All Star Karate Review
All Star Karate box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: THQ 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: THQ 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 20, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Aside from mini-game compilations, the Wii has become quite well known for its growing library of fitness titles. From EA Sports Active to the ubiquitous Wii Fit, there are plenty of games for the Wii designed to help players get active. When I first picked up All Star Karate, I was expecting another title in this vein. A karate simulator on the Wii would certainly make sense, and I was hopeful that All Star Karate would be an interesting new take on the fitness genre. However, instead of teaching users real Karate basics or featuring some interesting mechanics, All Star Karate instead has nonsensical controls, a weak premise, and almost no real value to anyone.

All Star Karate screenshot

When you first start up the game, you are given a choice of how to control it. You can either use the Wii-mote and Nunchuck to control the game, or two Wii-motes (with optional Wii MotionPlus support.) If you do not have two Wii-motes, I do not recommend even attempting this game. The Nunchuk's motion controls are definitely not up to par in this title and do not respond at all. The Wii-mote controls are much more responsive, and you don't even really need the Wii MotionPlus. However, even though the controls work better when you use dual Wii-motes, the experience still isn't pleasant.

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Once you have selected your control scheme, you'll launch into an extremely brief tutorial mode. The controls are extremely simple. When a blue punch icon appears, waggle your right hand to punch. When a yellow punch icon appears, waggle your left hand to punch. To perform kicks, the same waggle rule applies, except you will have to hold the B button while waggling. The waggling controls do not even resemble anything like real karate, which pretty much shoots this title's credibility down right off the bat. I was instantly annoyed with the fact that in a karate game the mechanics involved no more than just Wii-mote shaking, as there was so much potential for this game to actually teach users real karate.

All Star Karate screenshot

Even if you can get past the annoyingly simple mechanics, I'm afraid there still isn't much to explore in All Star Karate. You'll play as either a male or female karate wannabe who gets attacked by random ninjas while walking to a movie theater. Fortunately, by using your natural karate waggle power, you attract the attention of a karate master who agrees to train you… for some reason. After you agree to training, you will learn new karate moves aside from just regular kicking and punching, and will even unlock the ability to use a wooden training stick.

The training stick missions are actually the most entertaining part of the game. When you are using the Wii MotionPlus, you can actually see the 1:1 movement of the stick, and it can be quite fun. However, if you were expecting a realistic fighting experience, you will be sorely mistaken. All you have to do is move your hands from side to side, and all the enemies will be defeated (or weapons deflected). There is no skill involved, and as long as the fighting stick on the screen is moving from side to side (like a windshield wiper), then you are winning.

All Star Karate screenshot

Screenshots / Images
All Star Karate screenshot - click to enlarge All Star Karate screenshot - click to enlarge All Star Karate screenshot - click to enlarge All Star Karate screenshot - click to enlarge

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