Kung Fu Strike is an intensely stylized arcade beat’em’up drawing masses of inspiration from Chinese martial arts movies and ancient fables of revenge. It’s a promising concept – Power Stone style over the top arcade combat against masses of enemies all tied together by beautiful graphics that look as if they’ve leapt straight from the source material itself. So Kung Fu Strike has a lot of potential from the very beginning.
The immediate problem with games that throw the modesty card out of the window in favour of taking routes more flashy is that they create potential pitfalls for themselves in that it makes it all too easy to expect too much of it. This is a £7.99 Steam game after all, not a big budget AAA title, and all too often these games don’t achieve quite as much as they could. Thankfully , Kung Fu Strike delivers.
The game is built around an exceptionally simple combat system built around the J,K and L keys paired with the space bar. You mix together attacks and build up combos with an easy to learn but hard to master combat system that’s tough enough to stay challenging and interesting throughout. It feels fluid and arcade-y, every punch and kick connects with satisfying feedback, and most importantly, it’s completely balanced. There are no cheap shots and while the hero General Loh is almost always outnumbered it’s always possible to overcome the odds. Enemies come in huge amounts of variation but the combat system is adaptable enough to deal with any threat once you’ve got the hang of it, and I found it hard not feel like a kung-fu badass despite the fact that I was staring at a screen pressing a handful of buttons to kick pixels in the face. It does an excellent job of presenting itself like an arcade game and the over the top martial arts movies influences shine through.
The graphics are a perfect complement, resting halfway between cel-shaded and traditional Chinese tapestry paintings, but strangely enough the game doesn’t support HD at a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which on bigger screens makes the game look a little cramped and weird – everything stays in proportion but the game could look so much better with higher resolutions supported – in this day and age, it’s just weird not to have the support there.
Loh’s combat skills are enhanced by an expansive upgrades selection and armoury that can be used to maximise your play style. For example, if you just love to go berserk and throw caution to the wind you can use the armoury to make Loh tougher and more damaging, if you prefer technique you can choose and upgrade a series of different fighting styles to suit that too. As you progress you’ll unlock the ability to summon allies to the arenas you battle through, which will either provide you with meat shields to distract the nastier enemies or valuable additions to the way you play – most aspects of the game can easily be repurposed on the fly to suit your needs.
The game has an awesome take on multiplayer too – it’s played on the same PC, one player with the keyboard, the other with a gamepad – which puts PC multiplayer back in the same room and takes away all the hassle of matchmaking. You can play Versus or Co-Op, the latter being the more suited to multiplayer simply due to the way the game’s levels are designed. The game would be just as appealing without the multiplayer but it’s definitely a welcome addition, as you can play any levels you’ve previously completed in single player, giving you a reason to go back and tackle them again. Having another player adds another level of depth to the combat as you learn how to synchronise strikes and bounce particularly tough foes between you , resulting in a really old-school gaming experience it’s hard not to love. So if you miss the days when games were challenging and want a trip back into beat’em’up nostalgia, this is a great game to have in your collection with very few complaints and mass amounts of quality content.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.