|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|
But the most damning factor about Kung Fu Rider is that you never really get any better than the first time you pick up the controller. That's not to say that the controls are so intuitive that you will grasp them perfectly the first time you pick up the controller. Quite the opposite, actually. The controls are never intuitive. Even after a dozen or so races I was still struggling to remember how to do certain maneuvers.
It's not just about control complexity though. The fact is, there's just not a satisfying skill curve to Kung Fu Rider. The game doesn't challenge you to get better in order to progress, one of the time-honored, signature satisfactions of playing a video game. The game doesn't challenge you to get better, because there isn't much room to get better. Each level is just about as difficult as the last. Sure, some of them will put more obstacles in your path or more Yakuza enemies to kung-fuicize, but all that tests is your ability to memorize the controls.
Kung Fu Rider has tons of moxy, and je ne sais quois, but it's so tragically short on depth that you wont be able to enjoy any of it for very long. The game is clearly going for the feeling of classic arcade style games like Crazy Taxi and SSX, but it never even comes close to reaching that level of fun. That's due mostly to the fact that the developer never takes the reins off. The game is always too slow to inspire the edge-of-your-seat, just-barely-out-of-control sensation for which those other games are famous.
Turning around a corner occurs at a snails pace, and even a so-called drift slows you down to a crawl. For a game about surfing down steep asphalt on an office chair, you never feel out of control. As a result, the entire game lacks the visceral intensity that it so desperately needed. It could have been a motion-controlled Burnout, but instead it simply bores.
Kung Fu Rider is a hard game to recommend. Those who are itching for unique experiences to try out with their new motion controls may want to give it a spin. The controls are responsive enough that it will give you a feel for how future games might take advantage of the technology. Other than that, there probably aren't many people that will get much out of this game.
The slapstick sense of humor and heaping doses of personality make this pill a lot easier to swallow, but it wont be very long at all before you realize that the experience isn't going anywhere. The gameplay doesn't evolve, and the game you play when you first turn on the system is the exact same as it is ten hours later (not that you'll be playing that long anyway.)
CCC Freelance Writer