Kid Icarus flies to new heights with Uprising for 3DS

Kid Icarus flies to new heights with Uprising for 3DS

Nintendo’s mustached Mario parks his Kart this week to make way for a new installment in a 25-year-old franchise – Kid Icarus.

Kid Icarus Uprising is rated “E” for everyone by the Software Entertainment Review Board, but there is mild fantasy violence.

The game features Pit, a winged protagonist, who is likely best known for his role in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Angelic or cupid-like Pit, smooth-faced flyboy, hits shelves and 3DS machines March 23, becoming the first in this franchise for the DS. Kid Icarus was released in 1986 for Nintendo Entertainment Systems and Kid Icarus Of Myths and Monsters in 1991 for Game Boy.

And you know the premise before I say it – evil is out to destroy the world and you (Pit) must save it. Actually, Uprising calls players to “bring the light,” but essentially that means confront monsters, kill them, gain weapons, advance to new levels to kill more monsters and … save the world.

Recall Greek mythology. Icarus is the master craftsman’s son who wants to escape Crete. His father makes him wings from feathers and wax but Icarus loses his wings – and his life – when he flies too close to the sun. In Uprising ($40), Pit, similar to Icarus, gets wings from Palutena, the goddess of light. As her servant, he flies from heaven to confront the forces of darkness led by none other than the most wicked of mythological characters – Medusa.

Although defeated 25 years ago in Kid Icarus on the Nintendo Entertainment System, she’s back, snake hair and all. Medusa has launched her underworld army to spread the darkness.

Pit flies through the air striking creatures and critters, but also mounts ground attacks. Play control changes from air to ground. When Pit is in the air, players can only control aim and physical position but not forward momentum. On the ground, players have more freedom to move Pit directionally, as well as forward faster.

This game is perfect for kids who have a little time to play before dinner, before they have to do homework, go to school, take a bath, etc. Battles can be won (or lost) in a matter of 10 minutes. Therefore, players have the satisfaction of making progress in a short period of time. Game play, beginning to end, is 12 to 16 hours, depending on age and experience of players.

One problem I see with the game is that it was designed to be played with a stylus. My 10-year-old’s DS stylus has been long gone. Did the dog eat it? Perhaps it was mistaken for a LEGO lightsaber for Darth Vadar and is somewhere in the sea of LEGOs never to be discovered for its true purpose.

Nevertheless, stylus play is most needed for ground-based gaming, adding to the complexity of game play and need for dexterous coordination. It’s really hard for me to wrap my hands around a game pushing buttons and at the same time maneuver a stylus. Perhaps others will have greater success.

Still, the game is compelling. There is a lot of banter between characters and more than 100 weapons to be won. The graphics are beautiful, as are the worlds Pit enters; the musical score is original and pleasant. Up to six players can participate locally or via Wi-Fi competing in death matches or free-for-alls, or one player can go solo in story mode. Multi-player seems a bit chaotic especially the 3-on-3 scenario, but I know gamers who thrive and win in bedlam.

If you can get your hands around the 3DS comfortably to control the options, which can be reassigned, by the way, then you’ll enjoy this addictive third-person shooter fantasy adventure and likely save the world from the snares of the serpentine menace Medusa, for which we’ll all be grateful.