A Casual Discussion about Kid Icarus: Uprising

This week, I was originally planning to do some HARD-HITTING investigation on The Fall, a game I’ve still yet to play that’s intrigued me for a while. Unfortunately, I’ve been incredibly busy lately and I haven’t had any time to play it, much less focus and analyse it. So in an attempt to give me something fun to do in my free time, I’ve been busy replaying an old favorite from my past, a little game known as Kid Icarus: Uprising. And it’s still really good!

Kid Icarus: Uprising was released for the 3DS in 2012, 25 years after the original one for the NES. It stars Pit, an unusually-named angel who is guided by the goddess of light, Palutena, and battles the underworld armies of Medusa.This game was received very positively, which wasn’t too much of a surprise considering it was made by Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the popular Super Smash Bros. series. Although it came out a couple of years ago, I played it for the first time last year, and I remembered enjoying it a great deal, but now that I’m playing through it again, I think it’s even better than I thought it was!

I think the main reason that I’ve fallen in love with this game again is that everything about seems almost tailor-made for the life situation I’m currently in. The fast-paced but simple action reminds me a lot of an arcade game, and it’s the perfect thing to play casually once you get a grip on the somewhat awkward controls. The game is split up into several chapters, which each consist of two different stages of gameplay followed by a boss fight at the end. Those two stages are known as Air and Land battles. Air Battles are simple rail shooters where you’re guided along a set path. They typically last no more than 5 minutes, with an in-story explanation that if Pit flies for too long, his wings will burn up. Land battles obviously take place on land, take a little longer to complete, and are much more like a typical action game with the ability to strafe and dash around your enemies. While I certainly admire the latter, I’m going to focus on the Air Battles, and describe why they’re so good from both a gameplay and narrative standpoint.

Before I go any further, I need to explain how this game’s story is told. As you progress through the levels, characters talk to each other (with voice-acting) on the bottom screen. Those conversations typically either involve Palutena giving advice on how to defeat an enemy, or banter between Pit and the boss of the chapter that he’ll eventually face. The dialogue is very casual and lighthearted, befitting the gameplay. The characters are surprisingly quirky and fun compared to the “Greek Fantasy” setting, and the voice-acting, while certainly not the most convincing I’ve ever seen, adds a lot of personality and charm. Pit himself is a particularly great character for this sort of game, as he’s really enthusiastic and makes a lot of jokes and one-liners.

But snappy comebacks alone aren’t what really make this game enjoyable. It’s the combination of the witty writing along with the game’s sheer amount of effort and variety. This game is really, really good at mixing things up to avoid it getting stale and repetitive. Practically every single chapter introduces a new enemy, character, or game mechanic. It seriously feels like an adventure during those Air Battles, because although the basic formula is the same, there’s always different STUFF happening. You soar over towns under attack, dodge the laser eyesight of Reapers, part the seas and go underwater, fight aliens in space, explore a creepy pocket dimension, and defeat a god’s heart inside his body, all in one game! These scenarios are further improved by the fact that because the Air Battles last a certain amount of time, the game designers have the freedom to make wild enemy patterns, stunning landscapes and powerful musical cues to heighten the experience.

Anyway, I just think it’s really great to fly through the sky, chilling out and shooting enemies, while the quips of the characters wash over you, making you chuckle every once and a while. It’s certainly not a literary masterpiece, but the story is entertaining enough that it keeps you coming back for more.

There’s actually more I want to say, (As I’ve said before, this game has so much stuff) but I think I’m going to end this post right here out of respect for my sanity. I’ll might return to this discussion and clear some things up once I have more free time. However, I think at this present moment:

im-finished

(Photo credits: zeldainformer.com, cheatcc.com, Flickr)

(that’s the game over screen to the original Kid Icarus by the way, ha ha, do you get it?)

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