Your Kung-Fu is weak.
Even before the days of the original Katamari Damacy and the underground hit Incredible Crisis, America has had an almost cult-like fascination with those odd, quirky Japanese-made games that seem to bend our concepts of what a game should be and turn genres on their head. Kung-Fu Rider tries to carry on this fine tradition onto a new generation of consoles with a Playstation Move twist, but ultimately, sadly fails in recapturing that old-school arcade goodness it so blatantly strives for.
[image1]Conceptually, you'd think this would be a home run. You play as a young man or alternatively, and much more likely, a pretty young Japanese girl who, as the very loose and hardly-there-at-all plot explains, have been caught in the middle of some mobster hijinks involving their new job. And now their only means of escape is to travel downhill while riding on various wheeled objects, such as a office chair, vacuum cleaner, or baby walker. As you travel down the road, you avoid objects and road hazards and use some rudimentary chair-style kung-fu to defeat yakuza that get in your way.
Sounds like a blast doesn't it? And it is... for the first 10 minutes. After that, it's just mostly the same thing over and over again. Sure, there are alternate routes here and there, but you've pretty much done and seen it all quicker than you can say “insert coin to continue” and in all honesty, that's really where this game belongs: in an arcade somewhere during the late '90s or early 2000s. Yes, games like Crazy Taxi were able to make the jump from cabinet to console while still retaining a lot of what made it great, but Kung-Fu Rider just doesn't have the same variety or any variation on missions. Every time you play CT, you pick up different passengers and go to different locations; here, you just slide down the same two or three hills an obnoxious number of times.
[image2]On top of that, the control scheme has some serious issues. Unlike the Wii, however, all the fault seems to be with the game's control scheme rather than the controller itself. Making a sharp turn is next to impossible, and the line drawn between jumping and dashing gestures is extremely thin. The shoddy controls do nothing but slow everything down and take away from the intense nature of the time-sensitive downhill jam.
At least you won't have to suffer long as Kung-Fu Rider clocks in at about 4 hours or so of gameplay. Sure, you could go back and try for “S” rankings on all the courses to add some replay value, but even then you'd only be doing it to justify the price tag. This little gem comes in at $39.99, but has the length and novelty of something you would download off of the Playstation Network. The only reason you should buy it is if you're some sort of quirky-game Japanophile who buys weird stuff just because it's from a chain of islands in the Northern Pacific Ocean. Those of us who aren't Otaku should just go play Crazy Taxi or Rez.