Sorry to keep you waiting! The fight is on!
Following the E3 2010 trailer, there seemed to be a general consensus that Pit's triumphant return was going to be a lot like Sin & Punishment. It turns out that assumption was right on the money, especially if the demo at Nintendo's 3DS event is any indicator.
Kid Icarus: Uprising uses the DS first-person shooter-style controls that people either hate, love, or love to hate. You use the Circle Pad to move Pit around the screen, the touch screen to aim, and the L button to fire. If you hold the L button, you'll rapid fire, but if you let it charge, you can do a bigger one-time blast.
Due to the placement of the Circle Pad, there is no left-handed option, which is important for me since I'm a lefty. However, it actually wasn't too bad, primarily because the touch screen control didn't have to be precise. There are certain games where the Circle Pad placement will be an issue, but Kid Icarus: Uprising won't be one of them, at least for me.
The game is split up into two styles: air and ground. The air segments are extremely reminscent of Sin & Punishment. The level scrolls forward automatically, and you move around the screen firing off projectiles to fight enemies. It's frenetic and fast-paced, with pretty graphics and nice landscapes.
The ground segments seem to be where more of the game's depth should come from, but that wasn't present in the demo. It controls similarly to the air segment, but now Pit walks on the ground, and he can dodge by "smashing" (like in Super Smash Bros.) the Circle Pad left or right. You move around at your own pace, dispatching enemies and making progress through the level.
As James Charlton said in his impressions, the turning while on ground is super slow and very frustrating. To turn, the game instructs you to quickly move the stylus to the left or right on the touch screen. This never really responded properly for me, and I almost always turned slowly, allowing enemies to attack me mercilessly. It reminded me of the rolling in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, as in it might make sense on paper, but it is a difficult gesture to execute in practice.
I fought some spectacular bosses at the end of the two demo levels, including a two-headed Cerberus-esque dog. They were visually stunning, in line with the rest of the game, which, by the way, was probably the best-looking game at the event, but they lacked substance. You just shot and dodged one of their three different attacks.
From what I heard, the music was good and inspired by the original game's soundtrack. There was also a ton of voice work for Pit and Palutena during the levels. Is Pit's voice annoying? Yes, but the cheesiness of some of his lines is funny. I personally like the fact that he repeats some of his taunts from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There was also a funny reference to the fact that Medusa was defeated 24 years ago, which is how long it has been since Kid Icarus was released in North America.
The representative told me that later levels of the game will contain puzzles and more involved level layouts, but the two demo levels did not show any of that off. I remain cautiously optimistic that this game will turn out well, chiefly due to the development team and the fact it's at least several months away from launch.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is a 2011 release, though there is no specific range other than not launch window.