The story starts in feudal China “…or was it Japan? I always get those two mixed up”, where a warlord controlling a small village kidnaps a girl and takes her away as payment, as her grandfather has failed to pay tribute. The farmer boy nearby vows revenge, and as the warlord escapes on horseback the grandfather gives the farmer boy a headband, which he says will give him strength. It is then the quest of the farmer boy to make his way fighting enemies and trying to defeat the warlord when he catches up to him.
This simple storyline sets the scene for an action-packed 3DS game, as the player must jump, slide and punch their way to the checkpoint, avoiding projectiles and sumo wrestlers. The player can also choose to play the Infinite Fortress route, which has no storyline or checkpoints and has to run for as long as possible before dying. In both modes, if the player is hit, runs into an enemy or falls into fire then they die immediately and their progress resets to the last checkpoint (which can grow very irritating if you happen to die from the first enemy after the checkpoint, or just before you’ve cleared that area). This mechanic is quite similar to the Bit. Trip Runner game, where if you hit an obstacle you go back to the start of a level. Kung Fu FIGHT! also has three difficulty levels – Normal (“Pretty hard, actually”), Hard (“Yep, quite hard”) and Brutal (“Good Luck!”), which gives the player some choice on how intense the game will become.
One of the points I like about this game, is that when you die the order of the enemies you face changes, so instead of memorising the order you have to deal with them in, you have to figure out and memorise how to deal with each specific enemy type. Some just require the main character to leap over them (such as crates or vases), but some require more thought (speedy dark ninjas can throw multiple throwing stars, so attacking whilst sliding may be your best shot). The art style of the game is a simple 8-bit style, and the scenery “… would be peaceful, if everyone wasn’t trying to kill me!” The game gives you occasional tips on how to deal with enemies (and the main menu has basic instructions for if you forget how to play), but these become very few and far-between near the end of the story. However, the player can unlock 15 awards through the game play, and the game is quite entertaining thanks to the dash of humour provided by the unnamed main character. You can even play through the credits (similar to the credits mini game in Super Smash Bros. 3DS).
On the other hand, I was surprised by how short the story mode was on Normal mode, as there are only two boss battles with the warlord, as I expected at least one more before finally saving the girl from the warlord’s clutches. Some of the projectiles like the shurikens are a bit small on the screen, so they could be hard to see by people who are visually impaired. There isn’t a pause button either, which means that the game basically demands the focus of the player or else they will ultimately die at the hands of the enemy, usually a table or crate. No multi-player mode means you can’t compete against your friends in any way as well. The game doesn’t have any 3D elements, but this may be to keep with the old-school, arcade theme of the game (although the lack of power-ups in the game play was slightly disappointing too).
Overall, Kung Fu FIGHT! is a fun fighting game that is perfect for killing time and honing hand-eye coordination, and despite some of the projectiles being “A waste of good sake!”, Kung Fu FIGHT! is not a waste of £1.99 on the Nintendo eShop and only takes up 267 blocks of memory space on your system, so the player gets quite a lot of content for what they pay for.
I would give Kung Fu FIGHT! a 7/10 for giving the player so much out of a simple idea, as big things can sometimes come from small packages, and provides a dose of nostalgia (even for those of us who weren’t alive when arcade games first became popular).
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