There's no bigger red flag than a game based on a movie. However, Kung Fury seems like the sort of flick that could stand up well in the gaming universe, so let's slip on our fingerless gloves and see if this brawler has what it takes to be a true survivor.
As soon as you start Kung Fury: Street Rage you'll see that it desperately wants to take you back to the '80s. The 16-bit visuals are dark and grainy and fed through a filter that makes everything look like it's coming from an old CRT television. It's a nice touch, but it would have been cool to have the option to see things more clearly. Although inauthentic when it comes to retro games, the music that accompanies your battles is a great representation of '80s action films complete with synthesizers and electric guitars. The sound effects as you and your opponents exchange blows are very satisfying and stand out as the most prominent part of the presentation. Overall, it does a decent job of turning back the clock although the lack of visual options and chiptunes are missed opportunities.
You control Kung Fury by using two buttons to fend off oncoming attackers. One button attacks to the right and the other attacks left. It's incredibly simple to learn. The key to success is to time when to unleash each attack and know how to overcome the unique enemies effectively. Since there are only a handful of enemy types that get introduced through the course of the game, you won't find it difficult to remember how to beat them. At first, enemies fall by only striking them once but stronger enemies eventually emerge that take multiple hits to dispatch. One enemy requires you to attack in a pattern of left and right blows because they'll easily evade your attacks. Unfortunately, that's as complicated as it gets. On the plus side, watching Kung Fury as he attacks is great fun since you never know what he'll do next. Sometimes he pulls out a gun or a taser while other times enemies explode by his fist's mighty impact.
If you've ever played One Finger Death Punch then you're probably thinking that this sounds very familiar and you'd be correct. However, that game does a much better job of keeping things exciting. If you're going to copy from an existing game then why not do it in an ambitious way instead of just imitating its basics and leaving it at that? The disappointment only grows as you play since you basically do the same thing repeatedly while hoping to get a higher score than last time and the absence of leaderboards might make you feel like your efforts are worthless whether you're a kung-fu master or not. This complete lack of content is surely Kung Fury's biggest downside. Why couldn't they add a few different stages, modes, or characters? It really is the epitome of a bare-bones game.
After playing for a while and mastering how to get a fairly good score, you'll frequently find it frustrating when you get hit. This is because it's difficult to gauge danger when there are too many enemies on screen at once. You can focus and push the correct button combinations to successfully attack a multitude of consecutive foes, but one can hit you without any apparent rhyme or reason to it. Some folks report that pausing the game at a specific time to exploit the combat system helps to achieve ridiculously high scores, but if that's what this game devolves to, then how pathetic is that? I want to be able to let my skills speak for themselves, not be unfairly punished or resort to cheating. All this results in is unsatisfying and repetitive gameplay.
It's hard to say who Kung Fury: Street Rage would appeal to. There are countless better games for beat 'em up fans, nostalgic '80s aficionados, and kung-fu enthusiasts so ultimately, why would anyone bother with this game?
- + Simple controls make it easy to play
- + Watching all the ways Kung Fury takes out his enemies can be rather amusing
- - A poor man's One Finger Death Punch
- - No content besides playing the same thing over and over again to get high scores
- - Hard to gauge danger during hectic times