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Review: Kid Icarus: Uprising

Kid Icarus: Uprising
Nintendo 3DS
Price: $69.95, rated PG

It has been 20 years since Nintendo released a Kid Icarus game but the Japanese gaming giant has now placated the countless petitioners who have campaigned for a revival of the cult classic.

Super Smash Bros designer Masahiro Sakurai has crafted a deep game clearly aimed at the kind of hardcore gamer Nintendo has tended to neglect in recent years.

What a shame the enjoyment of an otherwise masterfully designed game is hampered by such an awkward control scheme that causes genuine physical discomfort.

Adroit players will adapt to the demands of moving winged hero Pit with the circle pad while aiming with the stylus and shooting with the trigger. But the system never feels comfortable and the inclusion of a plastic stand for the 3DS is Nintendo's acknowledgment that the game cannot be played as a hand-held adventure for any significant length of time.

Fortunately, perseverance brings rewards. This is a lavish, fast-paced action game split between thrilling aerial combat and ground-based scrapping. The presentation is exceptional, with our young hero swooping spectacularly through the clouds, over ancient cities and even through volcanoes as he battles Medusa's mythological minions.

There is a huge variety of weapons to collect, including blades, cannons, clubs and bows, and each has a projectile and melee attack. Weapons are bought using heart collectables and an ingenious mechanic lets players earn bigger rewards if they are prepared to risk a tougher challenge. Players can forge new weapons, earn new abilities and jump into vehicles.

Multiplayer modes include three-on-three battles where the prize on your scalp is determined by the value of your character's equipment taken into the skirmish. The mode can be enjoyed with nearby friends or online.