Kid Icarus: Uprising is a game for Nintendo's 3DS handheld and a sequel to the original NES title. Originally announced as a launch title, the game was eventually released on March 23, 2012 in North America. Uprising was developed by Masahiro Sakurai's studio, Sora and is the first Kid Icarus title in the series since the release of Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters on the Game Boy. The announcement of Uprising at Nintendo's E3 2010 press conference followed two years of rumors indicating that Nintendo was working on a new entry in the series following the protagonist Pit's playable appearance in the mascot fighting game Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Kid Icarus: Uprising was initially announced as "Project Sora" in early 2009. As Nintendo President Satoru Iwata stated at the company's E3 2010 press conference, the goal of Project Sora from the start was to create a showpiece title for the Nintendo 3DS. In addition to "Sora" being the name of Sakurai's development studio, it is also the Japanese word for "sky," making it a fitting code name for a Kid Icarus title.
The updated character designs for Kid Icarus protagonist Pit and the goddess Palutena were originally conceived for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which was also developed by Sora. The antagonist Medusa has received a similar face-lift and appears dramatically different from her appearance in the original NES game. Similar returning characters such as the returning bosses Twinbellows, Hewdraw and Pandora have received 3D face-lifts as well. Kid Icarus: Uprising also features extensive voicework throughout the game.
Uprising's story is presented in a whimsical, humorous tone that makes frequent callbacks to both the original Kid Icarus as well as the fact that the characters exist in a video game. Portions of the story are illustrated with graphics lifted from the first Kid Icarus game, and some music tracks are also presented in the retro NES sound format.
Uprising is set approximately twenty-five years after the original Kid Icarus. Medusa, queen of the underworld, has revived, and Pit must stop her once again. Along the way, he and Palutena encounter a number of old and new enemies as well as allies. However, with Medusa's defeat, the situation only grows more complicated as the real mastermind behind the underworld invasion makes himself known. Hades, the true ruler of the underworld, continues the assault on the human world and Skyworld. At the same time, Viridi, Goddess of Nature, sets her sights on taking the world back from humanity so that nature can thrive once again. The resulting conflicts escalate into a three-way war between the forces of the sky, the underworld, and nature.
Kid Icarus: Uprising completely upends the style of play present in the NES and Game Boy entries in the series. The vertical and side-scrolling platforming gameplay that the series was known for has been discarded for more shooter-based action from a behind-the-back perspective from both in the air and on the ground.
While in the air, Pit can fly around the screen while forward movement is on rails, similar in nature to a game like Space Harrier or Rez. Using the default controls, Pit is moved using the Circle Pad and aiming is controlled with the touch screen and stylus. The attack button can be held down for rapid-fire, or a pause between shots can allow Pit's attack strength to recharge. Pit is also able to dodge enemy attacks more easily while not firing. As Pit fights, he'll build up energy for a special attack that deals damage to all enemies on the screen. This attack can be triggered by tapping an icon in the lower-left corner of the touch screen. Up to two such special attacks can be stocked at a time.
Some aerial stages feature branching pathways. At certain points, the player will be prompted to pick a path to take. In other cases, the path may depend on whether the player can destroy a particular obstacle within a given time frame.
In the game's on-foot sequences, Pit is moved with the Circle Pad and ranged attacks can be aimed with the stylus, similar to the flying sequences. Pit can also dash, which requires stamina, and can perform melee strikes when targeting an enemy that's within melee range. Arrow icons point Pit in the correct direction to proceed further into the stage, but stages also feature branching pathways that lead to items such as hidden loot or hot springs that Pit can bathe in to restore his health. Stages also commonly offer grind rails, which Pit can hop on and ride between points. Grind rails also branch on occasion, and Pit can hop from one rail to another to adjust his path or target destination.
As one of the game's numerous callbacks to the original Kid Icarus, the unusual status effect that the Eggplant Wizard inflicts, turning Pit into a bipedal, defenseless eggplant, has been retained. In Uprising, the condition is cured over time automatically by Palutena. Uprising also introduces a more dangerous variant on this enemy type in the Tempura Wizard. If Pit is hit with a tempura bomb, he'll turn into a piece of tempura shrimp, and if he gets too close to the Tempura Wizard while in this state, he'll be eaten, resulting in an instant kill.
Instead of a more standard difficulty selection process, Kid Icarus: Uprising features an intensity system that is based on a sliding scale that ranges from zero to nine, with decimal granularity. The intensity is selected at the beginning of each stage, with the default "normal" intensity of the game set at 2.0. The player can wager hearts to raise the intensity, or spend hearts to make the game easier. If the player wagers hearts and raises the intensity, the player will be rewarded with greater potential bonuses over the course of the stage. Additionally, many stages also feature intensity doors that lead to extra challenges and treasures that are only accessible if the player is playing a stage at or above a specific intensity level. However, if the player dies at any point, some of the wagered hearts will be lost and the intensity will lower by a slight degree.
Kid Icarus: Uprising makes use of the Circle Pad Pro accessory, which provides a second analogue stick; one that can be used by the right hand. The implementation is meant to provide a better gameplay experience for left-handed players, as the default control scheme heavily favors those that are right-handed. Beyond this support, the game also allows for extensive control customization. Players can choose to control Pit using either the Circle Pad or 3DS face buttons, can choose to aim with the touch screen, Circle Pad, or face buttons, and can swap the functions of individual buttons. Touch screen camera and cursor speed can also be freely adjusted.
Between stages, the player is free to customize both Pit's equipped weapon and his skill set. Weapons come in a variety of categories including bows, swords, cannons, claws, and staves. Each weapon may also have one or more bonuses attached to it that provide benefits such as boosts to defense, and individual star ratings for melee and ranged attack strength are also assigned.
Weapons can be acquired in one of three ways; by finding them during the course of a stage, buying them in a shop, or fusing two weapons already in the player's possession to create a new weapon. In weapon fusion, select bonuses from each parent weapon are transferred to the created weapon. Unwanted weapons can also be exchanged for more hearts; the currency of the game.
Over the course of play, the player can unlock new powers that can be equipped for Pit's use. Learned powers can be assigned by placing the blocks that represent them in a grid similar in nature to the item menu of Resident Evil 4. The player may organize up to five grids, though only one may be equipped at a time. Some powers are only for use in the game's multiplayer component.
Uprising features online competitive multiplayer playable over local wireless and through the Nintendo Network. There are two primary modes of online play.
Light vs. Dark
Essentially a team deathmatch variant, Light vs. Dark pits two teams of up to three players against each other. Each team has a life bar that decreases any time that a player on the team is killed, and the higher a defeated player's weapon value, the more the bar is emptied. The player that dies when the life bar empties will respawn as either Pit (if a light side player) or Dark Pit (if on the dark side). The match will end when either Pit or Dark Pit is defeated or when time runs out.
Free-for-All is the game's version of deathmatch that pits all players against each other. The player that scores the most kills by the end of the round wins.
Similar to the trophies seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, idols are figures that can be unlocked over the course of play that can be viewed in a gallery. Idols take the form of game characters, weapons, items, and locations. The player can also read descriptions of each idol on the touch screen as they are viewed.
A simple minigame that serves as the idol-unlocking system. As the player plays through the game, eggs will be acquired that can be placed in a bowl. When the player launches an egg, an idol will be unlocked. The chances of unlocking a new idol are increased by placing more eggs into the bowl before launching. Up to five eggs can be launched at one time. Additionally, eggs can also be purchased with Play Coins. A single egg costs one Play Coin. If the player should accidentally release an egg so that it falls to the bottom of the screen, it will crack, or possibly break entirely. Should this happen, no reward is granted; the player simply loses the egg.
Players can receive and exchange weapons through the use of SpotPass and StreetPass. To offer a weapon through StreetPass, the player must first select a weapon in his or her inventory to convert into a gem. Once converted, it can be exchanged with any player that also has active StreetPass data for the game. Nintendo also periodically gifts weapon gems to players through SpotPass. After receiving a weapon gem, the player can either spend hearts to convert it into a weapon, destroy it in order to convert it into a predetermined value of hearts, or fuse gems together together, much like standard weapon fusion.
Treasure Hunts are essentially an achievement system that rewards the player for completing specific tasks. Each task is linked to a square on a grid, and when cleared, the square will disappear, displaying part of a mural underneath. When certain squares are cleared, the player may also be rewarded with bonus hearts, a weapon, skill, or idol. Some squares also reward the player with feathers; special items that can be used to clear any square without having to complete the assigned task. There are three treasure hunt boards, and each one is themed after a different deity. The first is Palutena's. Viridi's is unlocked roughly halfway through the game, and Hades's is unlocked after the final stage is cleared.
Each copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising is packaged with six of a series of Augmented Reality cards featuring characters and items from the game. When viewed using the 3DS Camera's AR camera function, 3D renditions of the card's subject will appear in 3D space via the camera. Cards that face each other can interact, and characters can battle each other. The stats of each character are dependent on their card. Scanning an AR card for the first time will also unlock the idol associated with that card and also reward the player with bonus hearts. Any idol unlocked via an AR card scan will have a camera icon displayed next to its name when viewed in the idol gallery.
In the weeks leading up to the game's launch, Nintendo released a series of animated shorts based on Kid Icarus produced by a trio of Japanese animation studios; Production IG, Studio 4C, and Shaft, Inc. The shorts were released through the Nintendo Video service on the 3DS.
Produced by Production IG. A comedic three-part animated short in which Pit does battle with the villain Thanatos.
Produced by Studio 4C. Tells the story of Medusa's return following her first defeat and her rivalry with Palutena.
Palutena's Revolting Dinner
Produced by Shaft, Inc. A two-part comedic story revolving around Palutena's attempt to cook a meal, leading to far more trouble than she asked for when the carrots she prepares come to life and go berserk.
A plastic 3DS stand accessory is bundled with each copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising. The stand is meant to support the 3DS on a flat surface to increase the player's comfort during extended play sessions. It can be used regardless of whether nor not the 3DS has been set into a Circle Pad Pro.
The stand is made out of plastic and is hinged in two locations. The first larger hinge provides the support for the stand to raise up at an angle. The second smaller hinge is a flap for the 3DS to sit on. A portion of the flap is carved out to allow access to the headphone jack. The stand is held in place by friction via small rubber pads under the main area of the stand where it comes in contact with the surface. Rubber pads on the surface of the stand come in contact with the upper portion of the back of the 3DS which, also through friction, prevent the 3DS from sliding around on it.