin creating this sort of experience.
For me, the list of flawless games is short (and happens to contain a lot of Mario). Kid Icarus: Uprising makes it onto this list. It blends a number of different game styles and creates a console quality experience that is entirely new and utterly fantastic.