Kid Icarus: Uprising review

People have waited more than two decades for Pit, was that wait worth it?

There's so much to unlock and explore in Uprising that it can sometimes be overwhelming. Those hearts help you tweak and customize the nine different weapon types with a stunningly diverse array of specific armaments to choose from, plus special properties like defensive buffs and improved item drops. There's a noticeable difference in the power level of your starting weapons and ones you find later, so the ability to unlock and collect all of them further enriches the campaign's replay value and your ability to overcome the higher Intensity settings.

Uprising also features online and local multiplayer, which is a fun side attraction, but it isn’t the sole reason you should be considering Uprising. Since it handles like the on-foot sections of the campaign, gamers who can’t reconcile that playstyle won’t enjoy it that much when they’re tossed in against other people. However, once we acclimated to the interface, the controls felt even-handed against other players, and it was uniquely balanced based on item unlocks and powers. It may not be the main draw, but it’s reminiscent of the simplicity of classic Quake or GoldenEye matches.

Uprising's story is particularly well-executed and very charming. In a move that’ll surprise Nintendo fans, the game is fully voiced, with Pit and company continually entertaining us with witty banter, thanks to a great script. It never takes itself too seriously, lending the game a lively spirit, though the story occasionally veers into some dark moments. Also, the plot has treats the canon with reverence, continually referencing the first game with classic sprites, sound effects and story points seemingly pulled straight from the NES instruction booklet. And if that’s not enough, the game features one of the best soundtracks in some time. All told, Kid Icarus: Uprising has a stunning amount of polish and refinement, even by Nintendo's high standards.

The twenty-plus year wait was worth it. Kid Icarus: Uprising is a very impressive game. Although there’s an initial adjustment period for its controls, each stage is masterfully designed, rewarding exploration and experimentation, plus it’s surprisingly deep. Like Metroid Prime, Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time before it, Kid Icarus: Uprising marks another Nintendo franchise that successfully transitions to three dimensions.

More Info

DescriptionThe cult NES series returns after 20 years in a strange shooter/action hybrid. The controls aren't perfect, but it's one of the best (and most replayable) games on the 3DS.
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Release date23 March 2012 (US), (UK)