Published on July 11th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Johnny Kung Fu Review
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Price: US $5.99
Release Date: July 12, 2012
Developer: UFO Interactive
Review Notes: A game token was provided for review purposes.
Level of difficulty is an essential part to any beat’em up title. Whether it draws you in by the first signs of easiness, or keep you coming back because damn, that level is tough as a bum’s toe nails. It’s always well worth the score, or the satisfaction of stickin’ it to the bad guys these types of games. In the case of Johnny Kung Fu, there are plenty of the above to keep your eyes glued to the screen.
Johnny Kung Fu is a unique title. Though, early screens of the game painted a different picture than the actual product. I was expecting an action adventure title that was built around the Double Dragon, Fatal Fury-esque gameplay. Instead, the game is more along the lines of a beat’em up/reaction based mini-game mash-up. It also pays homage to the Game and Watch era, even bringing in the same physical look of these titles. This may sound a bit odd, but with the game being centered on beating the clock—it works.
The main story to the game takes you on the day old journey to “save the girl.” Johnny’s girlfriend Paula is whisked away to the tippy-tops to a seemingly never ending skyscraper hideout. Mr. Wang is holding her captive while you defeat the goons on your way to him. Various levels bring you to fight bosses and then face them again but in fearful numbers. This is both fun and tough. New moves are learned after each boss defeat, which does allow you to survive the onslaught of fists and cuffs. Combo’s can then be used with more precision, driving your score even higher.
During each mini game, as well as the main story, time is ticking down. With every loss, whether it be mini-game, life or continue, it will deduct time off the total running time. Once you are out, the game is over and you must start your journey to the top again.
There a couple different types of mini-games. The hammer-off duels pit you against one of the goon opponents. The timer counts down from three and you must react to either dodge or strike based on your number. If you receive the higher number you must strike, and the lower, dodge. This might sound easy, but towards the higher difficulties the less power is taken and tension may become an obstacle as you try and beat the clock.
The Change to Color Mode will have you knocking around bad guys with a little bit of zest and color. When the enemy appears you must quickly make your way over and strike them first before they can lay a fist on you. Each strike brings a small amount of color into the level and is noted on a gauge at the bottom of the screen. Every time you are struck by falling shards or an opponent, the gauge drops back down a significant amount. The level is then completed when all the color has returned.
The other mini-game that is thrown into the mix is Pocket Rush. This breaks down the screen into three sections, and continues to break down your nerves. As stated before, the levels grow in difficulty as the game continues. Dodging the bombs on the bottom portion of the screen, or the laser beams on the top, can leave you with sweaty palms and shrill screams based on the outcome. As with the other mini-games dying in these areas will cost you time. If you lose all of your lives and continue, a total of five minutes will be your penalty.
The bomb juggle turns Jonny on his side doing cartwheels to juggle the bombs above his head. The first two are a piece of cake, but when there are three plus in the air, bombs away. This game, like the others, adds more bombs and times you must juggle each before progressing. It is also probably the most stress free to play.
I do like the approach that developer UFO took with Johnny Kung Fu. The game becomes increasingly harder as you progress, which aligns with other titles of the genre. Venturing on into the depths of frustration will however reward you with the pocket games becoming unlocked under the Bonus option at the main screen. Fine tune those kicks and reaction times and become the Kung Fu Champion you have been striving all of your gamer life for. Well, that is until some four year old kid named Danny from the Bronx knocks you off the leaderboard. There are also other unlockables that are opened with these small achievements.
Johnny Kung Fu does prove what it set out to do. Like the Game and Watch titles before it, the game accomplishes the goal of conquering boredom but brings in a new age of challenges. These challenges come in the form of mini-games and scoring.
Although the game was created for the Nintendo 3DS, it doesn’t necessarily showcase its 3D prowess. Instead, the depth of the screen is used to bounce to and fro, which can be used often to dodge enemy blows or their mobile attacks.
The game does bring something different to the table, proving the collision of multiple genres together in order to take on the biggest enemy of all, entertainment. In Johnny’s case, this does prove to make a fun, yet challenging experience that will give players replay value and something that can provide more than a single playthrough. The US 5.99 price tag is well worth the gold coins and should be an easy grab in that eShop.
+ Unlockable Content
-/+ Difficulty level might seem unbalanced at first
– Minimal use of 3D abilities