The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Whenever a gaming company launches new technology,
some titles will fail to take advantage of the new hardware. To put Kung Fu
Rider in this category would be exceedingly generous. This is a game about
riding office chairs, and through some reverse miracle, the developers actually
managed to make the game stupider than it sounds.
When I first started
the game up, I actually thought Kung Fu Rider might offer greater character
depth than the racial stereotypes that compilation games like Sports Champions
and Racquet Sports have offered to Move owners. Man, was I wrong. The entirety
of Kung Fu Rider's "story" unfolds on the menu screen. A private detective
named Toby and his vapid assistant Karin are being chased by the Yakuza for
unknown reasons (Karin even laughs at Toby when he asks why the mob is after
them, as if desiring any sort of back story is absurd). To ditch the criminals,
the pair decides to split up and ride office chairs down the streets of
Megalopolis to a van that will drive them to safety. That's it. The end.
The gameplay consists
of short races down six city streets, during which you avoid (or crash into)
objects, cars, and civilians. The aforementioned Yakuza members spring easily
avoided environmental traps on you to impede your progress. Kung Fu Rider is
vaguely reminiscent of Tony Hawk Ride in its poor implementation of motion
controls, and for the fact that neither game should have made it out of the
first brainstorming session.
The developers managed
to pack quite a few moves into the game's control scheme, but none of them work
well. Jumping on your chair (performed by jerking the controller up in the air)
is laggy and only registers half of the time. Leaning back to go underneath
obstacles (tilt the controller up and hold the trigger) makes it impossible to
steer. However, the worst design of all is making players shake the controller
up and down to go faster. You will be doing this the entire time you're playing
thanks to an annoyingly slow top speed and the fact that running into objects
usually leaves you at a standstill.
Each course has four or
five variations, requiring you to replay each area with slight route changes
and increased difficulty. Greater difficulty comes in the form of more objects
between you and your goal, to the point where the hardest levels have piles of
junk around every corner, waiting to knock you off of your chair. On the off
chance that you actually want to progress to the next course, you will
eventually have to make it to the end of the level, which can be annoyingly
difficult when you're getting dethroned every five seconds through no fault of
Whenever you crash, the game takes a grainy picture
of your face with the PlayStation Eye. I didn't realize how much I wasn't
enjoying Kung Fu Rider until I saw these candid glimpses of my misery. In fact,
even after I had unlocked all the courses, I still couldn't understand what the
appeal of the game was - until I switched to Toby's buxom assistant (the second
playable character). Her seductive poses and excessive jiggling will surely
entertain anyone with a sufficient lack of taste to purchase this game in the
first place. The only thing that managed to bring a smile to my face, however,
was purposely steering Karin into traffic during the game's free roam mode.
The game's multiplayer mode (one player controls the
racer while the other moves a magical floating hand around the screen to pick
up money and objects), nicely sums up the product as a whole: an insultingly
shallow cash-grab. The only saving grace to Kung Fu Rider was that I had
unlocked and played through all of the game's courses in less than an hour. How
Sony thinks Kung Fu Rider justifies being a full retail release (even with the
reduced $40 price tag) is beyond me.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.