DreamWorks has produced some quality films over the years, with Kung Fu Panda being one of the more successful series. DreamWorks has certainly milked the franchise for all its worth and has had multiple games, a TV series and a third film on the way. Now when I say that this game is basically Super Smash Brothers I’m not joking. It looks just like it and plays in a very similar way. That’s great for fans of the series and characters, but does the game actually stack up?
The story is about a Panda called Po (Jack Black), and his journey of becoming a warrior has been the main theme in the films. Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends doesn’t really have much of a story and is more of a showcase of the wide variety of characters. Choose from a variety of the series’ characters including Po, Tigress, Master Shifu and even Tai Lung as they kung fu-fight in iconic locations throughout the Valley of Peace. Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends features multiplayer and online battles. Each fighter has their own versions of attacks to unleash. Every location features destructive elements and hazards.
The game is basically a clone of Super Smash Bros, but that’s not really a bad thing as the gameplay is actually pretty fun. In the game you choose from 20 different characters, and features 12 stages. The stages are loosely based on locations featured in the films and have unique elements and hazards. Along with the already playable 20 fighters, there is also going to be DLC which will offer more characters from the upcoming movie. The game prominently features tilts, double jumps, edge guarding, shield blocking and rolling, and so on. You can queue up standard attacks or a directional, which is reminiscent of Smash Brothers.
The objective in combat isn’t to deplete health bars for each enemy fighter, but to attack them and force down their percentage for each character, which starts at 100% but can be reduced to 0% over time. The key to this is to get their percentage down as it means they will fly further when they get hit. Therefore, making it easier to knock them from the stage and get a KO. I actually really enjoyed the gameplay mechanics, although obviously a complete copy, and thought that it was easily accessible. The familiar mechanics like dodges, grabs, temporary shields, taunts, and the ability to combine double jumps with the upper special move offered a nice variety of options in terms of gameplay.
There are also a range of power ups in the game, and who doesn’t love power ups! There are weapons, status boosters, food, and many others. There’s also Smash‘s assist trophies gameplay feature here, but it feels a bit tacked on. It was surprising and nice to see such a wide choice of characters to play as and they all control pretty well. They all have varied and unique moves that keep the gameplay fresh. As I said they have Awesome Attacks, and these directly reference some of their trademark moves or actions from the films. The gameplay isn’t quite as tight as Smash Bros, but it’s certainly not bad and if you are a fan of the characters or franchise then this is a decent game.
Single-player modes are limited to either versus matches against AI characters or the Tournament mode, which puts players up against ten rounds of fights with various conditions and obstacles. There are various modes that can be played including coin mode, a mode where you have to hold onto the crown for the longest, and territorial mode. Unfortunately, there’s no collectables in the game or any unlockable characters or levels. This is a shame as it could have offered more replayability.
The overall presentation and design of the game is pleasing, with a range of locations and decent characters to choose from. I really enjoyed the colourful and cartoon like design and I enjoyed experimenting with the character’s different attacks. The hit detection and framerate are off at times, especially when there’s four players on-screen causing all kinds of havoc. This is particularly an issue with special abilities from certain characters. The soundtrack stays true to the films and suits the gameplay well. Characters are voice well and add another layer of depth to the game, although not all of the original cast voice the characters.
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends is a lot better than I expected it to be, but it still doesn’t offer quite as much depth or polish as Smash Brothers. It’s a game that has so obviously copied and pasted many aspects of Smash Brothers, and then applies its own characters and locations. It may have copied many aspects, but it’s actually surprising good fun. For a fighter game it doesn’t offer much depth and the controls aren’t quite as tight as other games, but it’s still great fun If you’re a fan of the films or characters you will enjoy this game. It will also be nice to see what the DLC brings. If you want something that’s easy to pick up or play with friends, this is a decent game that’s worth checking out.
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