Kung Fu Rider Review (PS3)

Every new hardware launch needs a wacky side-order to wash it down with, and this is where Kung Fu Rider steps up for the Playstation Move. The premise: You're scooting down a hill on an office chair, on the run from the mafia, avoiding obstacles and grinding rails. Wacky, yes. Fun... not so.

He's lucky, really. He deserves far more pain than this
Kung Fu Rider is riddled with poor level design and irritating sound effects that really grate the eardrums. There's something distinctly addictive about trying for the perfect run, and we found ourselves going back to it a fair few times amd yet it can only end in misery.

So here's the basics - taking control of either Toby or Karin, you race down a variety of hills and busy streets, swinging the Playstation Move controller around to duck, jump, grind and kick your way to the finish. Mafia types are dotted around each level, ready to knock you down and impede your progress. Reach the bottom of the hill without getting too bashed around to win.

Your direction is controlled via pointing at the screen with the Move controller and aiming where you want to roll. Shove forward and your hero will pick up speed, blasting anything and everything out of the way. However, this isn't really a game about getting to the end as fast as possible - it's all about what you do on the way down that counts. Grind along rails, jump over obstacles and duck under barriers to build up your points, and go for an S rank and a top spot on the leaderboards.

It's easy to get into, but difficult to master - mainly thanks to the shoddy controls and awful collision detection. Simple commands like jumping and ducking are fine, but try to go around a corner at high speed and you'll most likely end up on the floor. It doesn't help that the game throws plenty of cheap hits your way, placing bad guys in the tightest of spaces and purposely setting you up for the fall.
Don't even try to guess what's happening here
Even when you're trying your hardest, the game will still penalize in the harshest of ways. Jump onto a rail and hit the grind button, and no doubt a second later some idea with a big stick will have thwacked you off. Duck under a barrier, and a second later you'll be required to jump over something else which, with the controls as they are, isn't usually a very reasonable requirement.

There are no differences between the two characters available - well, except that the woman's boobs jiggle around a ridiculously creepy amount - and both are just as annoying as each other. The English voice dubs attempt to be crazy, but just come across as mute-worthy. Before every single goddamn level, they will spurt out the very same drivel, and every time we would stare deep into their eyes and wish they'd die a horribly painful death.

We sort of get our wish, too. Every time either character gets whacked in the face, a slow-mo effect comes into effect and the camera zooms in on the inflicted's face. It's genuinely hilarious the first few times, but eventually falls into the 'not very funny after you've seen it for the umpteenth time' category with the rest of the game. The game also takes pride in capturing multiple photos of you while you play, then displaying them at the end of each run. Unfortunately, these tend to be utterly dull, as they're usually pictures of you concentrating on trying not to hate the game.

Kung Fu Rider takes place over roughly six levels - we say roughly, as we're not entirely sure of the exact number, due to the fact that each level is repeated over and over and over again. Eventually you'll fully unlock each environment, allowing you to scoot around without fear of death, and find collectables for unlocking extra rides. There are multiple routes to discover, and collecting everything is the closest to satisfying that Kung Fu Rider gets.

It's for this reason that, despite all its faults, we found ourselves coming back to Kung Fu Rider a good few times. Looking past the awkward Move controls, there's always a sense that you could do better with just a little more practice and the perfect trick line. Like Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam before it, you could potentially play the same levels many times trying for better and better scores, but the shoddy execution puts a huge downer on the action.

BREAKING NEWS: Idiot on trolly kicks tiny mafia man in face
Kung Fu Rider is definitely not as funny as it thinks it is, and not really much fun either. It controls like a sausage dog on wheels, and sounds even worse than one. Yet there's always that underlying feeling that if someone actually did this concept properly, the addictive qualities might shine through and provide a worthwhile experience.

Top Game Moment: Hitting someone and watching the pain on Toby's annoying face.

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