Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Adam Riley 19.03.2012 38

Review for Kid Icarus: Uprising on Nintendo 3DS

Pit has been absent for far too long, appearing in a now ancient NES and Game Boy duo of adventures, before making a guest appearance in Smash Bros. Nintendo and Masahiro Sakurai's team at Sora have now resurrected the character, so fondly remembered for his role in Captain N: The Game Master, on Nintendo 3DS in Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Nintendo has been gradually building up the hype for Kid Icarus: Uprising since the 3DS was first unveiled, but development issues led to it being pushed back again and again. After Cubed3’s numerous early hands-on previews it was regularly noted that only half of the game was in full working order. Thankfully, though, all the extra development time appears to have righted the majority, if not all, of the highlighted flaws.

Pit has been enlisted by the Goddess Palutena to help the people of the land be rid of the scourge that is Medusa and her band of nefarious villains. To aid Pit in this endeavour, Palutena bestows upon him various gifts, including the ability to fly. However, as this is only permitted for a five minute spell, it means that the action in Uprising is split between air-based shooting action and on-foot sections that employ the same basic core gameplay, except in a slightly modified format. It is this latter element that was severely lacking in preview editions, even feeling 'broken' at times. Now all is right with the world...well, 'almost.'

First things first, however, and the culmination of styles together make for a thrilling experience on the whole, and anyone that has played and loved both Treasure's fast and frenetic Sin and Punishment 2: Successor of the Skies (Star Successor in the US) will instantly feel at home. The on-rails sky action bears more than a passing resemblance to the Wii shmup that Cubed3 adoringly gave full marks to, with its intense pace and smooth reticule movement for targeting the constant bombardment of enemies and ensuing projectiles aimed directly at Pit, albeit with the stylus replacing the Wii Remote's IR pointing this time round.

Screenshot for Kid Icarus: Uprising on Nintendo 3DS

As for the ground based combat, it takes on a more free-roaming approach to allow for exploration of the areas visited, but it feels remarkably similar to Akaoni Studios' WiiWare smash, Zombie Panic in Wonderland, or even EnjoyUp's Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ on DS and DSiWare thanks to its preference for close quarters combat, mixed with a dash of long distance shooting and a whole host of destruction as wave after wave of monsters flood the screen.

High praise, no doubt you will agree, and it is clear how much care and attention has been imbued upon Kid Icarus: Uprising thanks to Sakurai-san taking onboard feedback received from a variety of sources during the development process. What helps to make Uprising even more of a joy to play is its brilliant humour, with the interplay between Goddess and willing assistant being of particular note. The actress playing Palutena, who some may recognise from her role as Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII, does a fantastic job of portraying the teasing, often sarcastic, Goddess, often winding Pit up just to invoke a humorous reaction. The general banter that plays out whilst gamers are busily blasting away in the hope of staying alive long enough to reach the end of stage boss encounter is absolutely hilarious at times, to the point where it may even prove distracting…but listening carefully is definitely worth a level retry at certain points as the rapport the characters have is superb. The script writing overall has a certain glow about it, and the comedic feel continues in the various comments made by main bosses (the three-headed Hewdraw is a particular stand out example in the early stages). It really does make Kid Icarus: Uprising a pleasure to play through, helping to smooth over the ground combat control flaws.

Screenshot for Kid Icarus: Uprising on Nintendo 3DS

Whilst the air-bound sequences are near enough flawless, with the default setup of the Circle Pad for controlling Pit’s general movement as he flies along the on-rails flight path, with the on-screen reticule deftly swished around using the stylus and the left shoulder button attributed to shooting, working a treat, as soon as the hero lands, things take a turn for the worse. However, after plenty of time tweaking the design from the initial build Cubed3 tried what seems like eons ago, everything works well enough to help get through the main game without too much hassle. The main flight controls still apply for the main part, but there is a greater need for double-shunting the Circle Pad left or right to dodge incoming fire, as well as swiftly swiping the touch-screen to spin the camera around, which in the heat of battle is certainly no substitute for a dual analogue system. Adding the Circle Pad Pro into the mix does not actually change this either, as some may have hoped, with it merely being added as an option for left-handed players to be able to better get to grips with the standard control settings.

Although holding Kid Icarus: Uprising back from achieving the sheer perfection levels that Treasure’s Sin and Punishment sequel on Wii attained, players will find that they adapt to the moderately irksome setup sufficiently to prevent the entire adventure being completely marred. It also helps that the rest of the game is so packed with sheer sublime goodness that any qualms melt away immediately.

Screenshot for Kid Icarus: Uprising on Nintendo 3DS

From the fact that each chapter can be replayed on different difficulty levels to open up new secrets, to the wealth of achievements to unlock throughout the adventure, and the whole host of weapon customisation, Kid Icarus: Uprising tries to offer players the most value for their money, and succeeds in every respect. Working through a level normally involves making the best use of whatever weapon is currently at your disposal -- with some able to fire continuously from afar or others being better in the melee field and requiring a special charge to unleash projectiles -- to plough down a torrent of weird and wonderful enemies thrown into your path. Palutena ensures that Pit takes the right route during flying sections, but on the ground players are given free rein to seek out hidden rooms, new paths, and track down all manner of extra items to help the cause (new weapons, special shields, powerful accessories, and so on). This open adventuring styles works really well once the controls have been adapted to, and the various situations faced are once again accompanied by some amazing voice work keeping gamers absorbed in the experience to the highest degree.

Outside of the main adventure, which in itself is meaty thanks to the range of difficulty levels available, all with incentives to actually try them out, there is the delightful multiplayer battle mode, which can be played either online or via a local wireless connection with Friend Code folk or complete strangers in a random match-up selection. Mayhem ensues unless the right weaponry has been chosen pre-battle, and flying into a group fight without prior experience with the controls can prove to be highly daunting, and normally short-lived, but once brushed up enough, launching attacks across the various arenas, either alone or in teams, can be great fun for those enamoured by Sakurai-san’s Smash Bros. games. Kid Icarus: Uprising is not the same game as its NES and Game Boy predecessors, but the end result proves that the changes made are definitely for the better, pressing enough retro buttons to appeal to old school fans, whilst showing how the extras are a result of a true labour of love by a developer with real passion for videogame making.

Screenshot for Kid Icarus: Uprising on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Kid Icarus: Uprising was always going to be a risky move from Nintendo, pegging it as one of the key Nintendo 3DS titles right from launch, but thankfully it was delayed long enough for Masahiro Sakurai and his team at Sora Ltd to spend sufficient time ironing out as many of the issues raised in early preview builds as possible. The end result is a thoroughly entertaining mix of air- and ground-based shooting that never slows down, throwing all manner of new challenges at the player, incentivising the whole process to ensure replay levels are as high as possible. The intense multiplayer options are merely the icing on an already very delicious cake.









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   


Great review Adam, although I'm pretty sure Sin and Punishment 2: Successor of the Skies came out in 2010 and not last year. Smilie

It seems that the controls are the deciding factor when it comes to reviews and general opinions on this game. Those who only had little problems with them said they had a blast, while it's the opposite for people having a lot of trouble with the controls. Everything else about the game sounds truly great, so I hope I'll end up in the former camp of gamers when I get the game next Monday. Smilie

Controls are something I can get used to. I don't think I'll have that much trouble with them myself, but we'll see when it's released.

Glad to hear that every other aspect of the game is great though. Smilie

( Edited 19.03.2012 14:36 by Mush123 )

Are those Metroid in that screenshot? Smilie

Characters that indeed look like Metroids, but go under a different name. You can't shoot the damn things either! Need to get up close and personal to whack them.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Willy Wonka (guest) 19.03.2012#5

Sadly, I'm not interested in this.

The controls look and sound awkward, from what I've gathered.

Our member of the week

Metroids were already in the NES game (Metroid and Kid Icarus were developed around the same time, and by the same team Smilie )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I am a college student.
I have no money.
I have no time.

But this week I WILL buy Kid Icarus Uprising! Smilie
Been looking forward to this game since the original trailer. Great to see stellar reviews all over the place.

If anyone has any questions about the game, just let me know and I'll see if I can answer them Smilie

I'm really pleased to see how well this finally turned out, since the preview versions had put me off...the only thing that kept me going were the fantastic air-based shooting sections, so I'm pleased the ground-based bits were tweaked to improve them considerably.

Adapting the control settings also helps a bunch, since the default setting can indeed be overbearing at times.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Can you use the ABXY buttons for movement kind of like in Metroid Prime: Hunters?
And if you can, does it seem responsive and a decent option for lefties ( I know that may be hard to answer if your right handed) just i'd rather not have to rely completly on the CPP add on.

For the most of the review I used the default setting, but this is the control main setup I used because it felt much more comfortable:

Circle Pad - moving the reticule
Face Buttons - moving Pit / dash-strafing
Up/Down D-Pad - scroll through special items
Left D-Pad - change to first-person view
Right D-Pad - use special item
L shoulder - realign the camera
R shoulder - shoot

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Our member of the week

I don't know which control setup I'll end up liking the most. The one you used Adam sounds like Sin & Punishment on N64 all over again, so this might be what I go for since I was an ace player at that game, with such a control setup Smilie.

However I was hoping that aiming with the stylus and moving pit with the circle pad would be more accurate ?? I dunno yet, I guess I really need to buy the game and try it for myself before I can decide for sure.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

During the flight mode the stylus was amazing, but for the Land Battle I prefered the control setup listed above...

There are many different things to tweak:

Control Configuration
Step 1 - Choose how to move Pit (Circle Pad or ABXY)
Step 2 - Choose how to move the reticule (Touch Screen, D-Pad, Circle Pad)
Step 3 - The following six options can be switched around (L, R, four D-Pad directions): Align Camera, Attack, Select Powers (scrolling left), Select Powers (scrolling right), Change View, Use Power

Reticule / Camera
You can independently change the speed at which the reticule can be moved horizontally and vertically, as well as change how quickly or slowly the reticule stops moving after it's been flicked across the screen. This can be done for the Land Battle mode alone, the Air Battle alone, or both. So you can indeed tweak both modes separately! You can also invert the reticule movement either horiz or vert, or both at the same time, and the same goes for Pit's movements (on-screen arrows on the touch-screen show the changes to avoid any confusion).

More Controls
There is the option to turn off guide arrows on the ground, switch off homing shots, turn on an aim assist that guides the reticule automatically towards enemies in the Land Battle sections, and even an auto-fire function that fires whenever the reticule moves over an enemy.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Adam Riley said:
During the flight mode the stylus was amazing, but for the Land Battle I prefered the control setup listed above...

There are many different things to tweak:

Control Configuration
Step 1 - Choose how to move Pit (Circle Pad or ABXY)
Step 2 - Choose how to move the reticule (Touch Screen, D-Pad, Circle Pad)
Step 3 - The following six options can be switched around (L, R, four D-Pad directions): Align Camera, Attack, Select Powers (scrolling left), Select Powers (scrolling right), Change View, Use Power

You mentioned you could use the Circle Pad to move the reticle? I was only aware of the stylus aiming in this game. In that case, the game is compatible with the Circle Pad Pro (which we all know), but can you use the CPP so left Circle Pad = Movement and right Circle Pad = Reticle?

I know for a fact you can move Pit with the right Circle Pad (CPP) and aim with the stylus in your left hand. But is what I stated above also available?

This game sounds like it has a lot of control options. Sounds very good indeed. Smilie

( Edited 20.03.2012 00:26 by Mush123 )

Monkey D Super (guest) 20.03.2012#14

Good review, getting KIU when it comes to EU this week, even though I don't have a 3DS yet.

Mush - sadly I don't have a CPP to try with the game. Nintendo didn't send that out, or the stand, or the AR cards...

Thanks Monkey D Super Smilie Are you planning on getting a 3DS with KIU then?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Monkey D Super (guest) said:
Good review, getting KIU when it comes to EU this week, even though I don't have a 3DS yet.
I've seen you post here before. You should definitely make an account. Smilie

@Adam, thanks for all the info anyways. I should be getting the game Thursday so I'll find out then. Smilie

( Edited 20.03.2012 22:01 by Mush123 )

Jman (guest) 21.03.2012#17

Definitely picking the game up, but I am disappointed they're not using the CPP to the fullest. I don't think 3DS games can receive patches, but if they can, I'd like to see a proper dual stick control option for CPP.

Mush - hope you enjoy it and find a good enough control system Smilie

Jman, they couldn't incorporate the CPP in the way they wanted purely because the team only found out about it at the end of the development cycle. It was fortunate they were able to squeeze in the button-swap feature for left-handed players.

Thanks to everyone for not mentioning the shocking error in the final overview paragraph, by the way Smilie Smilie Fixed now Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Adam Riley said:
Mush - hope you enjoy it and find a good enough control system Smilie

I will do, don't you worry. I don't mind having to adapt to a control scheme. Shouldn't take me too long. Smilie

Okay then, who has bought this now? Initial thoughts?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Adam Riley said:
Okay then, who has bought this now? Initial thoughts?
I recieved it yesterday and I've only played up to chapter 3 so far, with a couple of online games as well. The land controls are pretty awkward (I sucked in the online mode, haha) but they're something I could get used to after playing for a while. Btw, the control set up I'm using is the CPP. Controlling Pit with the right stick and aiming with the touch screen. (Sadly there is no dual analogue control scheme.)

Overall.. so far, so good. Smilie

( Edited 23.03.2012 16:07 by Mush123 )

Our member of the week

Should get my copy tomorrow when I'm in town, if there are any copies left on shelves.

EDIT: Just got it! Last copy in that shop too. The shop owner said it flied off shelves on the day of release (yesterday) and today in the morning.

( Edited 24.03.2012 14:17 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

This game is pure unadulterated magic. I can't get enough of it! Sakurai is a freak'n genius.

I was a bit skeptical about the humor and dialogue getting so much praise, but they weren't kidding, it's a riot. Fourth wall shattering galor. lol

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Started playing it yesterday night after it arriving Friday morning. So far I've done 3 chapters and I'm already blown away on some levels.

- The music, holy shit it's fantastic
- The amount of content! There's SO much to do, is this really a sequel to the TINY Kid Icarus NES back then?
- The voice acting quality, why couldn't Metroid Other M have VA this brilliant? It's got some of the most genuine and humorous VA in a game I've played in ages
- The comedy in general is fantastic

I could probably say a lot more but like most I've had a few issues getting to grips with the camera controls during land battles, I'm getting used to it though. It'd be nice if the CPP could be used to control it properly but it can be gotten used to and once you get past that the game is, frankly, amazing so far.

My brother's much farther than me and he said the plot and characters get really good too, I honestly wasn't expecting a game this big from such a small and simple NES game.

Yep I already think this one belongs in every 3DS owner's collection.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

NES --> GB -----------------------------------> 3DS Version

Really glad to hear people are enjoying this as much as I did and the review score's justified Smilie

As for those asking about why the CPP wasn't used for an alternate control set-up, it was simply down to timescales. Sora Ltd only found out about the CPP very late in the day and wasn't able to re-jig things for dual-analogue control. Sad, but true.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.