Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Kung Fu Rider

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

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            Of all the titles set to be available alongside the PlayStation Move motion-controller next week, Kung Fu Rider is undoubtedly the most eccentric. The simple premise of mounting a small, wheeled seat – be it an office chair or a vacuum cleaner – and shooting downhill towards an awaiting van is complicated by the likes of storming triad and moving vehicles, and much more besides. Designed for both younger gamers and those wishing for a return of the halcyon Japanese oddity 16-bit days, Kung Fu Rider is that which is becoming somewhat of a rarity in the modern industry: the full game centred upon a one-shot mechanic. And so hopes are high that Kung Fu Rider has got its basic principle right from the start.

            Most directly comparable to Wii’s Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam – also a launch title for it’s host system – Kung Fu Rider plays exactly as it’s premise suggests, with the player trying to maintain speed on a set course while avoiding Electronic Theatre Imageall manner of obstacles. The game lays the control system unnecessarily thick over the PlayStation Move controller, with a number of varying actions across each of the face buttons when much simple context sensitive controls should have been the basis for on-seat actions. The PlayStation Move’s motion sensitivity is used to aim your craft and initiate turns, accelerate and stop, and also to perform a generous jump manoeuvre. The responsiveness is respectable, with only minor confusion between speed-up and jumps, sharp turns and wide angles. The biggest with Kung Fu Rider is certainly not the implementation of PlayStation Move, but simply with the lack of substance.

            Kung Fu Rider is a wholly enjoyable game for it’s duration, but with only a small amount of variation in it’s levels and two playable characters, most gamers having eagerly got their hands on their PlayStation Move controller will Electronic Theatre Imagefind themselves having played through the bulk of the game in just a single evening. Of course, there’s high score to achieve and unlockable rides to earn, but this won’t necessarily demand replay when sat next to Sports Champions.

            The multiplayer gameplay is limited to two players, functioning within the same level system as a lightly interactive co-operative gameplay mode, and as such falls fouls to the exact same issues as the single-player game. With the single-player unlikely to demand much attention next to Sports Champions, it’s also unlikely that Kung Fu Rider’s multiplayer option will detract from Start the Party!’s more immediate gameplay.

            A pleasant looking game, Kung Fu Rider’s environments are littered with detail, and the pastel shaded locations matched with the cartoon-like characters certainly gives the game a unique breath of life. It’s an even greater shame, then, that Kung Fu Rider features no story Electronic Theatre Imageexposition beyond a brief introduction video and occasional chattering during menus. The animation is worthy of particular note, with Kung Fu Rider’s rag doll physics creating some particularly wince-inducing wipe-outs, and the general light-hearted presentation isn’t likely to be an off-putting factor for many.

             Kung Fu Rider plays on its retro mechanic perhaps a little too heavily, relying upon the simple premise to hook players and provided little else for those who feel it misses the spot. And, unfortunately, there will be a lot of players in the latter camp. Ultimately, Kung Fu Rider is an enjoyable game while it lasts, but is hardly a strong selling point for the PlayStation Move.


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