|Dev: Virtual Air Guitar Company|
|Pub: Virtual Air Guitar Company|
|Release: December 7, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-720p|
by Andrew Groen
To put it simply, Kung Fu Live is one of the best Kinect games yet released. But wait. This isn't an Xbox 360 game! Kung Fu Live is a PS3 exclusive that uses the Move camera to simulate your actions in-game without the use of the Move controller. The game certainly has its fair share of problems, but for the price, it's one of the most purely fun action games you'll find using motion control systems.
Most of the fun comes from the pure novelty of the entire system. Whether they admit it or not, PS3 owners were probably at least a little bit jealous about the advanced technology Kinect players had to experiment with, but if Kung Fu Live is any indication, then they have nothing to be jealous about. I was already enjoying Move games quite a bit more than Kinect's initial crop, but Kung Fu Live threatens to beat Kinect at its own game.
Kung Fu Live is essentially a pretty dumb fighting action game. With a twist. You use the Move camera to control the on-screen character. And I don't mean "swing your arm to activate the character's punch animation." I mean, you are literally the character on-screen, and your attacks harm the enemies. If you throw a hook, that will hurt them. Jump kick. Roundhouse kick. Anything you do will be shown on screen and will do damage to enemies.
Kung Fu Live immediately stands out from the pack because you are the character in the game. Not in a figurative sense, either. Your camera image is the person in the game. The camera merely watches what you do, then displays your actions in real-time on the screen, calculating things like the velocity of your punch to count damage.
It's almost too good to be true, and it sort of is. At the surface level though, all you need to know is that this game is really pretty neat. The technology is pretty much unlike anything we've ever seen before. There are some catches though. First, the camera technology isn't very good, and you don't have to look very far to find inadequacies. For instance, if your pants match the couch behind you, or the wall, or anything in the background, there's a good chance the camera won't pick you up if you're standing near it. I have a dark-colored couch so I was pretty much unable to play with pants on during my review experience.
Oddly, that's not such a bad thing. OK, so if you want to get technical, that is a huge (and I mean huge) knock against Kung Fu Live. You can't play with clothes on? Absurd. But there are two reasons why I was able to accept this: 1) I was shedding clothing two minutes into the game anyway (exercise), and 2) being in your underwear only lends to the absurdity of the storyline.
Why does it lend to the zany storyline? Well, because before each chapter, Kung Fu Live asks you to pose in front of the screen while it takes your picture. You can either use their pose, or make one of your own. Your picture will then show up in the cutscenes as part of the action. You're the slacker stock boy at the local Chinatown comic book shop.