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Kid Icarus Uprising review

A soaring triumph for a classic Nintendo icon

When Kid Icarus Uprising is released on 23 March, it will have been 647 days since the game was first announced. If you'd set off at walking pace the instant Pit appeared on stage at E3, you'd have by now walked around the Earth twice (and missed the rest of the presentation). If you'd turned your hand to the bassoon, you could be a passable bassoonist in your local community orchestra. Those 647 days would be enough time to watch cadaver-interfering classic, Weekend At Bernie's, 19,210 times. It's enough time for two elephants who love one another very much to make one baby elephant. It's a very long time indeed.

So has all this time been well spent? Well, yeah. Kid Icarus Uprising is a remarkably beautiful game. It's absolutely stunning to behold, in fact, a visual masterpiece on 3DS that routinely surprises with impressive, expansive and detailed sprawling landscapes. Forget whatever we last said was the best-looking game on 3DS: Uprising is the best-looking game on 3DS.

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Enjoy The View

Kid Icarus Uprising is split into two distinct sections per chapter, the first an on-rails, sky-based shoot 'em up rollercoaster, the second an on-foot, fast-paced, third-person action adventure. It's the former part that packs the real retina-punch, as each chapter visits increasingly surreal, unique and outlandish environments, carving a predetermined path through them like a hyperactive tour guide and dazzling with depth, scale and detail.

Pinkish, candyfloss cloudscapes stretch out to the horizon before giving way to violent, dark thunderstorms and electrically charged, tornado-filled skies. Blades of grass in rolling, verdant fields catch the light from an evening sun, while scattered, glowing embers pockmark battlefields that heave with thousands of tiny, scurrying, individual soldiers.

That such a broad and rich fantasy world has been teased from the abstract visuals of an 8-bit NES game is astonishing. Uprising is sharp, fast and pretty.

On foot, the world narrows into spectacular, self-contained arenas: the lanes of besieged, ancient towns, the interiors of demonic, evil castles and the depths of dank, subterranean caves.

All of it is open for you to explore, with hidden treasures, secret areas and towering bosses to discover and defeat. Kid Icarus Uprising progresses like this, from the StarFox-esque mid-air battles, to ground action, to epic boss battles. You'll rarely be able to predict what bonkers location will arrive next.

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Of course, developer Project Sora has been working on more than just 3D-spangled spitshine. Kid Icarus Uprising is crammed full of stuff, too. The single player campaign is huge, for a start, and it sits alongside two full-featured local and online multiplayer modes.

The game features countless equippable weapons and powers that work across both of these modes. There's a weapons store from which you can purchase new armaments and you can also fuse weapons together to create new ones. You can trade weapons over StreetPass.

There are 'icons' - animated 3D models of enemies, characters, weapons, items and locations - that you can collect, and view from any angle. There are mini-achievements to unlock. There's a scalable risk-versus-reward difficulty system, the Fiend's Cauldron, which continually adapts to your skill level to provide a dynamic challenge.

If any of this sounds familiar, it should. Developer Project Sora was born after Sakurai's studio finished work on Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and in many ways Kid Icarus Uprising feels genetically similar to that game.

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48 comments so far...
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  1. Skywardwolf23 Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 15:10

    Looks aswesome. Defintely gonna get it :mrgreen:

  2. aceowen Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 15:16

    A third person shooter, with on rails sections and customization unrivaled by any other Nintendo game. On top of that we have online multiplayer AND better yet it's utilizing metroid prime hunters control scheme (I was a legit Rank 4 on that game). Simply put i am going to play this game to death.

  3. Aces High Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 16:03

    @aceowen, you and me both buddy!

  4. Mighty Shouter Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 16:04

    Before I read this review, I predicted ONM would give it 91%.... I'm scared...

  5. Shmilly Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 16:41

    As excited as I was for this, I was still tentative about picking it up on launch day. Now though, I'd bet a fair share of hearts on me buying it at least in the first couple of weeks.

  6. gmundy Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 16:48

    This is going to be the 3ds game of the year, no THE game of the year. I need this.

  7. Pokemon Luke Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 17:46

    91% 91%? 91% :cry: how could you, im in shock...

  8. Ai64 Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 18:44

    AR, gameplay and online are the icing on this must have 3DS game. Can't wait! ^_^

  9. PappyLaroux Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 18:50

    @Mighty Shouter-I was expecting a zelda-level score of around 98%. Just because of all the covergae and the way they were talking about it. I think the only possible reason for it to not have got that mark is because of the dodgy control scheme. Sakurai messed up here. Using the abxy buttons for flights would have been better. I don't understand what the touchscreen is used so much for. These aren't the DS days where for anything to have reason to go on it, it must utilize the touchscreen. But I am absolutely getting this game, because everything is just so amazing. Its looooooooooooong (i'm not even sure how many chapters there are). The graphics are top-quality. And the story doesn't look to bad either. And the gameplay (other than the dodgy controls) looks fantastic although I'm worried that there is no free-roam part where you can just do random things like chuck chickens around(zelda-style)-or any side tasks (getting Epona). But I am getting it on Friday. And unfortunately I'll have to go HMV, because GAME let me pre-order it (for the extra AR Cards), but then told me (when I was checking on my pre-order) that they wouldn't be stocking it :x

  10. iplayah Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 19:18

    gameinformer said the controls are horrible and gave it a 70.

  11. Jake 346 Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 20:10

    I don't see what's so wrong with the controls (at least in flight). Plenty of good DS games have utilised the touch screen and that wasn't a problem then.

  12. Riccardo Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 20:16

    I think the only possible reason for it to not have got that mark is because of the dodgy control scheme. Sakurai messed up here. Using the abxy buttons for flights would have been better. I don't understand what the touchscreen is used so much for. These aren't the DS days where for anything to have reason to go on it, it must utilize the touchscreen.

    @Jake 346 you read my mind! :wink:

    I can understand why people are getting worried about the control system (on paper, it sounds terrible). But once you actually give it a go, it's intuitive, precise and actually quite comfortable. It's been done on the DS in games like Dementium and Metroid Prime: Hunters (@aceowen I was a rank 3, but I stopped playing online because of all the hackers and cheats... :cry: ) and it worked very well. On 3DS, the Circle Pad will just make what was a great control scheme even better!!

    ...And if people are still not convinced, something my brother does is to use the little finger of his stylus hand to help support the 'weight' of the 3DS. I don't personally need to do that, but he tells me that it makes it easier for him to hold the console, while not restricting the movement of the stylus. So in summary: the controls will be GREAT, ignore anyone who bad-mouths them, and try the game for yourself :D

  13. mariomadness56 Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 21:23

    I've just realized I played a demo of Kid Icarus at an event exactly 1 year before it launches. It will be interesting to see how much it has changed in a year.

  14. OracleOfPokemon Monday 19th Mar 2012 at 22:26

    The control scheme, I would imagine, is identical to Metroid Prime Hunters. I thought those controls were amazingly intuitive, and allowed the DS to play twin-stick shooters.

    This is why I don't get the point of the Circle Pad Pro: The whole point of the touchscreen is to act as a second analogue control pad, should the developers need two.

    In saying that, though, I did buy one, and it is comfortable and light, and makes the nightmare of Resident Evil: Revelations much easier to control. Also, I suppose it allows left-handers to play games like this without having to use the ABXY buttons, which I can't imagine being comfortable.

  15. callum2003 Tuesday 20th Mar 2012 at 09:00

    Just preordered this on first class so excited

  16. IPecksU Tuesday 20th Mar 2012 at 18:12

    Preordered it! Feeling optimistic about the controls even though everybody has complained about them. And I am so looking forward to the multiplayer since it's from the smash bros team.

    I have a question, in theory would it be possible for Nintendo/Project Sora/whoever to update uprising via wifi to improve on the controls and maybe incorporate the circle pad pro?

  17. callum2003 Tuesday 20th Mar 2012 at 19:42

    Wish it was released today

  18. callum2003 Tuesday 20th Mar 2012 at 19:51

    Just saw an advert for Uprising on tv 3 minutes ago if you want to see it go to nicktoons and if you have Vplus or anything you can rewind go there now!

  19. LordGhirahim64 Wednesday 21st Mar 2012 at 06:55

    I don't know why people are hating on the controls. They're just the same as Dillon. Anybody who has played that will be fine, even without the stand

  20. reshiram9898 Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 11:37

    91% thats great and the multiplayer will be awesome

  21. Xikelle Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 16:56

    a power that turns enemies into aubergines

    I haven't played the original Kid Icarus games, but I'm sure there will be others who will be able to enjoy the irony, considering that aubergine and eggplant are two words for the same thing... is that power called something akin to eggplant curse by any chance?

    Definitely will plan to get this at some point.

  22. ganonkilla Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 18:25


  23. shadowlugia101 Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 21:16

    as soon as i get this tomorrow i will play it until my eyes go sore

  24. Mikey01 Friday 23rd Mar 2012 at 09:29

    Defo getting this!!!! It looks amazing. I am really looking forward to the online! :D

  25. MarvelFan Friday 23rd Mar 2012 at 11:18

    I was expecting a higher score. I was thinking a 96% after the way the review had spoken so highly of the game, even higher than 91%.

    I am sure the review is accurate, although given that Famitsu gave it 40/40 I think maybe the review should reflect the score better.

    What have you taken the 9% off for anyway, ONM?

  26. legend1992 Friday 23rd Mar 2012 at 17:28

    I must confess that, back when Uprising was first announced at E3 in 2010, I wasn't convinced I'd see myself getting it. Then I got to see the newer trailers running on my 3DS and I was utterly amazed by how much of a difference those two years (plus the 3D effect) had made! So much so that I went out to buy it just today, and now it has taken pride of place among my growing collection of 3DS games :D

  27. alinktodapast Wednesday 28th Mar 2012 at 16:53

    three words epic as hell

  28. nukuleardawg Wednesday 28th Mar 2012 at 20:46

    Fantastic game, the development time on this wasnt wasted, gameplay is really unique and new, the ground sections are awesome, there as good as the air sections if not better, good voice acting great replay value, amazing sound track and graphics are some of the best on the 3ds. Only problem is the controls, if youve played something like metroid prime hunters or any ds fps then youl be used to them, its not so much that the controls are akward, its the position you need to sit in to play it, been playing it for a few hours and my back hurts lol. But totally worth it, great game and cant wait to see more from this series

  29. benjymc Thursday 29th Mar 2012 at 20:30

    hehe, theres a picture of cake :D

  30. 231231 Monday 2nd Apr 2012 at 15:16

    I got this. Its so fun. my fc code is 4468-1091-4521 add me and i'll add you

  31. master sword Monday 2nd Apr 2012 at 17:01

    I'll admit I was a bit sceptic about the controls at first, but after going in the options (being a lefty I usually have to change them) I realised how much freedom you have with the control scheme and can set it to how you want, so with me I use ABXY to move and the circle pad to aim instead of the touch screen

    anyway enough about the controls... THIS GAME IS AMAZING

    so far i'm on chapter 15 and am loving it, it looks pretty, some of the flight battles are hectic (reaper fortress lasers anyone?)
    the ability to change the difficulty... the online is ok (I haven't played much of it online though to be fair) and the humour is almost Disgaea like tongue in cheek, overall, fantastic game and i'm glad I brought it

  32. LewiiG Saturday 7th Apr 2012 at 13:35

    What the hell?! 91%? I've been playing this game for a while now. It's so amazing. I thought it would have at least 95% seriously. You say the problem are the controls? again, WTH? They're perfectly fine. They're just like Metroid prime hunters. Which was also amazing. I didnt think that they were a problem at all. Loads of games use a touch screen in this way. I've never had a problem with it. Land or Air. Oh well, famitsu got it right at least. (in my opinion). 8)

  33. Accelgor7 Thursday 12th Apr 2012 at 10:36

    I love kid icarus uprising! Completed main story roughly 6 days after buying the game at argos. The final battle against hades was one to behold, medusa making yet another appearence in the game and the finale ws terrific. I would recommend this game for anybody that has a 3ds and hands. And seriously, this game is worth alot more tan 91%, at least 97% for my favourite game of the year so far.

  34. 1steagle Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 18:28

    does anyone now what weapons come with paralysis ?

  35. 1steagle Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 18:42

    I got this. Its so fun. my fc code is 4468-1091-4521 add me and i'll add you

    mines 1075 1192 7535 please add me

  36. monsteroushunter Friday 11th May 2012 at 16:05

    Got the game yesterday
    Was so disappointed when it ended after only nine chapters :cry:
    But then . . .

  37. j123 Sunday 13th May 2012 at 09:44

    I've been playing this for 2 months and its still awesome! Am definitely waiting 25 years for the next sequel, even though i'll be an adult by then, (ignore the age on my profile, i'm actually 12.)

  38. j123 Sunday 13th May 2012 at 09:46

    Got the game yesterday
    Was so disappointed when it ended after only nine chapters :cry:
    But then . . .

    We know. You-know-who appeared and threw everything off balance.

  39. LuigiGiannella Tuesday 15th May 2012 at 23:10

    I recommend this GAME GUYS JUST BUY IT O_O ITS AWESOME AND GOOD TO PLAY ON SUPER HEAT on fiend cauldron :shock:

  40. Phantom George Saturday 19th May 2012 at 08:53

    Kid icarus uprising was my fave 3ds game until Rhythm thief came along!My question,after chapter 12,what happend to Viridi? :?

  41. Link9427 Wednesday 23rd May 2012 at 10:04

    I'm getting this soon. :3

  42. mariolord640 Sunday 10th Jun 2012 at 16:29

    :cry: I completed the game, i was on 94.7%, i had an awesome pair of claws, loads of hearts (358562), and then my data got corrupted...
    :twisted: (Maybe Hades Corrupted It...)

  43. Wacko212 Friday 24th Aug 2012 at 08:36

    How is this only 91%.
    Got it a few weeks ago surely should be rated at least 95% :evil:

  44. Gamer 1 Wednesday 29th Aug 2012 at 14:47

    not sure if to get i will probably get it for christmas

  45. mattb01 Saturday 1st Sep 2012 at 09:56

    new seires 2 kid icarus uprising ar cards out now

  46. Pixalate Person Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 18:01

    Grind Rails?! Woah, sounds awsome! I got it a few hours ago. This magazine gave me the insparation to buy this! :D :D :D

  47. Wilfie Sunday 4th Nov 2012 at 10:54

    My friend has got it it is so good. I'm gonna ask for it for Christmas.

  48. wilfrefanguy Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 11:23

    my freind on drawn to life wiki said that this was his new favorite game so im gonnna getit

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