Reviews: Kid Icarus Uprising
This is a great game that people seem to brush off too often, since they aren't willing to get used to the controls. Once you get the hang of it, they work surprisingly well. Any 3DS owner should have this game. (Yes I'm reviewing this game a year late sue me)
Pure Mayhem (Multiplayer/Together mode review)
Together Mode is an extremely fun area of the game and a great addition overall. There are two great modes - Light vs. Dark; essentially a team deathmatch but with some nice twists, and Free-for-all which is exactly what it says. In the former, both teams have life bars that decrease as players are killed, then once it reaches zero an "angel" will spawn (an enhanced fighter) and the first team to defeat the enemy angel wins. Though this may sound basic, what really makes Together mode succeed is the huge depth there is to the combat. Playing style is influenced massively by the well-designed and varied maps, items, weapons and powers. Because everything is balanced so well, there are a near-infinite number of good combinations of weapons and powers; and you will see them. You can be literally anything from a stealthy sniper to aggressive melee brawler. Love attacking at a specific range? There'll be a weapon perfectly suited to that range. Want to create black holes, turn invisible, teleport or absorb the damage you take? These are all legitimate powers (and only the tip of the 50+ powers iceberg). On top of this there are the items, and although they do not have such a central role as weapons and powers, they are nonetheless a nice addition which, on the whole, work. The maps don't particularly stand out either, but they are nonetheless well-designed and graphically stunning. This massive variety of weapons, powers, items and maps does make the gameplay quite chaotic, however. Matches are nearly always pure mayhem, but this actually results in many exciting and tense games. This is because you are given more than enough opportunity to fight intelligently - as opposed to being spawn-killed - and it pays off. Given the well-balanced limitations on weapon value and powers, players can only become so powerful, meaning it's never too difficult to defeat them (and often effectively). Your equipment is central to your game, but it's by no means everything. You improve by hard graft, either by working hard to get better equipment or improving your fighting skill, and not getting lucky. And that, in a nutshell, is the core of Together mode. The main drawbacks are near-useless players on your team in LvD, inactive players, and one of the most hated online features - lag. But this is a small minus from what really is a big plus.
The true successor... to Serious Sam! (single player review)
I really like this game. There's nothing else quite like it... or it turns out that on closer inspection, there kind of is something else like it. Except this is better. But I'll get to that later. Each level begins with Pit flying through the air on a preset path, fighting enemies Star Fox style as you progress toward the goal. These are very scripted, with sudden "surprises" that always occur the same way. While I enjoy these sections as a warmup, and they do a great job of showing off some amazing graphical power (rumor has it they're actually FMV footage with 3D graphics superimposed in them, which wouldn't surprise me), I wouldn't like the game if it entirely consisted of these. But it doesn't. Far from it: the vast majority of any level takes place on the ground. This is what the game is going to be best known for as a result, and this is also where the odd controls come into play. They're changeable, but the touchscreen controls are probably the best way to go, once you adjust some settings and get used to them. The "ground" level design is really good. The levels are hugely diverse, with an amazing variety not just in theme but also in design. Some levels contain maze-like segments, others are more straightforward. There's large open rooms, small rooms, corridors, outdoors sections, places where you can drive vehicles (that have their own unique physics and movement), and unique gimmicks such as optical illusions, jumping-oriented areas, and all manner of creative ideas show up from time to time. The level design is very platformer-ish, even though the game is not a platformer. Enemy design is hugely varied as well. Some enemies require specific strategies to beating them, and their behaviors vary so much that there's always many surprises. Heck, playing the ground levels made me think of one game series in particular: Serious Sam. Think about it: Serious Sam has level design that's platformer-esque, with gimmicks from time to time, is about only fighting varied enemies and moving onward. However, Serious Sam has failed to evolve much. This game, if anything, is its unintentional true successor, rather than a successor to Kid Icarus. It happens to use Sam's basic concepts and builds on them significantly. It's also a great game.