E3 2011 hands-on: Kid Icarus for 3DS

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(This article comes courtesy of N-Sider, a site for well-adjusted Nintendo fans. N-Sider has served the Nintendo community for more than a decade.)

I’ve been a bit worried about Kid Icarus: Uprising ever since creator Masahiro Sakurai (father of Kirby and Super Smash Bros.) talked about how he had “solved” the problem of turning by having the player make swipes across the touch screen, which is otherwise used to aim.

But now that I’ve had a chance to try it out—and yes, I realize this sort of flies in the face of what everyone else on the Internet is telling you, but if you’re competent with a stylus like I am, you may find yourself on my page as well—I have found that it works out pretty well after all… with one minor caveat.

Uprising is played in third-person, with both air and on-foot segments. You move around the playfield with the 3DS’ slide pad, fire with the shoulder button (or engage in melee combat if you’re close enough), and move your aiming reticule by sliding your stylus around the screen. Dashing can be performed by doing one of Sakurai’s trademark control moves—moving the stick quickly instead of more gently toward the direction you want to run. And then, of course, there’s that last move used in ground segments, turning by swiping across the screen quickly with your stylus.

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The key to stylus use seems to be to never let up on the stylus unless you’re going to lift it for a turn—keep it in contact with the touch screen at all times. I watched (and man, let me tell you, it is hard as heck to watch someone play a 3DS game over their shoulder) several players repeatedly lift the stylus when they were not actively shooting, and as a result they were unintentionally turning quite a bit. Don’t be those people, and I think you’ll find the game works pretty well after all. I still like the air segments better, mind—I would not have been opposed to a game with only those—but there’s no reason to hate the single-player ground game if you do it well.

Oops, I dropped that caveat in there: “single-player.” They also had the game’s only-confirmed-local multiplayer on display, and that one made me hate the turning move a bit. Part of the problem, I suspect, was the lack of a gauntlet level design like the single-player mode has, but when not in single-player, it just seemed that whenever I did the turning move (likened to spinning a globe by the in-game tutorials—it’s a good analogy), I would end up facing something other than what I intended to.

I’ve been mulling it over, and I’m strongly considering Kid Icarus: Uprising for later this year. Though I might have designed the game a little differently from the outset, my fears are allayed, and that’s all that was really holding me back. I’m glad to find it was a non-issue.

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