Nostalgia review: Kid Icarus: Uprising

Image Credit: Samaneh Sadeghi Marasht

Liam Ferguson dissects the cult classic Kid Icarus: Uprising.

I remember always loving the character of Pit in Super Smash Bros. Brawl when I was a kid. For whatever reason, this little angel boy was one of my go-to mains whenever I booted up Smash. Suffice to say, when I found out he was getting a game of his own in 2012 I made sure to get a copy of my own for my birthday that year. After rolling credits, I replayed Kid Icarus: Uprising again and again and again as my heart shattered whenever game director Masahiro Sakurai reiterated that there were no plans for a sequel to this gem of Nintendo’s 3DS era. 

 Where Kid Icarus: Uprising really shines, however, is in the dynamics between its wide cast of characters

Kid Icarus: Uprising is the third game in the Kid Icarus series, with the previous two being released in 1986 and 1991 respectively. Plotline wise, the game is excellent and is filled to the brim with loveable and memorable characters, and incredible storytelling fused with engaging gameplay bolstered by an excellent customisation system. It is split into a number of chapters with differing arcs taking place every five or so, consistently building upon what came before any given arc. The game never takes itself too seriously and has a quirky fourth-wall-breaking humour in its approach in how it portrays its story. Where Kid Icarus: Uprising really shines, however, is in the dynamics between its wide cast of characters. The main playable character, Pit, consistently has the goddess Lady Palutena in his ear to crack jokes or provide the necessary exposition, and over the course of the roughly eight-hour story, the list of characters interacting with Pit at any given time only grows. Whether it is the brash Viridi, the foil of Dark Pit or the delightfully chaotic villain in Hades, the character writing within this title is superb. By the time credits have rolled, it is clear that a huge amount of effort went into developing believable and memorable characters that have stuck with me through the years in the many times I have replayed the game.

The gameplay, admittedly, may leave a bit to be desired at times. The game fuses traditional controls one would expect from a 3DS title with a reliance on using the stylus with the touch screen to aim. Each level is split into equal parts, an air segment and an on-foot land segment. Since the air sections are mostly on rails, they control well and the stylus integration makes sense. However, when on foot I found my hands beginning to cramp as I awkwardly tried to position the stylus on the screen whilst using the system’s triggers and circle pad to traverse the area. That being said, there is usually so much going on at any given point (including story progression) that it is easy to get over this hurdle and sink into the progression of the game. Nevertheless, the sheer variety of weapon customisation within the game is staggering. Eventually, through fusing multiple weapons together, the player is bound to find a weapon that suits their gameplay style. Whether it’s a sword that shoots a tornado out of it, a drill or a basic bow and arrow, the gameplay loops remain entertaining by mixing and matching a variety of tools, even if you might need to take a break to put ice on your hand after a long session. 

Overall, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a treasure of 3DS era Nintendo that I look back on extremely fondly and would easily place within my list of favourite games of all time. On top of featuring a fantastic multiplayer section, the game’s approach to character development and sheer level of customisation has kept me coming back through the years to relive the story of Pit and his friends. Even though we may never get another title in the series for a very long time, I am more than happy to stick with this one forever. A switch port would be appreciated though, Nintendo, please.