Kid Icarus Uprising hands-on preview Kid Icarus' transformation from forgotten man to new Nintendo hero is really starting to take shape, and with the development of Uprising in the hands of Project Sora head and Smash Bros. legend Masahiro Sakurai, it's certainly got pedigree.
Visually, it's a delight. Each stage is split into (roughly) five minute chunks, the first of which unfolds as a Sin and Punishment-style on-rails shooter. The stylus handles aiming and the Circle Pad moves Pit around to dodge incoming fire.
Textures are detailed, the amount of enemies on screen is impressive and the backgrounds look fantastic. Nintendo has also added in constant dialogue between green haired siren Palutena and our hero Pit to keep up the sense that there's always plenty going on.
The continual chit-chat is imbued with cheeky humour and some bizarre references; there was something about chicken being economical in the demo we played, and while it certainly won't be winning any Pulitzers, the banter is enjoyably bonkers.
There are some nice in-jokes too - when Palutena's explaining who enemies are and what exactly is going on, pixel art from the NES original will flash up on the touchscreen (with a pithy, enjoyably condescending remark) and Pit himself is in the habit of making knowing references to gaming terminology - 'is this a mini-boss?', he asks at one point.
Uprising is a proper videogame and it wears its colours with pride.
The aerial sections will be popular with classic shooter fans and the people who bought and loved Sin and Punishment 2 on the Wii, but question marks remain over the on-ground sequences. Controlling the camera with the stylus will require practice (You have to spin it around 'like a globe' says Palutena) and the bosses I encountered were tricky to fight without sufficient time and practice with the control system.
Also, it's not lefty-friendly. As a proud left handed man (The internet says there are more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people therefore lefties are better), I found it really hard to use the stylus with my right hand and have Pit run around with the Circle Pad. Let's hope Mr Sakurai works in some alternative controls schemes to soothe those concerns before release.
Uprising looks spectacular, and it's about time that Nintendo got behind a new(ish) hero. With Sakurai at the helm we're confident that when Kid Icarus returns later this year, it'll be worth the wait.
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