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Review – Kung Fu Live

Posted by on April 15th, 2011 | 0 Comments | Tags:

The problem with games that use the human body as a control input is that the human body is almost completely useless. We flail around, knock over things with our arms, and generally make a mess of things. Now, imagine a game designed entirely around the premise of using the body as a weapon. Quite the terrifying prospect, isn’t it? Kung Fu Like is a game about doing exactly that.

The set up process for Kung Fu Live is relatively painless, with the game requiring a scan of the background of whatever room you’re standing in. The process doesn’t take particularly long, but if you want to truly look like you’re in the game, you’re going to have to do some serious tweaking. I spent upwards of half an hour setting up my image to look exactly right, and I didn’t particularly enjoy repeating the same process every time I turned on the game. It was somewhat of a chore, and by the time I was actually able to play a level, I was already tired of the whole thing.

While Kung Fu Live doesn’t give the best first impression, the time between setting up the game and actually playing it was actually relatively cool. The game has you pose for a series of voiced comics, which set up the story of each chapter of the campaign mode. These comics are well done, and the art is surprisingly good. The writing is also relatively amusing, though the game does have a tendency to stick to the usual comic stereotypes of “reluctant hero”, “old wise Asian lady” and of course “ninja lady who trains you halfway through the story”. The game does the interludes well, and seeing myself placed into these scenarios was at least amusing. It was only when I made it into the actual game did things take a turn further south.

As I made clear earlier, the human body is useless. This makes Kung Fu Live’s job of translating movements into attacks an extremely difficult one. Whilst the game makes clear what shapes you’ll need to contort yourself into, it is extremely demanding in terms of the precision required. I had attacks not trigger because my hands were just off the right position, and the game rarely translated my shuffling into movement, leading to my avatar getting hit far more times than I would have liked. Frustrated at this, I picked up the nearest available implement to hand, which turned out to be a wooden spoon. The game didn’t even register the spoon as being on screen, which made things even more frustrating. The game just doesn’t work in the way that it is supposed to, which as a statement of playability is concerned, is rather damning.

Kung Fu Live is an experiment that never works. The best application of the technology behind it is found in the static comic interludes, whilst the game itself never really makes good use of the ideas behind it. A pity really.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • Severe control and interface issues