Posted on August 10, 2012 AT 03:20pm
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise is a fast paced, high intensity, skill based brawler made by QOOC that will kick your ass repeatedly in just about every single level. In less than an hour it made me think I was going to break my keyboard as I frantically mashed the J, K, and L keys trying to avoid being murdered by a rebel swordsman. Several hours later my keyboard is still miraculously alive though the ‘K’ key is a little loose and I have just enjoyed far too many hours of over the top kung-fu action that sent bodies flying all over the place in a way that is oh so satisfying.
You play as General Loh, a badass general of the empire who gets wrapped up in a story that you generally won’t notice or care about for more than a few seconds. I’m not being cheeky here; this isn’t a game you are going to play for the riveting story. What’s given to you story wise is a quick little dialogue sequence at the start of every level with several impressive Chinese ink drawn paintings depicting the scene before you are dropped into the action. For those who just want to beat on people despite the pretty pictures you can turn the cutscenes off.
One of the things I like about Kung Fu Strike is the more hand drawn calligraphy style it has. Even with everything happening on the screen during a fight, the game and its animations always look clean. The backgrounds and arenas are done in the same style, making it a good looking game overall. Despite the fact that the game is nice to look at, if you are staring at the pretty backgrounds you are playing this game wrong and you’re probably dead.
Okay, boring stuff is done, now for the ass kicking.
Kung Fu Strike is a fast paced and skill intensive brawler that will repeatedly kick your ass across its 28 stages no matter what difficulty level you are on. You control Loh using the WASD keys to move and then fight using the J,K, L, and space key for the regular attack, jump attack, dodge, and block respectively. The regular attack you can hold down and use to beat the crap out of your opponent in a free form set of moves. The jump attack does exactly what it says, it makes you jump in the air and kick someone in the head, repeatedly if need be. Dodging does exactly what it sounds like and blocking is rather self explanatory except with the one difference that you need to time the blocks to deflect attacks. The last weapon you have at your disposal is a chi attack that does massive amounts of damage. You can unlock different variations of Chi attacks as you play through the levels, causing varying effects on those foolish enough to attack you.
The controls work surprisingly well on the keyboard though there are some times when you will wish you are playing on a game pad so you can have the full range of movement. Another problem is that the camera can be a bit wonky at times, not allowing you to figure out which way you should dodge or when you should block because an enemy is approaching at a bad angle, thankfully this only happens on rare occasions. Despite those minor gripes, the controls work well together and make smashing your opponent across the room very satisfying especially in the later levels were your enemies require more thought to beat.
Starting up the game will give you plenty of mooks to send flying in a variety of ways as you try out the controls. These first few levels are fairly easy as long as you pay attention to your surroundings and learn to block, making it more of a series of relaxing levels. While the first three levels are along the lines of a relaxing stroll when it comes to difficulty, that soon changes once you reach the first of many boss stages at level four. Here you fight atop the temple roof against that rebel swordsman I mentioned earlier. In this battle you will face your first real challenge of the game, one that shows you exactly the kind of game Kung Fu Strike is. A brawler that makes you constantly keep your eyes on your opponent, watch for tells to notice when and how they will attack, learn attack timings, and most importantly, learn to recognize patterns. While most of the basic enemies are not going to kill you unless you stop paying attention, the bosses will exploit every flaw you have with their own different mechanics, attacks, and gameplay styles.
They will kill you. They will kill you a lot. This isn’t due to any kind of unfair difficulty on the games part, you just simply haven’t learned its tricks fast enough to not die. But that time when you manage to figure out their patterns and beat them down until they can’t get up again, you will feel exhilarated. The core of this game is the fighting and Kung Fu Strike does that extremely well.
On top of all that, there is an extensive upgrade system in the game that you can use to make your already powerful general even more badass. The standard things are in the shop such as more health and chi bars to help you survive, but you can also buy new moves and chi attacks depending on the style you want to go with. You also have access to an items section which changes certain characteristics of Loh, giving him resistance to projectiles, extra guard break damage, and projectile deflection.
Lastly, there is a co-op element to the game, allowing you and a friend to play through all the levels together; if either of you dies though its game over. Unfortunately, there is only local play which means you need to have a game pad for this to be playable as the second player controls on the keyboard is the numpad. While it is playable with one person on a gamepad and the other on the keyboard, it’s not exactly a good setup.
All in all, Kung Fu Strike The Warrior’s Rise is one incredibly fun and tough brawler. While it doesn’t have the attention to detail and vast amount of features that a AAA game like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry has, fans of this genre would definitely lose out if they missed playing this game. A wonky camera and Being priced at only $10, there really isn’t any reason not to pick up this game for the hours of over the top kung fu fights it will give you.
The Good: Over the top and satisfying kung-fu action, attractive art style, and fair difficulty
The Bad: Wonky camera and the controls are better suited to the Xbox
The Ugly: The rage you will feel after dying to a boss for the Nth time
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