|Dev: Virtual Air Guitar Company|
|Pub: Virtual Air Guitar Company|
|Release: December 7, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-720p|
The one thing that I really had a problem with – even while I was totally cool about having to de-pants myself – was the absolutely rampant stereotypes and borderline racism. "Hit enemy many time for combo!" the narrator says in a ridiculous stereotype of a Chinese accent. Is it wrong? Well, I personally found it distracting, but your own sensitivity to such matters will ultimately be what matters most. It's not at the level where I'd consider it objectively wrong, but it's still probably in bad taste.
I should say, the game portion of it is often a complete disaster, but I still couldn't help myself. I was having a ton of fun, and the controls were responsive enough that I didn't care about the occasional oddity. If the game was just about punching wildly at the screen, it probably wouldn't have been too much fun. But luckily, there is a superpower system that allows you to use awesome high-powered moves. Quickly thrust your arms across the screen and your avatar will flash across the screen with a high-powered kick or punch that crosses long distances. Or you could raise both arms to the sky, which will call down the powers of lightning.
Much of this game seems to have been influenced by 16-bit Mortal Kombat games from the 90s. The graphical style vaguely resembles it, and it's hard not to draw parallels between your on-screen representation and old Mortal Kombat characters. If you played those games back in the old days you'll find it impossible not to act out old animations and stances.
There is so much wrong with Kung Fu Live. It's a technical disaster, you often aren't allowed to play with pants on, and to top it off, it may even be a little bit racist. However, there's just so much fun to be had during the moments that it works that I'm still willing to offer a recommendation. Watching yourself flip around the screen and call down lightning strikes is just too much fun to pass up.
Fifteen dollars is a little steep for this game considering the many technical failings, but you're still likely to have a lot of fun, especially if you've got young kinds to play with. Energetic young ones will have plenty of fun jumping around and beating up on virtual bad guys. Just make sure you do your stretches and have plenty of water nearby. Kung Fu Live will push you to the brink of exhaustion after a couple levels.
Kung Fu Live's problems will try to trip you up, but if you go in with an open mind, you'll have a lot of fun with this zany product. It's worth trying simply for the fact that a game like this hasn't really ever been made before. It's an enticing example of where the beat-em-up genre could go in the future. Let's just hope it's on Kinect next time instead of the far less capable Move system. With some enhanced technology, this proof-of-concept could really take off.
CCC Freelance Writer