Xbox 360

  All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Kung Fu Panda: A Paws-On Preview

Company: Activision

Kung Fu Panda has all the markings of a standard action/platformer, and while it doesn't look like the game will stray too far from standard gameplay features, what I've played of it was still a lot of fun. Despite the fact that it is a license title (which are notoriously bad), fans of both the genre and the upcoming film should definitely keep an eye out for it.

For most of the game, you will follow Po, a panda with a dream. Literally in fact, the first level is a daydream Po has about being "The Dragon Warrior," a legendary fighter who rights wrongs, fights bad guys and does general goodness around the land. As Po, you will have a wide variety of moves from your standard weak and strong attacks, to Panda specific moves like the Iron Belly and the Panda Stumble (where you turn into a ball and roll at opponents). All of your moves can be upgraded to make them either more effective or cost less Chi. Or you can spend your points unlocking several different costumes for Po (including the Dragon Warrior costume).

In Kung Fu Panda, you will not only play a good number of levels following Po's training and eventual ascendance to Dragon Warrior-dom, but you will also get the chance to play as several other characters from the movie like Master Tigress or their master Shifu. Each character has their own play styles, but for the most part, the basic moves are all there, and upgrading abilities for one character, upgrades them for all.

At the end of one level, you will control (sort of) all of the members of the Furious Five (Masters Monkey, Viper, Crane, Mantis and Tiger) as they take on Tai Lung (the antagonist) themselves, despite their master's wishes. This event seems to be indicative of many boss fights in the game since it is comprised of a series of timed-action buttons. You will start off having to just press a single button, but as the characters perform combos on Tai Lung, you will have to tap a series of buttons in specific orders. When done right, the series of attacks and blocks look really good, but I can tell already that this looks to be a segment of the game you will probably be repeating several times.

Immediately following this fight, you will play as Shifu, who has to go rescue the Furious Five since their attack ultimately fails. As Shifu, you will have weaker attacks, but they will be fast, and eventually you will gain the ability to jump from cloud to cloud in order to reach the various imprisoned masters. This semi-frequent change of characters will hopefully keep any one character from getting boring (namely Po), and hopefully keep each level distinct enough for potential replayability.

But Kung Fu Panda isn't all about single-player fun. There is a multiplayer option on the Main Menu, where collectables will open up various types of games. The games available in the demo include a team-based memory game where each team's two characters will select tiles to uncover, hoping for a match. The other game type was a brawler where up to four fighters go head-to-head while a giant ape randomly throws boulders at the field.

Kung Fu Panda reminds me a lot of several action/platformers from the previous generation that I really enjoyed. The visuals are stunning, and while not quite as detailed as what Dreamworks is cooking up, still an amazing sight to behold. Everything from Po, to the flowing swamplands, is just really well done.

It will have an E10+ ESRB rating and ship early June, so fans of the genre that have been looking for something on a next-gen console might want to keep an eye on this game.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

Windows Night of a Million Billion Zombies Windows Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated