I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a huge fan of animated films, Pixar, Disney, you name it…I love it. Kung Fu Panda is another favourite of mine, the big loveable Bear with killer martial arts training is a great character and it’s easy to see why kids and adults alike love him, obviously has nothing to do with Jack Black…. Back in 2008 Luxoflux and Activision released a game by the same name, which loosely followed the film. Kung Fu Panda the game received mostly positive reviews and was certainly worthy of another title which comes in the form of a fighting game Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends, I know…incredibly catchy name, right.
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown Of Legendary Legends: Xbox One, Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, 3DS, Microsoft Windows
Developer: Vicious Cycle Software
Publisher: Little Orbit, Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: 3 December 2015
Price: £34:99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Publisher]
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown Of Legendary Legends aims to step away from the films past and present to deliver a very Super Smash Bros like themed game that overall proves to be a very enjoyable experience with a huge fun factor. The latest Kung Fu Panda title takes all of the films most loveable characters and artistic environments up in a 2D fight theme, which can hold up to four different fighters.
The latest addition to the franchise allows players to choose from twenty different fighters across twelve different stages, with every aspect based on locations from the movies equipped with a lot of hazards to boot. Showdown Of Legendary Legends boasts heroes Po as well as many of his fellow animal friends plus his mentors Shifu and Oogway, not to mention a variety of baddies and henchman from the hit movies. Downloadable content that times in with Kung Fu Panda 3’s release next month will see a bunch of new characters introduced to the game.
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown Of Legendary Legends as a game runs very close to the Super Smash Bros series and why not, the games have a great style to them and are a lot of fun to play. With very familiar mechanics such as dodging, grabbing opponents, shields, taunting and the ability to combine double jumps with a unique special move. The characters in Showdown Of Legendary Legends even boast moves called Awesome Attacks, which again are similar to Super Smash Bros final moves, with each character able to perform a very unique finishing move when performed correctly. Unlike Super Smash Bros, Po and his fellow characters must build up to a finishing move with a meter, rather than it merely being a power-up.
Throughout each fight the objective isn’t to take away the opponents health bar but to work away and chisel down a certain percentage for each rival, which begins at 100% with a number of lives before each bout. The main goal is to force your opponent down to such a low percentage that they can be easily knocked off one of the stages exits or into the sky with a finishing KO. Players are free to run and jump throughout each stage but must avoid traps and obstacles that form on the various platforms.
The fighters available in Showdown Of Legendary Legends on a whole handle pretty well with players certain to have personal favourites with which to do battle. Every individual characters finishing move is very closely related to their trademark moves from the hit movies, which is a nice touch by the developers, adding a level of familiarity to proceedings. Although the game runs pretty close to Super Smash Bros and in some ways is actually better there are certain elements that keep the two apart, such as the precision required for the scattered items characters can collect throughout fights.
Another slight issue for me were the lack of single player modes, with limitations set to versus matches against AI opponents or the tournament mode, which see’s players pitted against ten different rounds of fights with a variety of conditions to contend with. There are of course other modes to take part in including a take on Smash Bros very entertaining Coin Mode, however instead of collecting coins, we have dumplings. Other modes see players dashing around stages while attempting to hold on to a shiny crown for the longest amount of time.
Sadly, Tournament mode doesn’t feel much better with a lack of story to each one, it feels very impersonal with no end cut-scenes to enjoy. The same opening cut-scene rolls regardless of what character is chosen. There is no incentive throughout each tournament to unlock brand new characters for the game or new stages for that matter and the lack of these possibilities leave the whole experience and the game a little flat.
Finally we come to the games multiplayer, which thankfully helps to elevate the title to a new level, while supporting both local and online play, I was slightly concerned there would be no form of online competition and so I was very pleased to see it offer some form of competitive online experience. From my time online with Showdown Of Legendary Legends I found it to be largely fun while also proving to be a nice challenge with no real connection issues to speak of and no apparent lag, the multiplayer aspects of the game have a big appeal, even if you are punted back to main menu after every battle.
Visually, Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends has a great feel to it and is very well presented. If you are a fan of the films or animated movies for that matter then you will enjoy what the game has to offer, looks wise. Each stage is well designed and looks great and the characters and different fighting styles will definitely appeal to a wider audience. The soundtrack isn’t fantastic but does a good overall job at sticking to the movies theme.
Overall, this might be a game mainly aimed at a younger audience but Kung Fu Panda as a character is suited to adults as well. The theme of the game is very close to that of Super Smash Bros which should allow Showdown Of Legendary Legends to branch out and reach gamers who are maybe not fans of the films. The fighting mechanics are very fun and there is an abundance of characters and stages to experience that all run very close to the brilliant films. A lack of story mode to go with the tournament mode is a shame but this is still a fun title which has something to offer.