It’s been a long, long wait for Kid Icarus: Uprising. The game that’s loosely based on the more popular Greek myths was supposed to be released a year ago. Sadly, it wasn’t ready on the day that the 3DS was launched. Now, a year later, it’s here. And, oh, boy, what a terrific, deep experience playing can be!
|KID ICARUS: UPRISING
Nintendo for 3DS; Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older.
Replay Value: 9.0
Overall Score: 9.1
Pros: Deep online multiplayer; cool augmented reality cards; characters who speak.
Cons: Controls take getting used to; occasional camera-angle issue; characters speaking during battle is distracting.
The story of Kid Icarus: Uprising features Pit, the chipper main character, in a battle to save Angel Land from the scheming Medusa. This nasty snake-haired goddess commands an army of varied, flying monsters that want to strike out at Pit.
But the plucky warrior is helped by Palutena, the chatty goddess of light who guards the human race. Through her, you’ll learn how to use weapons and even how to fly.
BOTH BIG AND SMALL REASONS TO GET IT
The reasons to get the game are many, and even the small things will rock your world. Six augmented reality cards add enjoyment beyond the game. Use them, and you’ll get collectible hearts that let you buy stuff. You can make your own weapons. You can use a slider to carefully increase the difficulty of the game far beyond the usual Hard option.
Each level is composed of a seat-of-your-pants flying mission, a difficult ground mission and a boss battle. The bosses you encounter are wonderfully weird and crazy. For instance, the giant dragon Hewdraw has three heads, each with a wild personality. It’s like meeting the Three Stooges of dragons.
On the ground, you sometimes find vehicles that you can jump into and drive around. The Exo Tank, for instance, looks like a supercharged Japanese stag beetle mixed with a Roman chariot. It shoots blue lightning bolts from its frontal blades and moves via jet propulsion.
This is such a carefully made game packed with action that you might miss one of the best things about it: the dramatic, humorous, sometimes cheesy dialog voiced throughout. Hearing full audio conversations is rare for a Nintendo handheld. And there sure is lot of conversing.
For example, Palutena really is a motormouth. She tells stories about Greek history or the dangerous terrain or the complex characters. Most of the time, her banter really adds to the game. But when she gabs as you’re flying and fighting, you miss some important points she’s trying to make because you’re trying to win a battle – and stay alive.
The music is full of variety, too. Take the soundtrack to Pandora’s Labyrinth of Deceit. It’s a strange, dizzying maze that goes on and on. And it features artwork that must have been inspired by the first “Tron” movie. As you play, you’ll hear a smooth jazz song that you’ll probably be humming when you put the game down.
Kid Icarus: Uprising comes with a plastic stand. The stand supposedly allows for easier play. But including that stand points to the one big issue: They added the stand to make controlling the game easier. But you still may well have problems whether you try the stand or just hold the 3DS as you play.
That’s because the controls aren’t precise enough.
The control stick on the upper left is used for moving Pit around. It’s also used to make him leap to the side when, say, a ball of fire has been aimed at him by an enemy. That control doesn’t always work well.
And you’re supposed to use the stylus on the touch screen to aim your weapons. That’s a hard and sometimes painful experience. I ended up using my index finger instead.
Nintendo has tried to give you variety in the way you use the controls. You can change them around. But they never seem exactly right, and if you have big hands, you’ll get cramps. I dealt with this (and I don’t have huge hands) by playing just one level at a time. Each takes about 20 or 30 minutes. Then I took a rest.
REPLAY – AND HISTORIC – VALUE
The replay value in Uprising is very high. You have an online multiplayer system that includes team deathmatch and free-for-all modes. And you’ll go back to the main game to pick up new treasure or weapons. Finally, you can pit the characters featured on the augmented reality cards against each other.
Kid Icarus: Uprising will go down in history as one of the most inventive games Nintendo has ever made for the 3DS. Despite the challenges with the controls, you’ll thrill to hours and hours of engrossing fun that includes a rich story as well.