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

By Mike Mason 18.09.2011 6

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

“Sorry to keep you waiting!” Pit cheekily exclaims as you begin to play Kid Icarus: Uprising. So you should be. It’s been 20 years since Pit’s last starring role in Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters on Game Boy, and the gods of gaming have been growing impatient. Its retro reins taken up by Masahiro Sakurai - resting from Smash Bros. - and Sora, Uprising delivers a whole new experience from the Kid Icarus titles of old.

After choosing from a selection of weapons, from swords and claws to bows and cannons, three stages were available in the latest demo of Kid Icarus: Uprising, each showing off the main elements of the game: flight sections, ground combat and boss battles. The first, Chapter 1: The Return of Palutena, introduces the controls and explains that Medusa has been resurrected as Pit soars through the skies, before landing and ridding an Underworld-stricken town of enemies and taking on the dual-headed hellhound Twinbellows. Chapter 2: Magnus and the Dark Lord starts more stormily; Pit navigates through thunder and lightning to a castle, where he meets Magnus and teams up against the Dark Lord Gaol. Finally, Pit must overcome an evolved Hewdraw in Chapter 3: Heads of the Hewdraw, an old foe who has sprouted two extra heads for Uprising. After dispatching the beast’s three heads, Pit shakes his body down to the ground once more to chase down each still-living head separately in increasingly difficult encounters.

Sakurai-san and his team have really ran with the Kid Icarus series, building a game that does not resemble the originals in any shape or form, characters excepted. That isn’t a bad thing, though, as Kid Icarus: Uprising is looking like a more than worthy successor - in parts. The on-rails flying sections are superb - something that seems to be a trend on Nintendo 3DS since launch, with titles such as Pilotwings Resort and Starfox 64 3D similarly impressing - and feel Sin & Punishment-esque. Pit is moved around the screen with the Circle Pad, while dragging around on the touch-screen controls an aiming reticule on the upper screen. You can keep moving this, or you can shift it into a position relative to Pit and have it stay there, though this isn’t advisable as enemies attack from all areas of the screen. By holding down the L shoulder button you can deliver a constant flow of fire, or you can opt to not fire for a while and press it a single time for a charged shot.

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

The third person action ground sections are not quite as competent and feel as if they need some fine-tuning. This is mainly because turning Pit with the touch-screen, while still controlling a target, is not as fluid as it should be. With Uprising delayed into 2012, hopefully this is a priority fix for the team before release. Despite this issue, these sections are still quite fun; as in the sky, Pit fires upon a myriad of foes and can get in close with physical attacks too. Large arrows light the way meaning that, at least for the duration of this demo, there was only a fixed path to traverse, but you can do it at your own pace as long you stick within the time limit.

Alternate control schemes, or support of the upcoming 3DS extension cradle, will be a must for Kid Icarus: Uprising upon launch, however, as in its current form it’s going to be quite a chore for left-handed players, who will be forced to hold the stylus with their right hand if they are to use the Circle Pad for movement. Even for the right-handed, Uprising is not the most comfortable title to play over time, the system having to be held steady by the left hand, which is gripping via the thumb on the Circle Pad and forefinger on left shoulder button. You might be advised to rest on a surface while playing this one.

On a more positive note, the writing and voice acting entertained throughout the demo, with commentary running a huge amount of the time. The latter is not of the greatest quality - Pit’s vocals have a high potential to grate - and the dialogue can be cheesy, but it fits in well and comes across as funny rather than frustrating; you suspect that it’s doing exactly what Sakurai-san and company want it to do. The Hewdraw sections are particularly humorous, with the beast’s multiple noggins arguing amongst themselves, promptly proving that three heads are not always better than one. The portraits on the lower screen, as well as the odd image from the NES original, are also a nice touch.

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

Final Thoughts

Kid Icarus: Uprising definitely has some issues that need ironing out before release, but what is there currently is a very promising basis with flight sections that will delight shooter fans. Fingers crossed that the final product will fill third person action aficionados and left-handed players with the same level of enthusiasm.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

Players

6

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   

Comments

I hope the time limit is only for demo purposes. Time limits are so '80s.

What are the chances of us also getting the Japanese VA as an option? They better not be close to zero because I totally love the Japanese voices, especially in the latest trailer.

Squidboy, I've just accidentally wiped your comment if you're reading this, sorry!

Squidboy (guest) 18.09.2011#4

No matter, you pretty much cover my own concerns in the preview.

I'm still unsure about this game, it has issues aside from control ones. The flight sections I played felt fleeting and linear, I reckon the audience could react to it like they did with PH main dungeon.

The flight in Zelda SS looks a lot more fun - there you have freedoms you naturally expect. The flight in this game should be allowing players to embrace the freedom that flight brings, that's where the excitement lies.

I fear Sakurai may have screwed up on this one.

Andross (guest) 20.09.2011#5

That said StarFox is on rails...

Jman (guest) 21.09.2011#6

As a left handed gamer, this is a clear cut example as to why dual sticks are a must.
The touch screen is no substitute for a second nub, and it's clear in this hands on test. It also wouldn't be an ideal solution in a fps, or a third person action game with a moveable camera either.
So glad we're getting that second nub add-on. It's going to save a lot of 3DS games.

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