Welcome to The Sprout! Please sign up or login

Review: Kid Icarus: Uprising

Posted by Jeff the Fridge from Cardiff - Published on 18/09/2012 at 17:18
0 comments » - Tagged as School Holiday Activities, Sport & Leisure, Technology

  • Photo 2
  • Photo 1

I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t heard of Kid Icarus. It was one of those zany Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES) games that nobody really played and fell into obscurity and cult followings.

But, sure enough, twenty-five-or-so years later, Pit, the angelic her of Kid Icarus, returns with a 3DS title helmed by Masahiro Sakurai himself. If you haven’t heard of Sakurai, first, have you never played a Nintendo game? And secondly, if you’ve never played a Nintendo game, what are you doing with your life? Sakurai is the developer of some of the greatest games of all time, most notably creating the Kirby series and the majestic Super Smash Bros. Brawl. So, after many months of anticipation, Sakurai and Project Sora finally managed to release Kid Icarus: Uprising.

The main competition for the 3DS is the PS Vita; the only real difference I can see between the two (apart from the games), and I’m sure the fanboys will rage over this, is that the 3DS is 3D and the Vita is in 720P. So when you hear me say that Uprising looks better than most Vita games, and even some on the Xbox 360 and PS3, you know it means business. The graphics are midway between cartoony and realistic, like how Mario had denim dungarees in Brawl yet Kirby still looked like a video game character, but not in the Darkness 2 or Borderlands way. With the 3D effect on, it looks even better. Enemy lasers burst through the screen as space pirate ships crash through space waves, spraying space water all over Pit. Though not quite up to the graphical standards of RE: Revelations, the game is still in the top three best looking games on the system, just above Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.


Now, my main complaint before the game came out was that the controls looked a bit... weird. I mean, circle pad for movement and stylus for moving? And no circle pad pro options? What was Project Sora thinking? The only other game I’d seen like this was Metroid Prime Hunters for the 2DS, and even that had problems. Well, before the internet trolls and haters manage to migrate from YouTube, I can assure that the controls are fan-(J)effing-tastic. There’s a serious learning curve, but so is the entry point to most RTSs and MMORPGs. It’s only recently that this learning curve would have been apparent since nearly every game uses the exact same control scheme. Mind you, every game is a first-person shooter, and those controls are all just LT/L1 to aim down sights, RT/R1 to fire, no thanks to somebody, cough, cough, Treyarch, cough, cough, Infinity Ward.


Anyway, I couldn’t think of a better way for the controls to be. Each mission, or level, is split up into three parts, flying, ground and boss, each joined up by fully voiced cut scenes. The flying sections feel like a fantasy Starfox game, using the circle pad to move around the on rails screen whilst you use the stylus to aim the reticule of your weapon. This works perfectly, and is one of the few times on-rails sections are done right.

The ground sections, on the other hand, are a different story. Since you have free control over the camera, you have to swipe the stylus to move the camera, “Like spinning a globe!” as Pit puts it. This is where the real difficulty comes in. If you try to play this game on the bus or train, people probably won’t sit next to you, since you’ll be incessantly tapping the touch screen to shoot baddies and flicking the circle pad from left to right to dodge shots. After about an hour of playing, you’ll get used to the controls, but that first hour is like being put into competitive match of League Of Legends without knowing your Teemo from your Varen.

The boss sections are usually just the on-foot sections but fighting against one large enemy, with a few exceptions in which you are flying or riding a chariot. Most bosses are Ratchet & Clank-style bosses, by which I mean you just have to shoot them until they’re dead (Yes, I know Ratchet & Clank wasn’t the first to do this, but it was the first one I ever played to do it). This means there is no Zelda-like strategy to beating them, apart from two bosses. I won’t spoil them for you, but one you can only hurt by shooting it in the back, which is annoying, and another that requires you to have homing bullets to kill. Now, this wouldn’t have been a problem is I had a homing weapon, but I was using a weapon that didn’t home, so I had to die and change weapon, losing hearts (the games currency) in the process.


There has been a lot of talk saying that video games aren’t hard any more on the internet. First, play Super Meat Boy. Second, shut up about Dark Souls. I love that game, but too many people are calling it the perfect game, when it really isn’t (Banjo-Kazooie is). The original Kid Icarus was hard as nails, causing hours of frustration when I was younger. Sakurai fixes the problem of keeping the game easy enough for casual gamers (curse you for stopping the Wii from what it could have been and killing Rare) whilst keeping it hard enough for hardcore retro gamers like myself (don’t mock me for saying that).

Let me introduce the Fiend’s Cauldron. There are 100 difficulty levels. Seriously, I’m not joking. You can change the intensity from near god like 0.0 to needing near god-like skills to complete a level at 9.0 without dying and everything in-between. The concept is simple. You don’t have to pay any hearts to do intensity 2.0, which is the easy mode, and each higher point of intensity you pay, the harder the game gets. This might seems a bit weird at first, but then you realise that enemies at higher intensities drop more hearts and weapons become more powerful. This feels a bit like gambling on your own skill, meaning that you’ll usually get your hearts back and more, but the game will be a lot more difficult, therefore more rewarding.


The main focus of Kid Icarus Uprising is weapons. Borderlands 2 claims to have 870 gazillion guns (is that even a number?) and saying it has more guns than any other game. Kid Icarus: Uprising probably has the same amount. BOOM, YOU’RE ADVERTISING SCHEME WAS AWFUL GEARBOX BECAUSE IT WAS WRONG!!!! Sorry, spent too much time on YouTube recently. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, weapons. There are nine different types of weapons:

  1. Blades - which are your best over-all weapons
  2. Claws - good at combat, short range, high rate of fire
  3. Clubs - no ranged attacks unless charged, best melee attacks
  4. Orbitars - I can think of nothing good about orbitars, they’re awful
  5. Staves - essentially sniper rifles with bad melee damage
  6. Palms - Iron Man-style arm cannons with good homing, my favourite weapon type
  7. Arms - once again, these were all awful
  8. Cannons - explosive damage, the best kind
  9. and Bow - best homing, poor damage

Now, each of these weapon types has twelve different named weapons, which I won’t go into, but I will say that a Scorpio Staff will be very different from a Rose Staff. Each weapon you find will have a star rating on how much ranged and melee damage, with unknown caps, and each weapon has special modifiers, from Overall Defence +1 and Speed -2 to Freezing+4 and Sde Dsh Chge +2 (No, I don’t know what it means). You can also fuse two weapons together to make a new weapon entirely with some stats taken over from one to the other. This is greatly satisfying when I finally got a 6.5 star burning palm with Overall Defence +3 and Walk Speed +2. Each weapon has a value, depending on how strong it is to balance multiplayer, which I’ll get onto later. Sometimes, things don’t go your way though. I have an Aurum Blade, which is one of the best basic weapons in the game, with Health +4 and Freezing +3. Unfortunately, it only has three stars ranged and two melee, making it not as useful as it might sound.

The Story

The story is also fantastic, especially with so many “story based” games of today. The story never gets in the way of the game, instead giving a backdrop of why you are fighting. The twists were unexpected and I really grew to love the characters, so much so that I shed a tear in one level late on in the game, which I won’t spoil. The cut scenes are fully voiced by American actors, strange for a Nintendo game (don't you dare mention other M!) but it works in a way that no Nintendo game story has ever done since Pokmon Mystery Dungeon, which had me crying like a baby at its climax. The music is also some of the best Nintendo has ever made, with the orchestra being used to full effect. The music is so good that I have changed my phone ringtone from Saria’s Song to Dark Pit Theme. That was a thing I never thought would happen.


Now onto the multiplayer. I have never really been a fan of multiplayer outside of MOBAs and MMORPGs, but some Ninty games have been an exception, especially MK7 and SSB Brawl, though these are both full of flaws. Kid Icarus’ multiplayer is the stuff of legends, better than wasting money on Xbox Live to play your CoDs, FIFAs or Battlefield. I would even go as far to say that this is even better than Goldeneye multiplayer and that’s something I never thought I’d say. It’s not as good as TF2, though. Nothing is as good as TF2. I played a little of the All on All, though I always hated that, probably because I spend so much time in MMORPGs playing Realm v Realm.

Now, the Team Death match, called Light Vs. Dark is fantastic. Two teams of three battle it out until the team health bar at the bottom of the screen is empty. The health bar can only be lowered by defeating people from the other team. If someone with a high value weapon is killed, the health bar takes more damage, meaning a stronger weapon isn’t always best (thank you cheap aurum blade for winning me many matches). Once the health bar is whittled down, the last person to die is respawned as either Pit or Dark Pit. The other team now has to kill the other angel whilst protecting their own. It’s tense, fun stuff, perfect for tournaments with friends. My only gripe is that angels are spawned with random weapons, meaning you might spawn with a Magnus Club when you die instead of the Laser Staff you’d been using all game. I understand the reasoning behind it, I just don’t like it.

Overall: 95%

Kid Icarus: Uprising is easily the greatest game on the 3DS, which could only be beaten if Banjo-Kazooie or Super Metroid gets a 3D makeover, but I don’t see that happening for a while. I would even say it’s worth buying a 3DS just for Uprising, but since the console also has Snake Eater 3D, Ocarina Of Time 3D, RE: Revelations, Theatrhythm, Kingdom Hearts 3D, MK7 and Super Mario 3D Land, I don’t see why you haven’t brought one already, especially with Epic Mickey 2, Castlevania: Mirror Of Truth and Luigi’s Mansion on the way. Unless you brought a PS Vita with Little Big Planet at Sainsbury’s for £189. Then I envy you for having enough money for one. More than equals open bracket (>=().

Anyway, what are you doing reading this review? Go out and buy Kid Icarus: Uprising. Actually, go read some other good articles on TheSprout and CLIC until you’re computer breaks. Then play Kid Icarus: Uprising until your computer is fixed.

Worried about missing one of Jeff the Fridge's game reviews? Keep an eye on TheSprout Series section of theSprout's new Facebook Fan Page.

News  Categories  Technology

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post comments on this website.

Login or Register.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. It will help us find out how you use the website so we can keep improving it for you. Everyone who completes the survey will get the chance to win £50.