Believe it or not, Kinect is still a thing and Kung-Fu has been Live on PlayStation 3, had a High Impact on Xbox 360, and now it's kicking it up a notch on Xbox One. But, is it worth getting off the couch for a third time?
Playing Kung-Fu for Kinect is as simple as waving your arms in the air. You basically punch and kick either left or right in order to move and attack in that direction. Enemies will bombard you in each 2D stage and it's your job to fend them off before they get the best of you. Thankfully, you learn a few extra moves as you progress such as a double-punch that sends you dashing into enemies, lightning that'll electrify anyone in your path, a ground pound that sends shivers up foes' spines, and a pose that'll freeze everyone in their boots. On top of these moves, you earn points that level up certain attacks and base stats. It'll take a while to finally get your black belt but you didn't think it would be easy, did you? The campaign's handful of tough bosses will definitely put you in your place if you thought that.
Between stages, you're prompted to pose in certain positions. Then, you're treated to a humorous comic book story sequence that you star in. Watching these unfold is a ton of fun. On a visual level, Kung-Fu for Kinect is really nothing special. The enemies are generic and unmemorable and the same can be said about the environments. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't look bad but it could use a lot more polish and flair. The music is enjoyable complete with stereotypical Kung-Fu vibes and orchestral pieces while sound effects make the impact of every connecting blow satisfying. Also, the voices during the story scenes are well done as they provide even more levity to the equation. Overall, you don't get much to admire in-game but starring in your own comic book sure is delightful.
On top of the campaign that's filled with over a dozen stages, there are a bunch of challenges to master. These include a Kung-Fu Club where you battle enemies one on one, time trials that see how many enemies you can defeat, hide-and-go-seek, survival both with and without the ability to attack, a nifty archery mode where you shoot arrows at bad guys, and a mode where you can film your own finishing moves. These inclusions add a great deal of variety and replay value for those looking to master virtual Kung-Fu.
Now that you know how to play and what's included, it's time to discuss where it all goes wrong. First, the one-note gameplay not only gets physically tiring after a short while, it's also very repetitive and becomes downright boring. Some stages require you to fight the same enemies for way too long, so you look forward to the next stage but then it's just more of the same. Also, although regular punches and kicks register just fine, some moves can be tricky to pull off. My wife and I took turns playing and we both encountered the same problem. We'd either do special moves unexpectedly or be unable to no matter how hard we tried. It gets irritating fast.
Finally, you can select the difficulty yet I found normal to be too hard quite early on. Therefore, I switched to easy and breezed through the rest of the campaign. Why can't there be a setting that provides a decent challenge without being too difficult?
Kung-Fu for Kinect is a silly game. If you want to star in your own comic book then you'll have a laugh or two but if you're looking for the next must-have Kinect title then you're better off using a controller until something more worthwhile arrives in the Marketplace.
- + Simple gameplay that anyone can learn
- + Starring in your own comic book story sequences is quite silly and fun
- + Extra challenge modes add replay value
- - One-note gameplay gets boring very fast
- - Certain special moves don't always register when you expect them to
- - Normal's too hard and easy's too easy