My column in last Friday’s newspaper was a review of Sony’s new motion controller, the PlayStation Move, plus short writeups of four Move launch titles. I’ll be doing things a bit differently on the blog. I’ve already written longer posts on the Move hardware and on launch titles “Sports Champions,” “Start the Party!” and “EyePet.” Here, I review “KungFu Rider,” a game that might be so bad it’s good, if it were $30 to $35 cheaper.
This review marks the last installment of my PlayStation Move launch lineup coverage. It’s a little later than the rest because non-gaming work took away the bulk of my time and attention this week.
“KungFu Rider” (rated E10+, $40) is terrible. In action reminiscent of a skateboarding game, you use one of two characters to ride wheeled objects (office chair, vacuum cleaner, etc.) through city streets, dodging obstacles or fighting off the Mafia with kung-fu moves. It’s as crazy as it sounds, and the first few times it’s surreal fun. But the controls need work, the dialogue is repetitive and the skimpy outfit worn by the jiggly female character seems oddly out of place.
In kitsch value, “KungFu Rider” is on par with that “Sneak King” Xbox 360 game that featured the restaurant chain’s creepy mascot sneaking up on people and surprising them with fast food. But that game cost $4 with the purchase of food. “KungFu Rider” is 10 times as expensive.
It certainly doesn’t have the production values of a $40 game, though. The premise: Tobin, aka Toby, and Karin are on the run from the Mafia. At the start of each level, or at least the early ones that I played, whichever character you pick needs to get to the duo’s van for a getaway. In literally every board I played, Karin or Toby walked up to a wheeled object on the street while delivering the exact same dialogue. Then, you hop on a wheeled object and race through city streets, collecting money, dodging obstacles and fighting off gangsters.
That’s the whole game. There’s no story. The characters only each have about five lines, which they say at the opening and completion of every stage. The lone exposition comes via a conversation on the title screen.
The Move controls were the worst of any of the games I played, though not because of any flaw with Move. No, it’s because the gesture for “go faster” is fairly similar to the gesture for “jump.” You’ll find yourself jumping constantly when your whole goal is to get away from danger.
I can see “KungFu Rider” being kitschy fun, but in the sort of way where two years from now, you’ll be able to buy it for $5 at GameStop and throw it in to entertain company for a few minutes. Until then, pass.