Name: Kid Icarus: Uprising
Developer: Project Sora/Nintendo
Release Date: 23 March 2012
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Third-person shooter
Multiplayer: Local and online deathmatch and team deathmatch
What it's about:
Kid Icarus: Uprising is a third-person shooter and follows the story of Pit, an angel loyal to Palutena, the Goddess of Light. Pit, despite being an angel, can't fly on his own and has to rely on Palutena who grants him the power of flight, however, it only lasts for 5 minutes. Together with her, Pit has to protect the world from the evil forces of the Underworld Army and the resurrected Medusa. The story is split into chapters and is very light-hearted with a massive amount of jokes, (horrible) puns, references to other games, sarcasm and much more. It's told right during the gameplay by the protagonists and even the antagonists who regularly join the conversations.
The game doesn't take itself seriously at all, but it doesn't have to. It's one of Nintendo's best storytellings to date and a nice, different approach with so many overly serious games on the market.
The gameplay of Kid Icarus: Uprising mostly follows a very basic structure. You start out shooting waves of enemies in the air and then you are fighting more enemies on the ground while making your way to the chapter's boss. It's simple, but it works. This structure also allows for shorter gaming sessions with each chapter taking anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.
The power of flight only lasts for 5 minutes, so the time you'll spend in the air is a fair bit shorter than the time spent on the ground. The flying parts of the game are on-rails and play a lot like Sin and Punishment where you basically shoot everything you see in order to survive until you arrive at your destination. You control Pit with the Circle Pad while aiming with the stylus on the touchscreen and shooting with the left shoulder button. This works very well and I couldn't possibly imagine aiming with a circle pad in place of the stylus/touchscreen combo, especially on higher difficulties when it gets really, really hectic. Land battles use the same control scheme as air battles, but they're not on-rails. You can rotate the camera with the touchscreen which is something that needs some time getting used to as you're also aiming with the touchscreen. Once you get the hang of it though, it works very well.
There are 9 weapon types Pit can choose from and each type plays differently as they directly affect your stamina, power, speed, shooting range and much more. On top of that, every individual weapon can have a large variety of special stats which add even more depth to the weapon system. If that wasn't already enough, you can even fuse two weapons into a completely different one that retains some of its original attributes. The amount of possible combinations is endless and you'll always be striving to craft even stronger weapons than your current ones. To further customize your playstyle, you can also equip a variety of obtainable power-ups which can be used a number of times during the ground sections of the chapters.
Perhaps the most brilliant gameplay aspect of Kid Icarus: Uprising is the Fiend's Cauldron. You can bet hearts (the in-game currency) to increase both the difficulty and the rewards. On higher difficulty levels, enemies are much more aggressive and harder to kill making it a much more exhilarating and hectic experience. If you die, you lose some hearts you've bet and can try to continue on a lower intensity. Thankfully, the game lets you keep weapons and power-ups obtained in that level, so it's much less frustrating than it could be. Weapons obtained on higher difficulties are much stronger with better base power and/or attributes. It's a really great incentive to replay chapters aside from the added challenge.
Graphically speaking, Kid Icarus: Uprising is colourful, detailed and fast-paced with a ton of objects on the screen and without suffering from any slowdowns whatsoever. It truly shows what the 3DS is capable of and is without a doubt the best looking 3DS game yet. The cherry on the cake are the beautiful anime drawings of all the characters displayed on the touchscreen during the countless conversations that go on as you play the game.
Just like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, this game has a variety of well-known videogame composers such as Motoi Sakuraba or Yasunori Mitsuda on board and it definitely shows. The orchestrated soundtrack is phenomenal and definitely requires using headphones or even hooking up the 3DS to an external sound system to fully appreciate its greatness. The English voice acting is equally stunning. It perfectly conveys the humour found throughout the game's dialogue which is quite an accomplishment, as many of the jokes and sarcasm would be completely ruined if the voice actors weren't this good.
It's very noticeable that the studio behind Super Smash Bros. Brawl developed Kid Icarus: Uprising from little things like the overall menu layout to the amount of content the game has to offer. As far as length and replay value are concerned, this game destroys anything currently available on the 3DS. The main game will take you about 10-15 hours to beat but then there's also a brilliant difficulty system, addicting weapon system and the ridiculous amount of unlockables, some of which are incredibly hard to achieve, that keep you motivated to replay the chapters of the game.
If that on its own wasn't already enough, the added online modes, which feel a lot like Super Smash Bros. in 3D, are a lot of fun and will keep making you come back for more. Needless to say, this game is bursting with content and will keep you busy for a long time.
Final Score: 10/10
When Kid Icarus: Uprising was first announced, I never imagined that it would turn out to be a game as brilliant as this. You can easily tell that Masahiro Sakurai and his team put a lot of effort into this game as it has a lot of polish, tons of content and highly addictive gameplay. Anyone who has been longing for that new, original 3DS game should do themselves a favour and pick this game up. Now.