Many people joke about Nintendo's habit of releasing drastically under-supported accessories, but recently this practice has taken a very frustrating turn. Kid Icarus: Uprising is incredibly difficult to control as players use the stylus, analog nub, and shoulder button all at the same time. Doing this for prolonged periods is actually pretty painful. Rather than addressing the control scheme, Nintendo opted to release yet another piece of plastic: a stand.
It'll take more than that to make Kid Icarus playable. For me, the controls are a clumsy, disjointed mess that doesn't really improve no matter how still I sit. Throw in a little bit of 3D and a game I really wanted to enjoy becomes a torture device.
When gamers started sharing their concerns about Uprising's controls, Nintendo should have addressed them in-game. While using the touch screen to aim Pit's attacks is a necessary evil because the 3DS only has one analog nub, I would have vastly preferred having an option to map that function to the face buttons. It's not a perfect solution, but it would be more comfortable than the current design.
Uprising does support the Circle Pad Pro, but only as a way for left handed players to swap which analog nub they're using to steer Pit around. This is another place where a little adaptation would have changed a everything. The Circle Pad should turn Uprising into a dual-stick shooter. That's essentially what the game is now, only with awkward stylus controls thrown in.
To be fair, the stylus only becomes a problem during the lengthy action/platformer levels. Portions of the game see Pit flying through the air and taking down baddies as they zoom into range. Pit can't actually fly and relies on magic to keep him in the air. This magic is extremely limited, so much of his fight against Medusa's legions occurs on the ground. This would be totally fine if the same analog nub and stylus controls weren't in play. Fighting depends on precisely aiming attacks and being able to dodge what enemies throw at you. The 3DS touch screen really isn't built with such motion in mind. I don't think any touch screen is.
Kid Icarus Uprising shouldn't have been 3DS game at all. The basic design lends itself to Wii controls. The stylus mimics the kind of targeting and camera controls that are commonly mapped to the Wii Remote. I would happily lose all the 3D support for a chance to play this game comfortably and without an extra bit of plastic keeping me grounded to the uncomfortable desk in my office. I can't play Uprising without it thanks to my old lady hands, and I can't use the 3D because the stand's angle is never quite right.
Accessories won't save Uprising. While some players don't mind the control scheme, I find it frustrating and out of place. Rather than adapting a concept to the handheld, Nintendo tried to force the handheld into accepting the concept. This is such a shame. Kid Icarus Uprising is a beautiful game and probably the best-looking title available on the 3DS. Pity I can't enjoy that because the thought of playing any more of it makes me want to eat that plastic stand.
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