Kid Icarus: Uprising (Hands-On) (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 04.08.2011

Review for Kid Icarus: Uprising (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

The Kid Icarus series may be a small-time one compared to the likes of Mario, Link and Donkey Kong’s adventures, but between the two games on NES and Game Boy, it has amassed a legion of fans that have been peppering Nintendo with requests for a revival over several years. Finally, with Masahiro Sakurai back on-board with Nintendo at his studio, Sora, the dream is about to become a reality, with Kid Icarus: Uprising bounding towards the Nintendo 3DS. Cubed3 recently got the chance to try it out.

Right from the start, Kid Icarus: Uprising proves itself to definitely be a confusing game and one that seems rather mystified itself as to what exactly it wants to be. Is it a straight up shooting experience like Sin & Punishment, is it a land-based action title like the on-foot missions in older Star Fox entries, or is developer Sora hoping to make it similar to the Smash Bros. series in terms of the brawling style multiplayer element that has been implemented? One thing is for sure, though, and that is the fact that currently it excels on the shooter side of matters.

The latest demo version tested involved attempting to kill as many enemies as possible to increase the play-time across three different scenarios, Chapter 1: The Return of Palutena, Chapter 2: Magnus and the Dark Lord, and Chapter 3: Heads of the Hewdraw. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, there was only time to try out the last part. Watching others try Chapter 1 and 2 showed the ground-based play is almost the same as the early demo Cubed3 tried at the beginning of the 2011, but perhaps with slightly tighter controls. Having to make Pit bounce around (he does not just walk because of his wings, it seems) with the Circle Pad and still aim quickly with the stylus is not the simplest set-up, but can eventually be grown accustomed to.

In the third chapter, players were treated to an on-rails flying scenario where one of seven weapons could be chosen (Blade, Bow, Cannon, Arm, Claws, Orbitars and Palm), then a brief introduction was acted out on the lower screen with Fire Emblem-esque 2D character portraits and full voice-acting. All the while, the action commenced on the top screen in full-on 3D, with a health bar present in the top-left and the five minute timer located top-centre. Pit was told to hurry up and take flight because the Underworld’s army was invading Skyworld.

Screenshot for Kid Icarus: Uprising (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

It was then a case of once more using the left shoulder button to fire away, the Circle Pad for moving Pit around in the air, and dragging the stylus over the touch-screen to direct the reticule for aiming. During the fast, frenetic action it was possible to spot Metroids flying towards Pit had to be blown to pieces. After plenty of zooming around, dodging all over the place and shooting like crazy (something left-handed gamers may struggle with...), Pit announces he wants to go after the commander, to which his partner confirms it as being Hewdraw, and when Pit asks for confirmation, an old NES sprite appears on the lower screen paying homage to the game’s 8-bit roots. This three-headed flying dragon attacks constantly, with differing forms of projectiles coming from each head, with Pit having to take each one out, whilst also being wary of other incoming enemies from all regions. Mayhem ensures, and the parallels between Kid Icarus: Uprising and both Star Fox, as well as Sin and Punishment are remarkable.

One other intriguing aspect looked at upon despatching Hewdraw was the new set of AR cards. Nintendo plans to release a range of Kid Icarus-themed cards related to the Uprising adventure for use with the Augmented Reality aspect of the Nintendo 3DS. These were on show, yet served absolutely no purpose, if brutally honest. Currently it appears as if there are no statistics on different cards, merely images of different characters that appear in 3D when the external 3DS cameras are pointed at them. Turning two cards to face one another and tapping ‘A’ instigates a graphically impressive battle on whatever surface the cards have been placed, with victory being claimed after a few seconds. However, that is it. No fancy finale or awards, no indication of whether this will have any impact on the main game or anything like that. At the moment it is purely an aesthetic trick that does not even involve anything more than the depression of one button.

Screenshot for Kid Icarus: Uprising (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

Currently Kid Icarus: Uprising is still looking like somewhat of a mixed bag. Whilst the airborne stages are extremely enjoyable and intense, like Star Fox or Sin and Punishment, the ground levels have yet to be tweaked sufficiently to put them on the same footing. The game definitely has some great appeal in places, but unless the land-based areas are improved, they may let the side down overall.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (16 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Ralph (guest) 05.08.2011#1

So the ground combat is still a pain to play? That kinda puts me off.

Gizmoid (guest) 06.08.2011#2

Why insist on including a mode that doesn't work properly? Surely Sakurai has heard the negative feedback since the game was originally revealed? Makes no sense. All the praise has been for the flying stick to its strengths!

I'd love to see Treasure do Sin & Punishment 3 on 3DS...that's basically what I think when I see this game, and after playing it I want S&P3 even more. At least Treasure knows how to do ground combat better. Kid Icarus' ground combat isn't awful, but it's just not a patch on the midair sections.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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