Top critical review
Kid Icarus is an ergonomic nightmare.
on August 20, 2015
Kid Icarus: Uprising is the revival of an old, dead IP that harkens back to the 8-bit era where the NES had just hit the scene and rescued the gaming industry from it's demise thanks to Atari. Where the first game was a side scrolling platform, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a surprisingly hardcore shoot'em up.
The Gods are at war. Initially, the Goddess of Light, Palutena, battles the Goddess of Darkness, Medusa. However a large cast of other characters become involved, all of whom are Gods, and want Pit and Palutena, and each other dead for various reasons.
While the characters witty commentary is at times hilarious, the story falls flat on it's face as there appears to be no clear direction where it is going. Spanning 25 missions, the entire story seems to get derailed quite often. Plenty of things are not explained what-so-ever. It seems as if the writers totally forgot major plot points and just move past them. (Enemies become allies for no reason, and with no explanation. Pit is turned into a ring and it is never explained why, or how this even happened.) The lack of consistent story telling is a shame, because the writing is clearly clever on every other level with the exception of conveying a cohesive story.
---- AUDIO and VISUAL ----
The audio in Kid Icarus is a real treat. An almost orchestral score accompanies you as you play through the game, and the talented voice actors lend life and authenticity to the bickering Gods and Pit as they interact with one another. Listening to the dialogue is certainly not a chore as characters speak during the heat of battle.
On a visual level, Kid Icarus is without a doubt one of the best looking games on the 3DS despite it's age. The graphics are crisp and impressive and manage to handle quite a bit on screen at once. If I had one complaint though, it would certainly be the enemy design: You fight a lot of circles with eyes and boxes. Many of the enemies look as though no effort or thought was put into them what so ever; so the games gorgeous engine is wasted on rendering mostly boxes that fire circles at you, or circles that fire more circles at you.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is a surprisingly hardcore shoot 'em up, allowing players to customize weapons by combining them, select an array of powers to aid them in ground combat. The difficulty of a level can be amped up via hearts through the Fiends Cauldron, allowing players to recieve greater rewards for greater risks. Each death will lower the difficulty - and your score - however, reducing the rewards you earn greatly.
Unfortunately, where the core of the gameplay is concerned, Kid Icarus becomes repetitive within the first few levels. This is a seven hour adventure wherein every level begins with an airborne shooting section: you will manouver Pit in circles, aim with the styles, fire with the left trigger until it is time to land. There isn't much else to how these sections function. The ground sections are more of the same: passing through hallway after hallway, staircase after staircase doing much of the same thing.
The biggest problem for the gameplay aside from already being incredibly difficult on the higher settings is that Pit controls awkwardly. The camera and the reticle for aiming are both controlled via the touch screen, making actually playing an ergonomic nightmare. Prepare to have your hands become uncomfortable if you intend to play at any length. This also means that the camera is difficult to control, lending to a slew of other control problems.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is fun for the first forty minutes. However the same is a seven-hour long adventure with an incohesive story. Hardcore elements might be unattractive to more casual gamers, and the awkward control scheme will keep most people from playing it at any length due to the pains in the hands they can cause. This is easily one of the worst control schemes for any game I have ever played. I cannot recommend buying this game at full price. However for a cheap price, the game is entertaining enough and provides enough replay-ability in terms of content that it can be worth it for bargain bin prices.