The lights are on
Kid Icarus: Uprising has been a hit game ever since it was released this past spring. Headed up by Masahiro Sakurai and his team from Sora Ltd., the people behind the latest smash game Super Smash Bros. Brawl,Kid Icarus Uprising has had many high hopes from fans all over. Announced around the time the 3DS was first announced , many have been waiting in anticipation for the game, and many of those people have been psyched to see Pit make a return after so many years. Kid Icarus: Uprising actually takes the fact that there hasn't been a Kid Icarus game in quite some time, and uses the twenty-five year gap (yes, there was a Kid Icarus game for Game Boy, but let's ignore that fact for now) to its advantage, as the storyline takes place twenty-five years after the original Kid Icarus for NES.
Now, I'm not going to go through the whole story with you, because it is very rich and full of good stuff, twists, turns, and all of that. Basically, Medusa, the queen of the underworld and major antagonist from the NES Kid Icarus, has returned once again to try to take over the overworld and cause destruction to all mankind. It's up to Palutena, goddess of light, and her strongest warrior, Pit, to put a stop to Medusa's evil ways. It's not a walk in the park though, as the underworld army is fierce, ferocious, and strong in number. Luckily, Pit is pretty talented, and can use a bunch of different weapons and powers to help get the job done. More about those later, let's talk about the actual gameplay. Each level in Kid Icarus: Uprising consists of two parts: a flying portion and a ground portion. The flying portion of each level, which is my favorite part, can be compared to an on rails shooter, sort of like Star Fox. You can move Pit around the screen with the circle pad, aim your reticle with the stylus, and shoot with the 'L' button. If you're left-handed, then I suggest getting the circle pad pro. If not, you'll have to use the 'A', 'B', 'X', 'Y' buttons to move and use the 'R' button to shoot. The control scheme is pretty wonky, but once you get used to it, it feels pretty natural. It did hurt to hold the 3DS like that for the first few days of playing the game, and luckily the game comes with a stand that you can set your 3DS on if you don't feel like holding it, which I must say works pretty well. Anyways, the flying part of the game is limited though, because Pit's power of flight, granted by Palutena, only lasts for five minutes. It stinks that Pit is an angel that can't even fly on his own! After you complete the flying portion of the stage, you are then put onto the ground. The controls for the ground battles are pretty much the same, only you get to traverse the world at your own pace. The ground portion of the level also allows you to use your powers that you've got on hand. Powers basically grant Pit different abilities for a short period of time when activated. Some of my favorites are tirelessness, health recovery, crisis recovery, and super armor. Use your powers wisely though, because you do have a limited amount, and to choose which powers to take into battle, you must fit them toegether in a tetris like puzzle, so use your head! Back to the ground stages, after traversing through most of the level, fighting baddies, collecting treasures, and exploring, you'll come to the boss of the level. Each level has its own various boss, and I must say, the boss fights are pretty intense and fun. There is also something called the Fiend's Cauldron, which allows you to adjust the intensity of the levels, before playing them. You have to bet hearts (money) to raise or lower the intensity from the default level 2.0. The intensity can go from 0.1 to 9.0. Only the best and the bravest will be able to take on the most challenging difficulties, but the reward is often worth it. Not only do you get more hearts in return, but the treasures you find are also better. There are also something called intensity gates that can be found throughout the ground portion of levels. These gates only allow access if you are playing on the marked intensity or higher, and there are often some nice goodies inside those as well. If you die during a level, your intensity will automatically be lowered for you and the Fiend's Cauldron will tip over and you'll lose some of those hearts that you put in, so bet wisely. When you're not out on the battle field, saving the world, you can rest up in what I like to call the home base. Here you can go through your weapons and powers, buy new weapons, fuse weapons, and other little extras that I could go on and on about. Since I've mentioned weapons so much now, I suppose I should fill you in on those as well. Pit can use a wide variety of weapons, and there are a ton in this game. There are nine different types of weapons for you to use, each having their own advantages and disadvantages: blades, bows, arms, claws, cannons, orbitars, clubs, palms, and staves. Within each category of weapons is even more variety of unique weapons, so everyone will have some sort of weapon(s) that they like to use. Weapons can also be fused to make greater (or sometimes weaker) weapons. The best way to go is to just experiment with weapons until you find what's right for you. Aside from the single player gameplay and all of those extras, which you'll find a lot of similarity to the Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there are also ways in which you can interact with other players. The Together mode, or simply the multiplayer mode, allows you to duke it out with your friends wirelessly or over the Nintendo Network. You can also face random opponents online as well. There are two styles of multiplayer, Light vs. Dark, which is similar to a team style battle, and then Free For All, which is just an every man for himself type of battle. Even in Together mode, you can win weapons and powers that you can put to your disposal. Aside from Together mode, there is also StreetPass functionality. With StreetPass, you can exchange what are called Weapon Gems with other players. Weapon gems can be converted into weapons or fused with other weapon gems to make new weapons. With SpotPass, you can also download new weapon gems from Nintendo! With so much content jam-packed into this game, I could go on forever about every little aspect, but I'll leave some things for you to explore yourself. Before wrapping this up, I would like to say that the soundtrack to the game is absolutely magnificent! I also love the voice-acting. (Yes! A Nintendo game with voice-acting!) There are often many humorous exchanges between the characters while you're playing and they even sometimes reference the original Kid Icarus or even other video games! The graphics are also beautiful. Kid Icarus: Uprising uses the 3DS to its full capacity, and you won't want to turn the 3D off on this one! It's simply great! Kid Icarus: Uprising has it in the bag for all players. Great single player? Check. Fun multiplayer? Check. Tons of content? Check and double check!
Excellent review. I'm playing Kid Icarus right now and was pleasantly surprised. Good writing.