Kid Icarus: Uprising
You play as Pit, the general of the angelic army under the leadership of Palutena, the goddess of light. Medusa, Palutena's old rival, has been revived and is unleashing her hordes of monsters upon humanity. Pit must trust his wings to Palutena as he flies off to drive the beasts of the underworld back. A cast of colorful characters from citizens of the human world and gods of old banter back and forth while their world is plunged into a battle between good and evil.
Rail-shooter style flight missions, third-person hack and slash/shooter ground combat, PVP.
Average playtime is anywhere between 10 and 20 hours. Dozens more hours can be added to obtain a collection of weapons, level them up fully, and complete the hardest difficulties in each level.
March 22, 2012
Developer: Project Sora
Genre: Third-Person Shooter, Rail Shooter
Rating: E 10+
Price: Try Your Luck
The original Kid Icarus was released in 1986 and saw only moderate success as a title. The game revolved around Pit, a young angel warrior defending the heavenly realm against horrific monsters from the underworld. The platformer was extremely difficult and frustrating beyond words so it was understandable that the game had a small following. I myself was unable to get very far and, like most fans at the time, abandoned Kid Icarus altogether in favor of the vastly more popular Legend of Zelda. Kid Icarus seemed to fade into ancient memory. It wasn’t until Pit was re-introduced in Super Smash Bros Brawl that any interest began to gather for the long forgotten game. Speculation began to grow as to why Nintendo would include an old character with a fresh look if they didn’t have something else going on in the background. Many fans, myself included, believed that Pit’s addition into Smash Bros was Nintendo’s way of hinting onto a revamped Kid Icarus.
Kid Icarus: Uprising takes a fresh, new approach to the franchise Pit is no longer a two-dimensional silent protagonist, as he is now a chatterbox full of personality and attitude. The platforming mechanics have been totally scrapped for a a third-person shooter mixed with an action/adventure. From the voice acting, the humor, the story, and the mechanics—everything about Kid Icarus: Uprising is a pleasant surprise that vastly improves on the source material and brings forth a stand-out title.
It’s been two and a half decades since the defeat of the goddess of darkness, Medusa. The peace won in the past is disrupted when servants of the underworld emerge and began plaguing humanity once more. Palutena, the goddess of light, calls upon the general of her angelic army, a young angel by the name of Pit, to take to the skies once more to drive the darkness back to the underworld. While Pit has grown considerably stronger, he is still a young angel unable to fly on his own. Palutena gifts him with the power of flight and directs his wings while he fights through the hordes of Medusa’s army. When his wings reach their limit, Pit is sent to the ground to hold back the forces of darkness and destroy the monsters controlling the hordes. The plot thickens when it’s discovered that Medusa has been revived and set loose upon the world once more.
As the story progresses, Pit is forced to clash with ancient gods in their home domains in order to defeat the armies of the underworld and to reveal who is behind the new onslaught of evil. Some gods stand in his way while others offer their assistance. At first the story seems very straightforward, reflecting the overall story of the original Kid Icarus while making constant light of itself through character interaction. The plot takes several unexpected twists and introduces several new characters to assist Pit along the way while new foes rise up to challenge him. In the end it is up to Pit and the armies of heaven to defend mankind once more.
The game’s lore revolves directly around pagan gods seen frequently in Greek and Roman mythology. These gods and goddesses, while powerful, are far from divine beings. They are shown to be petty, selfish, and indifferent to the struggles of mankind. Each god or goddess rules over his or her own domain and holds little interest for anything outside of that.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is mild in violence. Enemies vanish in a puff of smoke when killed and when blows are dealt. there is weight implied, but no gore or blood. There is a single scene where a character is severely injured and bones are exposed, but it’s a one time incident and mild enough to retain the E rating.
The humor and language is exceedingly mild. There are no swear words and the humor is more geared towards breaking the fourth wall than anything.
There is absolutely no implication or mention of alcohol in Kid Icarus: Uprising.
Kid Icarus: Uprising, despite it’s clearly non-Christian belief system, is loaded with morality. The overtone of defending mankind against the forces of darkness is perhaps the most obvious. Pit, the general of the angelic army, has a deep, heartfelt compassion for humanity. As a character, Pit doesn’t seem to have a malicious bone in his body. He serves directly under Paluntena and the relationship between the two is closer to that of a mother and a child rather than a mistress and her faithful servant. He honors her, having nothing but compliments for his mistress regardless of her own faults. Pit works himself to the bone for her, pushing himself harder with every mission he’s sent on to please her. Pit shows a servant’s heart in all his works and in his consistently positive attitude. His missions are exhausting and physically demanding ,but he never once allows this to discourage him.
Pit also shows a good deal of compassion, even for his enemies. He’s naive at times, certainly, but he is willing to work with those who are not kind to him or outright tried to cause harm to them. At one point in the game, he risks everything to assist someone who had spent a good deal of the game opposing him.
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. – Luke 6:27
Enemies become friends, led by Pit’s example, and assist in pushing back the evil that plagues humanity. The game shows that no one is beyond redemption and that even small acts of compassion can reach our enemies.
Morality aside, the game’s humor is clean and lighthearted. It’s a rare thing these days to find a game whose humor doesn’t descend into the gutters or take a dunk in the toilet. It’s a game that anyone can play around anyone without having to worry about dirty language, adult themes, or disturbing imagery.
Flight levels keep you focused on dodging and fighting- the rest is up to Paluntena.
While I was disappointed in first that I had no control over Pit’s flight path, it made sense for the context of the game. Pit is still a young angel who fully depends on Paluntena to give him the gift of flight. His wings are only strong enough to endure five minutes of flight and he has no personal control over where he goes. During flight, Pit is guided through an airfield of enemies and obstacles. The player has control over the direction of his attacks using the touch pad while firing/slashing Pit’s weapons using different combinations of buttons. At first, I thought that this style of control would be difficult and complicated but I easily fell into it and found that I had almost flawless control over Pit in combat. The challenge was from gameplay , not in complicated controls. In battle, the player is entirely focused on getting through the level with all their health intact, not in where to go. The mechanic works very well and keeps the player engaged in combat.
When Pit’s wings finally tire, Paluntena guides him to the ground to continue his mission. Ground combat gives you control of where Pit goes using the directional pad. Pit can dodge left or right, run, and engage in combat. The mechanics on the ground are similar to those in the air as far as direct combat goes but the player is forced to move Pit about to avoid attacks and to proceed through the level. There is limited exploration, but the game is more combat and story focused.
The gameplay can be experienced over and over without growing tiresome. With hundreds of weapons to craft and wield, a difficulty level that the player can adjust, and an engaging PVP, the replay value is very high. Players can challenge themselves to use unfamiliar weapons, crank up the difficulty, or grind their favorite weapons over and over to increase their odds in PVP. While the lack of exploration and free-range flight is a little disappointing, the focus of the game was clearly combat and it doesn’t disappoint. Flight stages are a rush of excitement and on-ground combat is engaging.
Kid Icarus: Uprising was one of the earlier games released to the Nintendo 3DS but it hit the ground running. The graphics are stunning and the 3D works very well with the level presentation to bring the player right into the action. The character models are beautiful and feel like they have genuine weight behind their movements. The levels are a little chaotic, but they’re meant to be. Visually, Kid Icarus is stunning. The colors are vibrant and alive, the world feels open regardless of the limited exploration, and the movements feel very much alive. When Pit flies, there’s a genuine feeling of flight. His hair sweeps about in the wind, his feathers flutter, his clothing is tossed about, and you can see him fighting the speed in which he’s forced to move. The weapons have a variety of added effects that add to the visuals as well and alter how Pit moves. He is proficient with a variety of weapons, never once looking clumsy or unfamiliar with his arsenal.
The cutscenes are animated in the same style of the game with a bit more polish added so there’s a near seamless transition between gameplay and scene. The lip syncing doesn’t feel awkward or forced. The voices chosen fit perfectly and emote very well through the characters. Nothing feels of place.
The soundtrack is diverse and interesting, each composition fitting the emotions and overall feelings of the scene or level. The early levels have a playful feeling to their score while more dramatic levels have a heavier, more desperate feel to them.
The quality that defines Kid Icarus as a game is perhaps its style of comedy. There is no regard for the fourth wall at all. The characters know that they are in a game and make constant references to that fact as well as other well-known Nintendo franchises. The characters involved within the level, be them friend or foe, banter back and forth through the entirety of the level. The exchanges can be touching, cheesy, and heartfelt but most of the time the dialogue is light-hearted, sarcastic, or comedic in nature. It’s enjoyable to listen to and I often replayed through certain levels just to catch the conversations again. Along with the dialogue, character art appears that emotes along with the discussion perfectly, adding yet another layer of entertainment for the player.
Kid Icarus is an IP that few expected to ever see the light of day again. Its original incarnation was frustrating enough to rival even Castlevania but it had very little to make it stand apart from other platformers at the time. Kid Icarus: Uprising is a refreshing new take to the series and to the Nintendo family as a whole. It takes a lot of bold risks with the gameplay mechanics, presentation, and the new twist to the characters. It sought to revive the series and bring something new and refreshing and it succeeded. Pit has finally emerged from the dusty tomes of Nintendo history and has stepped out as an endearing character that stands apart from the others. Kid Icarus: Uprising is exciting, humorous, and fun. It is a worthy addition to anyone’s Nintendo collection.
+ Functional Controls
+ Adjustable difficulty
+ The humor is great
+ The graphics are amazing both in 3D or 2D
+ Flight and Ground combat are distinguished
+ The characters are entertaining and diverse
+ There is a literal arsenal of weapons that you can choose from, enhancing replay value with the upgrade system
+ The voice acting is great.
- If you aren't a fan of fourth wall jokes and constant puns you may not enjoy the humor of the game
- Players may find the constant verbal exchange between characters annoying or distracting, especially on repeat missions
- We have not heard a peep about a sequel