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.
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.
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.