I had yet to play a game on the 3DS that just blows my mind out my ears. I was starting to think that perhaps my brain would never be free from this cage of a head I have, until I played Kid Icarus: Uprising; suddenly my brain was blasted from my head. I had a chance to sit down with this game at a recent event showcasing Nintendo’s lineup for its loyal audience. Nintendo as of late has been focusing more on its core players with some very intense games. Even third party games such as Resident Evil: Revelations, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Tekken 3D: Prime Edition cater to those of us who froth at the mouth for awesome material. However, I respectfully submit that Kid Icarus: Uprising (if you’ll excuse the pun) rises above the rest.
The biggest seller for me in Uprising is the amazing eye candy; the graphics are stupendous. Air combat sections look like you’re flying through a Bob Ross painting, complete with happy little clouds and everything. If you were to look at still images of Uprising you could easily mistake them for early PS3 game screenshots; but the real shocker is seeing the graphics in motion – everything is a silky smooth sixty frames-per-second, even during hectic combat. It is awesome to behold but so much more of a joy to play.
The controls are fairly simple: the bottom touch screen controls the aim reticle and the analogue stick controls Kid Icarus’s movements. I thought this was going to be a very cumbersome system but it actually worked out better than I had initially thought. You eventually forget that you are controlling the reticle with the touch screen and things become very easy. It feels very natural and actually gives you a high degree of precision while aiming, somewhat similar to a keyboard and mouse layout (which I’m sure the hardcore folks will love). Shooting is controlled by using the shoulder buttons; when Kid Icarus is close to an enemy you can unleash a melee attack with the same shoulder button. The game actually feels very similar to the Sin and Punishment series released on the Nintendo 64 (and recently on the Wii). I have been told that the game will support the Circle Pad Pro but I have not tried it with Uprising, so we’ll just have to wait and see how that turns out.
To further please their core audience Nintendo has included an upgrade and purchasing system in the game. By completing levels on harder difficulties you can earn hearts which is the currency of the game. Hearts can be used to upgrade owned items or purchase new ones; it is a system that rewards the player for challenging themselves and allows them to take on new challenges with more powerful weapons. Nintendo really hit the nail on the head with this design choice – it is a perfect balance of risk and reward.
On March 23 of this year, Kid Icarus: Uprising will hit shelves and your head will explode – just like mine. I’m warning you now, ok? Its frantic and solid combat; its glorious graphics; the delightful upgrade system; these will all keep you engrossed in the game for a long time. It is one of the biggest releases from Nintendo this year has garnered a lot of attention – and from what I have played it is well deserved. If you scoff at “lame” games and consider yourself core to the bone, Kid Icarus: Uprising is your game and you are probably already picking it up. Good move, man.