Prior to this game I had no experience with the Kid Icarus series. Mostly due to my crippling Amiibo addiction, I wanted to see what game the Pit, Palutena, and Dark Pit Amiibo came from. This led me to check stock at my local EB Games. The search revealed that they had a mint condition used copy that I snapped up in March. I really enjoyed the banter between the characters and humor in the game. This unique charm helped me get passed some glaring faults I found.
How Far I Got
I just beat the main story. I have no desire to do multiplayer or try to collect everything. I also kept the difficulty at 2.0 the whole game. My hands were really cramping up with the poorly thought out control scheme so I kept things easy during my playthrough.
The majority of the stages are divided into two distinct parts. First the on rails flying/shooting things portion. Then comes the on ground fighting/navigating part that wraps up with a boss fight. The on rails part of the stage is well done and very action packed. Then comes the ground combat part to put a damper on things. The on ground control scheme was this game’s weakest point to me. You must quickly swipe the touch screen to face different directions or dodge enemy attacks. Moving forward is done with the control stick. It took some time before I was able to get use to this. Overall I thought it was poorly done. It lead to some very frustrating moments (and sore hands) during boss fights and areas that required more precise movement in the later stages.
Each enemy has a weakness or a special effective way to attack it. The difficulty of each stage can be adjusted by betting hearts which are gathered mostly from defeating enemies. Some areas in each stage require higher difficulties to access them. Fulfilling challenges in each stage unlocks a square on pictures that you can complete if you wish. This adds some replay value (if you can put up with the control scheme that long). There is also a healthy variety of weapon types that you can upgrade.
The environments are nicely detailed and fit the theme of the stages. Spectacular cosmic backdrops cover the space areas and dark caverns set the mood for the underworld. The numerous enemies and bosses have very quirky designs that I liked overall. Most of them felt like they were taken straight out of a Metroid game (Especially the one that looks exactly like a Metroid and behaves the same). There were no frame rate issues with the multitude of enemies on the screen and everything ran smoothly during the fast paced air combat areas.
The music has an epic ancient greek-ish vibe to it which fits well with the theme of the game. I didn’t notice the music much over the near constant shooting and character banter during the stages however. As you progress through each stage the characters are regularly chatting back and forth with each other. Both the bad and good guys are always teasing poor little Pit. The jokes are a bit corny sometimes but I enjoyed the lighthearted dialog and the voice acting was excellent.
My Overall Biased Opinion
The charm of this game won me over. The dialog is very playful and the characters are well aware they are in a video game which I found amusing. The control scheme during the ground part of the stages is simply broken. It feels like they just threw the touch screen in there for the sake of using it. The game suffers from this and it may be enough to turn most people off.
[2017/03/18 Update: I recently found out that Lady Palutena is voiced by the legendary Ali Hillis (the voice of Lightning Farron, my badass idol). This game just got a lot more awesome to me!]
SPOILERS AHEAD!! You have been warned.
Favourite Story Moment
When the Chaos Kin steals Lady Palutena’s essence and she turns to stone. It added a bit of drama to an otherwise upbeat game.
The 3 sacred treasures. Pit looks awesome wearing them and they mow down enemies flawlessly.
Favorite “Oh S@#%” Moment
The final blow to Hades in the last stage. That whole battle was done in the air (thank god) and really ended the game on a high note for me.
The stage where Pit needs to “borrow” some cosmic horses with a carriage (aka the Lightning Chariot). The land portion of that stage was brutal on my poor hands but the stage started off with Pit getting shot out of a massive cannon. The environment for space portion was very spectacular.
Most Tedious Gameplay Moment
Any obstacle I encountered during the land parts.