Indie Review: Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise is a classic beat em' up arcadey action game from Qooc Soft, and it's easy to be attracted to it because of nostalgia and its old school feel. To find out how it measures up in this genre, and whether or not it's worth playing, you'll have to read on.
- Worth The Time?It's worth playing, but it gets tiresome before its end.
- Things LovedThe co-op campaign, it's very challenging later on, the combat is fun, the boss battles are good, the combat effects are great to look at.
- Things HatedYou need to complete the long campaign before you can unlock the option to fight a friend, it gets quite repetitive as most levels feel the same, you can't change the control layout, the 2D boss battles don't really work well in co-op, the formula can get tiresome.
- RecommendationFor around the same price tag you could get Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, Dust: An Elysian Tale or Resonance, all of which are much more memorable, enjoyable and exciting indie games.
- Name: Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise
- Genre: Action, Beat em' up
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Local Co-op (2 players)
- Platforms: PC, XBLA
- Developer: Qooc Soft
- Publisher: 7sixty, Digital Tribe Games
- Price: $10 (about R83.93)
- Reviewed On: PC
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise is a classic beat em’ up arcadey action game from Qooc Soft. The game is centered around one General Loh, a warrior dedicated to avenging his father’s death while around him warring factions threaten to split ancient China apart. With things fast spiraling out of control, Loh finds himself facing increasing difficulty in his mission to find out who is responsible for the murder of his father, but he is also running out of time to save his homeland from what appears to be certain destruction. On top of that, there’s a mysterious place called the ‘Zen Room of Emptiness’ that many speak of, but as it turns out Loh might not live long enough to discover what it is.
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Phew. That sounded quite hectic, but truth be told the story isn’t that busy, or at least it doesn’t make a serious impact. The story is mostly delivered with some still images like a cartoon strip, with some text. It’s something that’s quite lighthearted, but it’s also something you’ll forget in a few minutes, especially when put next to all the action. It’s basically just a short prelude to a room full of bad guys that you need to beat the living potato out of. And that’s the summary of how the game is delivered to you.
In terms of content, there’s the story mode for you to play, which is quite lengthy, and there’s also multiplayer where you can play the campaign with local co-op and get a buddy along for the action. You can also fight each other in one on one matches, but unfortunately the irritating part is that you need to complete the entire campaign before you can unlock this mode, and I can’t see any reason why other than to force you to finish the game, which is not good for players. Stages don’t really seem to have much structure, as you basically are put into a room to clear out all the baddies, and there are lots of bosses and boss battles scattered throughout the levels, but fortunately most of them are pretty good. Each stage also has a bonus condition you can do to earn lots of extra money for items and abilities, so at least there’s replay value and incentive to play stages again, though raising money can be slow.
The game is quite simple to play, but it can get very challenging, especially on the harder difficulties, which is something I appreciate, even if it does get frustrating now and again. You have buttons for strike, dodge roll, jump and parry, and a combination of buttons allows you to perform special Chi powers that dish out high damage. Usage of this is governed by an energy meter at the bottom corner of the screen, and you may only store a maximum of one Chi move in the beginning, until you progress further enough to unlock more slots and more Chi moves. What’s enjoyable is that the game is fast paced and looks really cool in motion with some great combat effects. You’ll need a keen sense of awareness and strategy to use the variety of moves you have effectively. Some enemies need to be attacked with Chi moves to break their guard, some need rapid strikes, or overhead attacks and others need to be parried and countered at the right time. There’s a great sense of variety in the combat.
At least, initially. Kung Fu Strike was a blast for me in the beginning, and it was quite fun with co-op. However, it’s unfortunate that the game loses appeal the longer you play. Many repetitive levels later, and after some bad 2D co-op fights, the game started to get a bit tiresome, especially because I couldn’t play against a friend and needed to complete the entire campaign before being able to. Most of the game’s levels take place in 3D arenas, but there are some boss fights that take place on a 2D plane, and this just doesn’t work with a co-op partner. Only one of you is seemingly able to get close enough to damage bosses, otherwise it just bugs out. It’s also, as you can imagine, not easy to try and get your partner to flank the enemy on a 2D plane. It’s just glitchy and doesn’t really work.
The combat is definitely the game’s strongest point, but sadly that’s about the only strong point present. The rest is mostly average and forgettable, and even the combat itself will get boring as you clear room after repetitive room of enemies through each level, eventually making it tiresome. There are some attempts at mixing things up, and the boss battles are often good, but most levels are the same. But really, Kung Fu Strike is not bad at all, and it’s enjoyable, but it doesn’t inspire much emotion out of you after a while. It just becomes about going through the motions, and ends up being empty. It’s mindless action, unless you crank up the difficulty, and it’s easy to play and pull off cool moves, so if you’re here for that you’ll no doubt find enjoyment, but for the price tag you could do better.
With regards to graphics, the game doesn’t look too bad. It’s certainly cool to see in motion, I’ll give it that. You can spot a Street Fighter IV influence on the art direction, which is not a bad move. The stages are varied and colourful, and deserve credit. There’s some nice music on the main menu and in the interval between stages, but in-game you can’t really hear anything other than punches, kicks and Chi moves, which dominate. So effectively there isn’t really much to say about it.
In conclusion, I’m sitting somewhere in the middle with Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise. It doesn’t really have major highs or real lows, and inspires a general lack of emotion as it’s mostly just average after a while. But there’s no doubt that it’s an entertaining game. It’s worth playing, but it’s pretty forgettable, and for the same price I feel you can do a lot better with regards to indie games.