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Kung Fu Rider Review

15 September 2010

Kung Fu Rider represents the less than appealing side of motion controls. It’s everything we feared to see on Move: a boring game, and even if it used Move properly, has no reason to actually require motion controls. Sure, it is original and quirky, but when the gameplay is so miserable we cannot justify spending $40 USD on another wacky game.

The premise of Kung Fu Rider is simple. You play as either Tobin, a detective with some apparent kung fu abilities, or his assistant Karin. The pair must escape the local mafia, which is after them for some unknown reason. You race down hilly streets on different office chairs, vacuum cleaners, or other wheeled contraptions. While you race down the street you must avoid the mafia and grab cash to earn points, all while avoiding pedestrians and cars.

All of this sounds fine and simple enough, and we certainly appreciate the arcade-style format, but the actual gameplay borders on a travesty. You use the Move controller to move your character left or right, and you awkwardly flap your hands to get your player to accelerate. Jumping is done by jolting your Move controller up, which is all too similar to accelerating, meaning we found ourselves jumping when we wanted to go faster, and accelerating when we were trying to jump over oncoming cars. The problem is the game does a horrible job of recognizing your movements. If this is your introduction to Move, you may just wonder why Sony invested so much money into a motion control that barely tracks your movements. But, we know Move has potential, as evident by Sports Champions, although most of the other launch titles we tried feel like regurgitated Wii games and they do a poor job of utilizing Move’s potential. 

 

This is the first game we reviewed for Move that takes advantage of every button on the controller. For some reason, Studio Japan decided to make your kung fu abilities tied to the small buttons that surround the central Move button, meaning it’s extremely frustrating to pull off proper attacks. Luckily the Move button serves as a roundhouse kick, making every other button (except for the trigger button) pretty much an afterthought. You can grind on rails, and avoid mafia attacks simply by pressing a button and thrusting the Move controller in the right direction. Since the motion controls are so finicky, it’s hard to feel all that involved in the game.

After a while, all of the different courses blur together into one big mess of pavement and pedestrians. The later stages offer a bit of variety, allowing you to choose your own route as you chase down the clock, but given the poor controls, it’s hard to think of that variety as a good thing, it actually leads to more frustration.  

 

Also, it should be mentioned, that the game takes a random photo of you during each level. We can’t figure out why, or when it takes the photo, but we suppose this could provide fun if playing with some friends. The problem is you will probably not want to subject your friends to this kind of boring, terribly repetitive and poorly designed game. This game makes a lot more sense as a PlayStation Network release for $10, but sadly you’ll have to drop $40 to try it for yourself (or try the demo). 

-The Final Word-

Kung Fu Rider is a bland racing-inspired game that quickly becomes frustrating with its poor use of Move and the dreadful controls. The game would have been better suited for a standard controller.
  • The quirky presentation and concept
  • The controls are some of the worst we've seen on the Move
  • Boring and repetitive levels that feel like a chore to complete
  • A pointless first attempt from Studio Japan
3.0
Platforms reviewed : PlayStation 3
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