Most of the time, however, the game is sensible enough to avoid these mistakes and instead focuses on its versatile combat system. Dashing and firing lets off a powerful shot, while rapid fire can be achieved by holding down the shoulder button. Get in close, and you can whack enemies with a melee attack. There are nine weapon classes, each featuring a bunch of weapons. Cannons, for instance, offer slow but powerful long-ranged shots, while clubs let you deflect shots back at your opponents and deliver devastating close-range blows. Other types range from blades and staffs to claws and bows. Each weapon has its own stats and buffs, and you can spend a lot of time customizing your loadout.
Customization is helped, in part, by the fusion system. Weapons can be fused together to create new, more powerful weapons, and this aspect of Uprising alone adds a great amount of depth. With the aid of a simple grid, you can view the results of possible weapon fusions and decide which to sacrifice to create something new. Your gear section lets you test out any owned weapon on a practice range, and there's a lot of fun in finding the perfect weapons to suit your playing style. You can also convert weapons into gems, which can be traded to other players via StreetPass, allowing them to either claim the weapon, fuse the gem with a weapon of their own, or sell the gem.
You purchase new weapons with hearts, the in-game currency, and then take them into battle or merge them with existing arms. Hearts can be earned from defeating enemies in-game or wagered at the start of each level. There's a difficulty slider which lets you either spend hearts to lower the difficulty or gamble hearts to increase it. The risk/reward aspect is a neat system that gives plenty of incentive to replay levels. So too does the challenge aspect, in which you earn hearts, weapons, and powers by completing goals outlined on a puzzle board. Powers also form part of Pit's arsenal. These range from support abilities like healing and a high jump, to offensive powers like meteor strikes and giant lasers. Each power has a corresponding shape, not unlike Tetris pieces, and you equip them for battle by placing them on a grid, which in itself is a fun spacial management minigame.
The versus multiplayer is playable either online or locally, and these ground-based modes let you take your hard-earned weapons and powers into battle, either in teams or in a free-for-all. Free-for-all features up to six players going head-to-head trying to kill one another. Play takes place across a variety of arena-based stages, providing a solid deathmatch experience, albeit one that won't capture your attention for too long.
Light vs. Dark, the team-based mode, is the more interesting of the two modes. Here, teams kill each other until one team's life gauge depletes, at which point the player who died last transforms into an angel, either Pit or his Dark counterpart. Then it's a case of protecting your angel while trying to deplete the other team's life gauge, to trigger its angel and defeat it. It's a simple mode, and the faster pace of the multiplayer combined with the ground controls means it lacks some of the finesse of the single-player campaign. It's an enjoyable way to show off your weapons and is good fun with friends, but the real meat of Uprising is in its single-player story mode.
When it hits its stride, Uprising is a huge amount of fun. Once you get over the initial control discomfort, there's a deep and satisfying shooter to be found here. There's still the occasional maneuverability foible, but once you get to grips with a control scheme that suits you, these are few and far between. It's one of the best-looking 3DS games to date, with some fantastic 3D visuals that are used particularly well to convey depth in the flight sequences. Endearing, enjoyable, and brimming with content, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a loving homage to Nintendo's heritage.