Kung-Fu Live Review" />
When a game starts up with a disclaimer stating that the developers are not liable for your possible death, you know some serious stuff is going to happen. The very moment I read that, I was pumped up for whatever adventure awaited me, not necessarily because I welcome sweet, sweet death but because I envisioned a game that would get me up off my butt and moving around far more than a man of my size should be moving. And Kung-Fu Live, a motion fighting game utilizing the PlayStation Eye, did just that, all while making me glad that I played while my wife was at work so she couldn’t see the ridiculousness (and mastery) of my kung-fu “skills”. There also may or may not have been certain decorative knickknacks that someone may or may not have ever-so-innocently destroyed.
Kung-Fu Live is like some kind of strange mash-up of Photo Dojo, the final round of Nick Arcade, and the ill-fated Sega Activator. But wait, don’t let that comparison deter you because I actually mean it in a good way; this game is a blast if you’re in the proper mood. Right off the bat, you get to choose from three different modes: Story, Quick Play, and Multiplayer. Quick Play throws you into various themed fights that involve fighting hordes of enemies or taking on a chosen opponent for three rounds, just like you would normally see in a typical fighting game. Multiplayer sounds great in theory, but you are basically just pit up against one to three friends on controllers. It is initially fun to see how you fare against someone using a traditional controller, but the novelty wears off quickly. Without the ability to play against others online who are also using the PlayStation Eye, this mode is rather forgettable.
Thankfully, the main Story mode has a bit more substance and is where the game really redeems itself. At first, it may not seem like much as you flail about in front of the camera and seem to make contact thanks to no more than dumb luck, but as you get a handle on how the game is played, it suddenly springs to life. And oh boy, it is one heck of a workout once you finally upgrade from flailing to actual coordinated attacks. Thankfully, the recent motion gaming fad has prepared most of us for activities of this caliber, but you can still expect to get a bit sweaty as you fight hordes of Inklings and some supremely tough bosses.
No matter how ridiculous you may actually look, you’re bound to feel pretty hardcore as you watch yourself on the screen. What’s even better is that you are integrated into the comic-style cutscenes. Just make a few poses here and there and you’re suddenly a crime-fighting comic book star with your own lame one-liners. Sadly, the game doesn’t include a screenshot tool so you can share these scenes with friends, which was seriously disappointing for me. As I have previously stated in my Pokémon Rumble and Blur reviews, I just love it when developers have the mind to include screenshot capabilities, and this game would be a perfect candidate. I can only hope the feature is later released via DLC.
Update: As has been pointed out to me by a commenter, the game actually does include some screenshot capabilities, which I somehow overlooked. You are still not able to take screenshots during gameplay, but you can at least save snapshots of the comic book poses.
I really appreciate that certain poses will execute powered attacks and combos, but one of my absolute favorite things about Kung-Fu Live is that you can use weapons if you wish and they will appear—and work!—on screen with you. This alone can double the fun factor, which is why it’s really disappointing that not everyone can use it. My living room is big enough so that I don’t have to worry about putting a bunch of holes in the walls (although I did trip over baby furniture on more than one occasion), but people in smaller rooms will likely have to do without because you will not be standing in one spot for this game.
Given the nature of Kung-Fu Live, there are going to be some frustrating moments because—let’s face it—this technology hasn’t been perfected yet, so your attacks won’t always connect and there may even be times when one of your limbs momentarily disappears. Most importantly: proper lighting is absolutely crucial. If you are going to take this motion fighter into consideration, these are things you will want to keep in mind. It’s important to have a bit of patience during the lengthy syncing process and occasional gameplay foibles. I promise it’s worth the hassle.
The Flying Hamster was developed and published by Virtual Air Guitar Company. It was released for the PS3′s PlayStation Network on December 7, 2010 in North America.