Feature: Kid Icarus: Uprising - What the Review Couldn't Tell You
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Minor spoilers within
When we published our Kid Icarus: Uprising review, we observed a strict set of guidelines from Nintendo. These embargo criteria were designed to ensure that some features of the title weren’t given away before it hit stores. It’s not an uncommon practice, but in the case of this particular title we feel that it’s important to now share some of these details with you. Not only did they play a contributing role to the award of a 9/10 score, but they may be useful for those still unsure about whether to take the plunge.
Be warned, there are some SPOILERS in this article, though we won’t be giving away detailed plot points. If you’re picking this game up and want these details to be a surprise, then we recommend that you stop reading now.
It’s a long flight
A common question that was raised in the review comments was, ‘how long is the single player campaign?’ Normally it’s a detail that we’d happily divulge, but on this occasion we were prohibited from doing so. When initially playing the game, you’ll reach what seems like the end after nine chapters, with each chapter typically taking around 20 minutes to complete. There’s then a drastic twist in the plot, which you can discover for yourself, and the adventure then continues until you eventually finish chapter 25. Some of these chapters are longer, and by the time you factor in the occasional restart and adjusting weapons and other features, it will probably take you between 10-12 hours to finish all chapters at least once. After the credits there’s also a particularly challenging ‘Boss Battle’ level, which involves taking on every boss from the campaign, and this will provide a stiff task for any gamer. For an action title like this, that’s a surprising amount of core content.
You’re likely to play on for a lot longer than a dozen hours, particularly with the option to replay levels on a higher intensity level to access locked areas and earn more hearts and loot. Another incentive to play and chase higher scores is the Treasure Hunt, which serves as an achievements system. This starts with one portrait of 120 tiles, with in-game accomplishments revealing these spaces and also providing rewards of hearts, weapons and powers. Two more portraits will appear with increasingly difficult challenges, and even skilled gamers will need a great deal of persistence and time to gradually unlock everything: it’s a setup very similar to the trophies in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii.
We've mentioned powers, another feature not included in the review. As well as a broad variety of weapons, you also earn a number of special abilities through completing levels and unlocking achievements. Each ability has a tetris-style shape, and you have four load-outs of a square area to fill with powers that you can use in the levels. Powers include land-mines, mega lasers and health recovery, to name just a few, and are accessible on the touch-screen during Land Battles. Setting up your four power-sets to accommodate different challenges will be important when chasing the highest scores or playing on the toughest intensity levels – there’s the option for Palutena to auto-fill these load-outs, if you choose. Another small note, with regards to the StreetPass weapon gem feature, is that Nintendo will also distribute gems through SpotPass, with the first arriving on our console early on launch day.
These features, achievements, weapons and powers are spread across both single player and multiplayer. If you want to achieve everything in this game it’ll be necessary to master both modes.
As well as there being dozens of weapons and powers to collect, along with hundreds of achievements, there are some extras for completionists to pursue in the ‘Vault’ menu. To answer one question that was asked, there’s a comprehensive music gallery, featuring 42 tracks to listen to: considering the quality of the soundtrack, it’s worth exploring. A ‘Power Portrait’ is slowly completed as you acquire powers, while an ‘Offering’ screen allows you to donate hearts to the goddess Palutena in exchange for her moving closer towards the front of the screen. In 20 hours of game-time we haven’t been able to finish either option, giving an idea of the scale of unlockables in this title.
It’s also possible to access the user profile’s records in this screen – there are three user profiles available on the game cart – with details such as game time, number of enemies killed, number of powers obtained and more.
A lot of content on a small cartridge
When you combine these features and the surprising length of the single-player campaign, along with everything mentioned in the review, this really is a comprehensive and terrifically entertaining package. There’s plenty to do in a bare-bone playthrough of single and multiplayer, but the fact is that the structure, level design and achievements will keep most busy long after the credits have rolled for the first time. It’s a title that falls short of perfection, but nevertheless combines an exciting experience with an impressive volume and variety of content.