Kid Icarus: Uprising Review

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Nintendo’s Kid Icarus hearkens back to an ancient Greek tale of ambition’s deathly consequences. Daedalus, a master craftsman, fashions a pair of wings for his son Icarus, but when the boy flies too close to the sun the wax wings melt and Icarus falls to his death in the sea. Like most Greek mythology, the story of Icarus is an analogy, this one a harsh comparison to the near-sightedness of the human race. Nintendo’s newest 3D offering could not encompass the fable better; Kid Icarus: Uprising is a unique game that is almost too innovative. Much like Icarus’ last moments, Uprising is a wild ride that falls apart when the limits of the technology are tested.

Uprising’s main character, Pit, was first seen in Nintendo’s 8-bit frustrater, Kid Icarus. Hailed for being joyously difficult, Kid Icarus was the last we would see of Pit (aside from a quick stint on the Gameboy) until his triumphant return in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Fanboys rejoiced at the return of their faux-winged hero and it seemed that the tale of Pit was ready to be rewritten. With the release of Uprising, Pit is back in our hands as a bright-eyed boy full of quippy, almost-too-cute remarks.

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Much like Daedalus, Nintendo is a master of its craft. Having revolutionized the gaming industry over and over for the past 25+ years, Nintendo had its sights set for the sky with Uprising. It feels like a console game that you hold in your hand, something we will all become familiar with later this year with the Wii U. Pit’s newest outing feels like a game too big for its britches, which adds to its charm. Much like replaying an old NES game, players have that feeling of, “I know what they were trying to do there.” Nintendo is pushing the boundaries of its handheld after only one year on shelves.

Enormous set pieces, slick visuals, and inventive gameplay mark Uprising as a must-play for 3DS owners. Pit’s dialogue with his goddess friend Palutena is on the nose in all the right ways, babying players through the tutorials while making fun of the need for a tutorial at all. The soundtrack is stellar to the say the least; I tapped my feet along with the epic music as I soared. The characters sell  their unique personalities well. As an homage to anyone who’s played the original, when a new character is introduced, the bottom screen will show the 8-bit version of the character. Someone like me who is sharing their first adventure with Pit got a real kick out of seeing these beautifully rendered characters in their primitive form.


Uprising is addictive and is as much fun as I’ve had on a handheld in a long time. A Star Fox reminiscent journey through the skies with Palutena as your guide starts off each mission. These only last five minutes and are a pretty basic play concept, quickly made up for by the excellent visuals. These scenes give the gamer a good eye for what this title can do. We’ve seen this type of play before, but the controls really shine in these flying sections. I am truly impressed with the targeting system and am loving my time soaring through the skies with Pit. But…

As Icarus climbs higher and higher into the sky and the world shrinks smaller beneath him, he begins to feel the sweat moisten his brow. His throat becomes coarse and dry. Suddenly his wings begin to melt and our Greek hero plunges toward the Earth, to his ever-present doom. As the Greek myth foretold, it’s here that the hurt begins to rain down on our cheery protagonist. While the innovative controls fare pretty well in the sky, the entire system falls apart once Pit hits the ground. Tapping the L button to fire, using the circle pad to gallop, and flicking the stylus to control aim are exhausting processes. Just like Icarus’ wax wings that melt in the sun, this control scheme is an innovative idea that just plain didn’t work out – and it’s that one tiny flaw that almost kills the game.

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Luckily, Pit is a resourceful, fun guy, making you beg him to stay as your hands stumble, hour after hour. The weapon collection and augmentation system is enjoyable if not a little under-explained. I produced some sick combos but fear that there’s a better weapon out there that I’m just not aware of. I also feel a little underwhelmed by the difficulty settings, where a player bets hearts against the difficulty of the game. I never reached far above a 4 of 10 on the difficulty scale, partially because I didn’t want to risk the hearts but mostly because I couldn’t dodge an attack to save my life.

Kid Icarus: Uprising lives up to the mythological tale it gets its title from in almost every form. A great idea that was well executed took this game into the heavens, but when an unexpected twist threw a wrench in the works, everything came tumbling back down. Uprising is a great 3DS title and really shows the power behind the handheld device. Great graphics, addictive play, an amazing soundtrack, and unique, lovable characters make this game’s one crutch seem intentional. Daedalus loved his son more than anything and knew he was destined for greatness, but maybe those wax wings were a test of the boy’s character. In the Greek story Icarus doesn’t make it out alive, but Nintendo’s faith in Pit has shown that even when plummeting to Earth, its son would find a way to land safely on solid ground.


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Author: Mike Deas View all posts by
Mike is a gamer, writer and pretzel muncher. He plays on Easy, rarely completes side quests, and hates himself for relying on walkthroughs.

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