Kung Fu FIGHT! Review—Nobody Told Me You’d Play So Good, Nobody Said You’d Be So Beautiful
Nostatic Software is one of the PlayStation Mobile developers which seem to have a steady rate of game releases. These games are not incomplete, beta-like games; instead, they are polished, and are good games, too. In addition to those traits, Nostatic retains its trademark pixel art and brand of humor in this particular title as well.
The developer’s games are of a variety of genres, with Quiet, Please! being a point-and-click adventure, and Ascent of Kings being a platformer. Kung Fu FIGHT! is a runner, in the vein of Canabalt. This is way better than Canabalt, though. You read that right, better than Canabalt.
If Kung Fu FIGHT! had been released back in the NES era, it would have become an all-time classic. Admittedly, it is not the most original game, but still, it hits the limits of what a runner can achieve.
The game has the premise of saving a girl while beating the bad guys. You control someone in a white karate gi and red headband. You run across levels littered with several excessively varied items that you can jump over, slide under, or deal with via the old-fashioned kicking them out of the way. There are wooden boxes, strolling farmers, hanging fish, and so many more hindrances that you can evade in the most varied ways. For example, you can jump over a table or slide under it, whatever you like or the situation calls for.
It is no secret that I adore PlayStation Mobile games that take advantage of the Vita’s physical buttons, which this game utilizes like a pro. Take note, other devs: this game is actually a port, but Nostatic was able to code the physical controls of the Vita—they were not lazy!
The control scheme is perfect as it is, smooth and responsive. X is for jumping, Square is for kicking and punching things, and the down button is for sliding. By pressing the appropriate buttons, you can slidekick and jumpkick, too.
onmode-ky (our resident copy editor and recently a visual novel reviewer, in the rare case that you are not familiar with PSPMinis.com’s All-Star cast) kind of disagreed with me in my review of Samurai Beatdown. It looks like we are just enrolled in different schools of game design. While he focused on the intricacies of Samurai Beatdown’s scoring method, I lambasted the game for being boring and totally ignored its scoring method. He might not like Kung Fu FIGHT! very much, since there is no real “high score,” and there is a little misstep on the part of the developer in not saving the statistics (the game does record your statistics but wipes them out when you get out of the session!). But in terms of gameplay, this is some of the best a runner with combat mechanics could possibly come up with.
I’ve already talked about variety, and that is not just in the way you can interact with obstacles. When you progress far enough, the game transforms into an action-platformer, since it throws at you a complex stack of boxes for you to jump on carefully. It also helps that the levels are randomly generated. There are checkpoints, too—OMG THE GAME IS DUMBED-DOWN EASY! No, there are both a Story Mode and an Infinite Fortress Mode, the latter being the classic runner if you don’t like the checkpoints, or you can always play the game on its highest difficulty. Speaking of difficulty, the normal difficulty is damn hard. Let’s see if you wouldn’t beg for checkpoints if the game didn’t offer them.
There are also boss fights, which are surprisingly well executed and not just shoe-ins. The enemies are varied, too, with sumo wrestlers, ninjas, and those guys with sticks. In lieu of a high score table, there is an achievement system. And dare I say, it is the best set of achievements I’ve seen so far, because it adds to the challenge. For example, one of the achievements is Pacifist, for which you have to get past five enemies without killing them, and to show you that the devs actually thought about this, the sumo wrestlers don’t count since the sumos can’t be killed and need to be evaded at all costs! The Pacifist is actually one the easiest achievements, but most of the achievements require you to string X action for Y amount without dying. These things are not easy to pull off!
Even the credits have an achievement while being interactive. Rolling the credits is actually a game in itself. You should buy this already and be amazed how things play.
I’ll employ the JeremyR philosophy on game soundtracks and won’t touch that topic, because this review is too long already. The graphics, as mentioned, are pixelated, but they are done with care, with fluid and varied animation. The special effects are good, also; just wait until you arrive at the raining area and be amazed.
At only $1.49, I’d gladly pay twice that price.