|System: PS3 (MOVE)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Japan Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Spet. 7, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
There have been a lot of really bizarre games released on consoles over the years. But even against such amazingly bizarre competition as the WiiWare title Muscle March, Kung Fu Rider could very well make a great case for weirdest game of 2010. The game is centered around a Japanese salary man and a borderline scantily clad young female coworker who, for mostly unexplained reasons, need to escape the Japanese mafia.
How does he do this? Why, by riding down hilly streets on his office chair while karate kicking his way through construction sites and Yakuza attacks...naturally. There's nothing ordinary about Kung Fu Rider's plot, but you may recognize some of the gameplay. It's got the Japanese arcade feeling of Crazy Taxi mixed with the gameplay of something like Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam.
Every level begins with one of two heroes fleeing the Yakuza, before coming to a stop huffing and puffing. Exasperated they'll notice an office chair, or a dolly of some kind, on top of a tall hill and exclaim, perfect! From there they hop on and it's up to you to control the wild ride to the bottom.
In terms of depth of gameplay, Kung Fu Rider doesn't even come close to stacking up to other modern games. The scenario I just described in the last paragraph is essentially as deep as the gameplay gets. Yet it's has an undeniable charisma about it. It's got a level of personality that most games never touch.
The graphics are colorful, and though they're not as detailed as something made with Unreal Engine 3 might be, everything still pops with personality and clarity. Everything from the levels to the characters look good and are well animated. The wild facial expressions on the game's two main characters for instance are often funny in a slapstick kind of way.
The sound design is...well, it's a mixed bag of quality. When the game turns on, every time you move past a screen by pressing a button, a supremely loud and obnoxious karate yell rings out of the speakers. Yet, when you finally reach the main menu, you're greeted by an awesome song that fuses hip hop with Chinese classical music. This theme is perpetuated throughout the game. Everything is just awful or really fun.
But unfortunately, that's about where the good news stops for Kung Fu Rider. To me this game seems like a tech demo that was designed in a few days, programmed in a few months, and then (to the surprise of the developers) pushed onto the Move launch line up. It just doesn't seem like it was ever intended to be a full game. As a simple driving/extreme sports game, Kung Fu Rider has some fun moments, but its when you try to play it for more than fifteen minutes that the game starts to fall apart.
That's why I think it wasn't intended to be a full game. It's quite well designed for a tech demo. As a game though, most buyers will be left wanting more from their $40. Kung Fu Rider is destined to be the sort of game that you constantly pull out for a ten-minute spin around the streets of Tokyo. Shortly afterward though you'll completely forget about it. This is in stark contrast to another high quality motion control game that launched with the PlayStation Move, Sports Champions. Whereas that game is compelling in long term, short term, and party settings, Kung Fu Rider is really only a competent game in short, single player sessions.