We haven’t seen a new Kid Icarus game since Masahiro Sakurai and his team released Kid Icarus: Uprising in 2012. The game received mixed reviews at the time, but the overall reception was pretty good.
Like most games Sakurai works on, Uprising had a ton of unique gameplay mechanics to make it truly stand out. It also featured Sakurai’s trademark: menus that look like garbage.
Menus aside, Uprising is one of the best games on the Nintendo 3DS. So I think we’re due for a sequel on the Nintendo Switch.
But what would Kid Icarus look like on the Switch? I’m glad you asked. Before we get into that, let’s look at which things from Uprising we would want to keep in a sequel.
Kid Icarus: Uprising’s strengths
Kid Icarus: Uprising breathed new life into the world of Kid Icarus that we had never seen before. All of the characters had likable and hilarious personalities, the story was cohesive with a few plot twists along the way, and the game broke the fourth wall a hundred times to the delight of many fans.
This would not be possible without the direction of Masahiro Sakurai. In my opinion, any follow up to Uprising needs to feature a similar tone and direction with Sakurai at the helm. Obviously, Sakurai is busy with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s remaining DLC fighters, but nobody knows what he’ll be working on after that.
As a handheld game, Uprising featured a mission structure. This divided the game into chapters, which was perfect for handheld entertainment. Since the Switch is also portable, I think the successor should also be broken down into missions. A game like Kid Icarus should be perfectly fine being a shorter game instead of a 50-100-hour journey.
Another thing Uprising nailed was the on-rail shooting segments. The various locations and enemy types you dealt with in the game kept the flying segments from ever feeling stale. This is a perfect example of what Kid Icarus should be, and it obviously has to stay in the sequel.
Uprising also had a ton of weapon variety to spice up gameplay. There were so many ways to change up how you played the game, and this is a must to keep a mission-structured game fresh.
There were a plethora of great things happening in Uprising. Now that we know what to keep in the new game, let’s start to lay the foundations of what could make it stand out.
Building the sequel
While the flying gameplay in Uprising was outstanding, I think a number of people will agree that the ground combat could use some work. So while I don’t want them to touch the flying segments, the developers need to make some changes to everything else.
The ground segments this time around will need to have better combat and exploration. While Pit can have projectiles to shoot on the ground, his main focus needs to be melee.
They can do this by introducing a handful of new moves for Pit to use: a friendlier dodge mechanic, different combo moves and finishers to pull off, and a skill tree that lets you upgrade Pit’s move set as the game goes on.
Isn’t this just a standard hack-and-slash action game now? Yes, that’s the basic concept. But I think this is the direction the ground segments need to go in to provide a wider variety of gameplay.
The game could keep the same weapon variety on the ground, letting the player choose what kind of play style they like best. Do you want to swing tinier weapons around for low damage but fast-hitting combos? Do you want a stave for wider reach but slower movement?
All of the weapons could feature projectile magic as well. Let the player lock on to enemies and shoot at them from afar. On the ground, projectiles have a cooldown time, so you would want to balance between keeping your distance and fighting up close.
This is a perfect opportunity to make Pit more agile in ways he wasn’t the first time. By having the ground sections focus more on melee combat, they can also give Pit more free range in his movement. This will allow the developers to create tougher platforming segments to hide secret treasures and other surprises. Remember that Kid Icarus started as a platformer, and platforming mechanics were next to nonexistent in Uprising.
The game could also feature a skill tree that lets Pit upgrade his attacks and movement, allowing him to string together longer combos or get a higher jump to reach things better.
While we’re on the topic of movement, it would be awesome to see Pit have a glide mechanic as well. I know Palutena helps Pit take flight, but he could at least spread his wings to glide around to get to harder-to-reach areas.
It also wouldn’t hurt to mix up the variety of the missions. Uprising always had a formula of fly first, land on the ground second, and finish with the boss. While this isn’t bad, predictability can kill the enjoyment of a game.
Mix it up sometimes. Let’s have entire missions dedicated to flying or ground segments. Let’s start on the ground and take flight later to fight a giant boss in the sky. It doesn’t have to be a huge shakeup — just make it less predictable.
So we now have a solid foundation for a game: a character-driven action game with on-rail shooting segments. This sounds great so far, but what would make it unique to the Switch?
Kid Icarus makes the Switch
There are so many features a Kid Icarus game could take advantage of. The obvious thought in my head is character quips related to your preferred method of play. The game could take subtle jabs at you for playing docked instead of handheld.
It could also use some playful gimmicks with the HD rumble. Imagine Pit saying he hears something weird and the Joy-Con start rumbling wildly. The rest of the characters make fun of him for hearing things, but you know the awful noise is coming from your Joy-Con that are now going insane.
The game could even comment on the color of Joy-Con you prefer to use as the system can detect this. For example, Pit’s weapons could change to a neon pink and green, which he could then comment on saying they’re his favorite colors. All of these self-aware quips are totally feasible in a Kid Icarus game.
Another thing the Switch could bring to the table is motion controls. I know some gamers get on the hate train when it comes to motion controls, but they work really well for aiming. So as an optional control method, motion controls could be used for the sky segments. Players could also use traditional dual sticks, or they could use touchscreen aiming like in Uprising.
On top of this, Nintendo could make use of the Labo VR Kit and make some unique shooting levels specifically for VR. Using the headset in conjunction with motion controls, you could really feel like you’re soaring up in the clouds and fighting monsters.
So what’s the likelihood of any of this actually happening? Well, unfortunately, the outlook isn’t so great.
While Kid Icarus: Uprising was a hit with fans, Masahiro Sakurai was quick to dismiss any possibility of a sequel. Just a few months after release, Sakurai said he didn’t want to return to Kid Icarus since he felt the novelty of the game would “wear thin” in time for a second game. Sakurai also added that “perhaps we’ll see someone else besides me make another Kid Icarus in another 25 years.”
However, this quote was from 2012. How does Sakurai feel about the franchise now? Well, nothing seems to have changed, unfortunately. Sakurai now reflects on Uprising as “close to becoming the most difficult project in my entire career.”
So, unfortunately, that means a game like this already loses a major piece of the puzzle. However, this doesn’t mean Nintendo is done with Kid Icarus or this style of game. While Sakurai may not return, I believe the type of Kid Icarus game I imagined can be a reality one day.
What do you all think? What would you like to see in a potential new Kid Icarus game? Let us know in the comments below!