[Game Review] Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo 3DS)

Kid Icarus UprisingFor years now, rumors have been running rampant about a radical revival for one of Nintendo’s forgotten franchises. Most of it stemming from the hopeful wishing and constant speculation of a select few big time video game journalists, the rumor mill was almost constantly buzzing with talk of Kid Icarus making a comeback every time the Big N announced it would be revealing any kind of news.

The reason for this is very unclear to me, because I’ve always felt that both the original Kid Icarus for NES sucked pretty hard. Frustrating controls and garbage gameplay mechanics really irritated me every single time I tried to play it. Maybe it was just the fact that I sucked really bad at it, but for whatever reason I just hated the original. So why would anyone want the franchise to make a return?

Luckily, when it was finally confirmed and shown off for the first time, the painfully boring vertical tower climbing gameplay mechanics of the past looked to be completely thrown away in favor of radical aerial combat and action-heavy ground battle segments. For the first time in my life, I was excited for Kid Icarus. And now that the finished game is finally available for the Nintendo 3DS, I am happy to say that it doesn’t disappoint.

Review:

Players familiar with Super Smash Bros. Brawl will immediately feel right at home when navigating Icarus’ menus, as the look and layout was lifted right from the famous mascot mashup. Considering this game comes from the same mastermind behind the critically acclaimed fighting franchise, it should come as no surprise. Other familiar features include the ability to collect figurines, tons of unlockable goodies, and, of course, a hectic multiplayer offering.

Unlike Super Smash Bros., Uprising’s single-player offering is the real meat and potatoes of the overall experience. With several chapter to blast through, each containing a gripping aerial combat section, followed by an on-foot exploration of small, linear battlegrounds, and finished up with a fight against an oftentimes stunningly large boss. The on-rails flight sections of Icarus are easily the best part of the entire game, as the grounded portions feature frustrating controls, regularly awkward combat, and irritating pacing issues. That’s not to say that aren’t enjoyable, however. As solid as they are, they have far more issues than do Pit’s airborne¬†escapades.

Most of the issues with control stem from the fact that I am left-handed, and there is simply no control option to properly suit left-handed players. The best available option is to use the face buttons (A, B, X, Y) for character movement and aim with the touch screen. As hand-crampingly uncomfortable as this layout is for right-handed players, it’s even worse for south paws like myself, because we don’t even get the option of analog movement.

The game’s multiplayer offering is an insanely hectic one, making available either 3-on-3 matches where two teams face off against each other or an even more psychotic free-for-all mode. And as fun as both options are, neither one is very deep or very rewarding.This is largely because it is nearly impossible to ever tell what the hell is happening at any one point in time. Everything moves so fast that it’s a real challenge to form any kind of strategy, making the entire thing a fairly shallow endeavor without much in terms of longevity.

The biggest pro of of Uprising is its insane amount of entertainment value. With tons of weapons to collect and buy, a lengthy single player where each stage can be played multiple times without feeling arduous thanks to various difficulty levels, an entertaining multiplayer distraction, StreetPass functionality, and much more, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a hell of a deal.

Final Words:

Kid Icarus is a radical revival of a franchise that many of today’s players never even knew existed. The rapid action challenges your speed, decision-making, and reaction skills constantly, providing plenty of beat-down before you’re ever good enough to play on max difficulty. The gorgeous graphics and often-times cheesy dialogue offer up a nice, polished feel to the overall package and plenty of subtle (and not-so-subtle) references and throwbacks that will put a smirk on any retro gamer’s face. Partner all of this with the potential for hours and hours of entertainment value, and Kid Icarus: Uprising presents itself as a must-own for 3DS gamers despite all of its flaws.

Pros:

  • Lengthy, arcade-style single player
  • Beautiful audio and visual presentation
  • Insane amount of entertainment value

Cons:

  • Developer refused to make a decent control option that didn’t force touchscreen use… which really sucks for left-handed players such as myself
  • While extremely fun, multiplayer mode is a bit too shallow to remain entertaining for long

Score: 8.5/10 (Great)

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