Kung Fu Rider PS3 Review
Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Sony Computer Entertainment Japan – Genre – Action – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 16+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A
The PlayStation Move launched with what is seemingly mandatory software for motion gaming, a sports game compilation and a mini game collection. Kung Fu Rider also launched alongside Sony’s new motion controller, but it’s less of an obvious choice to be a part of the launch line-up and, despite being set in China, is actually very Japanese in flavour.
When I say it’s very Japanese in flavour, I mean just that. We all know that Japanese games developers are a bunch of eccentrics and Kung Fu Rider is as crazy of an idea as you could possibly get. Tobin is a private eye and Karin is his long-legged secretary, both are being pursued by the Chinese Triads and make their escape by riding down hills on office chairs and other unusual methods of transport. Well, I did tell you that the game was a bit of an oddball.
You probably already realised that to navigate the chaotic streets of Hong Kong you’ll need a Move in your hand. Now, I’ll say it right now the controls aren’t perfect, but I don’t really see how they could be called completely broke – in in most situations they’re up to the task. To accelerate you pump the controller up and down, to jump you raise it upwards, sharp turns happen when you swing the controller in the direction you want to go, a roundhouse kick and grinding is performed with the move button, and the T button has your character lying backwards, which is helpful for ducking underneath obstacles. There’s also some advanced actions to bolster your attacks, although you’ll only really need them if you’re looking for big scores and/or some added variety. Problems? Turning does sometimes seem a little trickier than it should be and boosting, done so by thrusting the controller towards the PlayStation Eye camera, doesn’t always work, although tinkering with the sensitivity settings improved things immensely in my experience.
There are over 20 levels in all and they basically have you soaring down hills at frightening speeds, avoiding obstacles in your path and reaching the sanctuary of your mobile office at the end of the stage. Besides the Chinese Mafia, there’s traffic to avoid, jumps to be made, ladders to duck under and more, while falling off your vehicle will result in some rather hilarious slow motion physics and cartoon facial expressions. Indeed, it’s a really crazy game, but, with it, it definitely has a certain level of charm.
Unfortunately levels repeat themselves too often, stages don’t last very long, and there’s not really that many different areas to speak of. Because of all this, Kung Fu Rider can be polished off in less than a couple of hours, although it’s unlikely that you’ll have all the S ranks. If you like the game enough you may want to return and perfect your runs by getting lots of points, completing stages quicker and finding the different routes, and there’s online leaderboards to aim towards with your scores. There’s also a multiplayer mode, but it just involves another player helping out by picking up missed cash and throwing objects at enemies, it’s fun but, like the rest of the game, it’s a shame there’s not a little bit more to it.
When all is said and done it’s ultimately just not enough – the game feels like a half finished product that would have been better suited to being a PlayStation Network download rather than the full boxed release (with an RRP of £29.99) that it is. Kung Fu Rider is a lot of fun at times, although the repetitive stages and the lack of content really lets it down.