On Wings of Pastrami

So the The Wonderful 101 is amazing. In a world blanketed in the fog of ‘AAA or bust’, it’s a breath of fresh air.

But since thus us a handheld gaming site. let me get to the point before I begin pleading with you to buy what is most definitely my favourite game of the year.

With all the Wonderful‘ing I’ve been up to, I was brought back to the early-ish days of 2012 and that year’s best game; Kid Icarus: Uprising.

The two relate in many ways, and despite following The Wonderful 101 pretty closely, it wasn’t something I expected. The debated controls, the hilarious dialog, and the surprising amount of content are all shared by these two fantastic titles. Suddenly, I couldn’t focus on the adventures of Wonder-Red and his merry band. I drifted off down memory lane, reminiscing about the amazing times Pit and I shared.


I suppose any discussion of Kid Icarus: Uprising must start with its controls. I’m on the extreme side of the argument, and insist that the method chosen is the best and only way to play the game. Are they weird? Absolutely, and to someone who hasn’t mastered them (or even bothered to try) I can see where the confusion comes from. It’s the speed of the game that necessitates such an odd control scheme, something dual analog could never dream of capturing. The on-foot segments of the game is very much a three dimensional affair, Pit will get attacked from every direction and angle. You need that camera to whip around, and the speed at which you do so varies. Touching and tapping on the 3DS’ lower screen works wonders in this regard. As analog as those sticks are, it would definitely be disorienting to have the camera whip around that quickly. With the stylus controls, you can stop turning and place the reticule exactly where it needs to be at the same time. And here’s a curve ball; I’m left handed, necessitating a Circle Pad Pro. I actually loved playing it this way, as the RZ button of the Circle Pad Pro made for a terrific trigger button, something you couldn’t get with the 3DS on its own. Sure, I got sucked into paying $20, but I can’t blame Masahiro Sakurai for Nintendo’s seeming distaste for 10 percent of the world’s population.


I remember what a treat Star Fox 64 was, and when I think about it, I think that game was the first I played with honest to goodness voice acting.  I wasn’t much of a PlayStation fan in those days (likely due to the fact I could only own one system at a time on my measly allowance), so excuse me if I’m forgetting some groundbreaking work. The near-constant chatter worked perfectly in that game, and the same goes for Uprising. Importantly, the story is legitimately hilarious, and has so many instances of optional and secret dialogue it’s hard to pick out any favourites. Not only is the story well told, but it stands on its own as a fun little piece of fiction. A mid-game twist that few saw coming, and a constant stream of new and interesting characters kept things fresh throughout its many hours.

As awesome as great controls and story is, just how much game came on that little cartridge really made Kid Icarus: Uprising the perfect title. Sakurai really likes to stuff his game full of stuff to do and see, and Uprising is no different. Single-player kept me busy far longer than I had imagined, and that was before going back and messing with the Fiend’s Cauldron. This device allows players to bet  in-game currency as they raise the game’s difficulty, yielding better rewards and opening blocked off areas. It’s a great way to reward returning players, without having fresh faces feel as if content is being held back. Weapon fusion is shockingly robust, creating weapons as unique as snow flakes. These play a huge role in the game’s multiplayer, a mode I expected nothing from. I really didn’t think it would speak to me, seeing it as little more than a shallow extension of the single-player.  Instead, it turned out to be a huge draw, as it played like a three-dimensional Super Smash Bros. (in that it took that series’ mechanics and placed them in a ‘world’ that existed on a 3D plane). I still go back to it from time to time, testing my aging skills against bots (a feature I wish more multiplayer modes offered).


I really envy anyone playing Uprising for the first time. It’s just such a roller coaster…so many up, downs, and twists, it’s hard to not be jealous of someone not seeing them coming. I mean, Chapter 18, guys! Chapter 18! Playing that bit of madness and not seeing it coming is something I’d waste a birthday wish on. Buy it, enjoy it, and discover fun other uses for the included stand.


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