The PlayStation Move controller for the PS3 has an opportunity to do good things, but this is dependent on a very simple thing: no matter how good the technology is, the supporting games that will make people decide to purchase the hardware must be fun and involving. Kung Fu Rider is neither of those things; it is a travesty of game development. Seriously, stop reading now, there’s no point, just don’t buy the game. Okay?
Are you still with me? As a fellow masochist then, allow me to waste as much of your time as this game did of mine. Kung Fu Rider has little or nothing to do with Kung Fu, so you’re already being lied to just on the cover art. No, this game consists of going downhill on various inexplicable items, like an office chair or kid’s toy, avoiding various obstacles and the Mafia. Why the Mafia you ask? This is something the game never elaborates on, probably because there is no good reason; it’s just an excuse to have something to kick at through the levels.
The first ten minutes or so introduces the player to the game mechanics, and given the lack of variety through the various stages, there are an inordinate amount of Move gestures and button presses to get to grips with. The basics allow the downhill steed to turn left and right by holding the wand left or right, brake by holding the controller up, and accelerating by pretending you have a chronic masturbation disorder. More advance controls allow you to duck under low level objects in a level, leap low lying objects, kick at the Mafia or ordinary everyday folk going about their business and with a flick of the wrist slide sideways like a demon driver. The trouble is the movements for jump and accelerate often get confused and ends up doing something unexpected and unwanted, and you never really feel in control of the steering.
Kung Fu Rider is in fact, an example of fitting a game around a controller, rather than designing something that uses the controller in a fun and interesting way. It does sort of work, but all the time you get the impression that this would be a better game controlled with a pad – then again this wouldn’t help the monotonous and repetitive gameplay. Indeed the game designers were so lazy that they didn’t even vary the animation and goofy sound-bite that accompanies the beginning and end of each level, with the exception of the thing being travelled on.
Even the levels seem to have exactly the same features, the same markets, the same rows of boxes littered across the streets, the same cars to leap over, the same suited Mafia men to kick, the same metal bars to duck under. The same music even, to punish you aurally as well as physically. There has been some effort at least to provide multiple routes through a level, though this does seem to have been done so that missing jumps means you can continue on your journey to the minivan goal at the end. Should you get whacked by the Mafia, or collide with objects on the way there, the game goes into a painful slowmo death-cam. Fun for the first couple of times, before you realise this is just stretching the experience out.
Make it to the bottom of the hill and the player is graded on their performance from S-F rankings, along with seeing some photos of you stabbing yourself in the face as you played it. To unlock the next course of similarity, a minimum of a D grade is required. There’s no real multiplayer here to speak of just some thinly veiled co-op sillyness, although you can choose to use one of two characters at the start, either Tobin or Karin. Both play exactly the same, except with Karin it’s an excuse to use the camera for titillating up-the-skirt and down-the-blouse angles.
The only upside of Kung Fu Rider, if indeed one was needed, is that it has a kind of Sega feel to the presentation – albeit a very distant and late aborted cousin relationship. You’ll have seen everything this game has to offer in less than twenty minutes and you will wish that you’d spent your money more wisely.
There are far better games available for Move currently, pick up the Move edition of Heavy Rain for the same price and embrace the goodness. Hell, spend £4 on Flight Control HD and the rest on beer whilst you smash jumbo-jets in to each other – just don’t buy this or we’ll have to send the lads around and have a word. I grade this title an A-F: Abject Failure.