If you’ve been stuck at a loose end with your Kinect Sensor and wondering if there ever was going to be a game that can tick all the boxes for being Fun, Entertaining, Great Visuals, less child orientated and something that truly puts you personally in the game as you not only become the controller – but the character too, then Kung-Fu High Impact should rank at the top of your list for the must-have Kinect game this holiday period. For gamers who don’t want to dance, lose weight, talk to virtual animals or play competitive sports with their Kinect, but want something considered more ‘blokey’ and outrageously funny where you can just jump in and fight your way through your own campaign – this is for you!
Developed by the Virtual Air Guitar Company, Kung-Fu High Impact is a game using the power of your Kinect Sensor with the use of their fantastic FreeMotion technology to place you as the hero within your own Comic Book. Literally watch yourself before your very own eyes be immersed into a Kung-Fu world and not your Xbox LIVE Avatar, not some other represented image that mimics the response of your arms and legs, but YOU! Your whole body is captured and shown on screen as if you were in the game all along as well as all the comic style cut-scenes that introduce each chapter. Now you can admire yourself as an aspiring Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan in the privacy of your own home, but please do mind the furniture – you wouldn’t want to hurt yourself!
When the game starts, you can choose to play through the Story Mode on Normal or Hard settings, create your own Custom Fight Solo and Multiplayer enabled, view your Stats or fiddle with the options to enhance your game play experience. But before we get into all of that, now is just as good a time as any to mention how great the menu selection controls are with a simple swipe of the left or right hand. Unlike a lot of other Kinect games, where you must position a hand in the air on a marker and then swipe or hold; Kung-Fu High Impact simply recognises what is your left hand and your right hand and you just make your choice and swipe effortlessly. This is a system I’d like to see in most Kinect titles as it’s less frustrating to select your options because it doesn’t matter where your hands are placed.
Story Mode – this is where you get to battle your way through fourteen chapters of mayhem and be the hero in your own Comic Book style world. As previously mentioned, the inclusion of your own self being scanned directly into the game real-time from head to toe is just the beginning, what’s even cooler than that – ( I know, how could you top that!) you also have the ability to take any real world object with you and use it as your weapon! It doesn’t need to be scanned, added to a library – just pick it up and fight with it, simple as that. From toothbrush to toilet brush, a hammer, axe or even in an act of desperation take off your top and whip it. It all counts and could save your virtual life. Since this is Kung-Fu, it goes without saying that you can kick and punch your enemy also if you don’t fancy your chances of beating down a boss with a tv remote. It is very responsive, if not the most responsive Kinect game ever played for controls, and quick jumps in the air with short impulsive moves to the left or right side can send your character somersaulting so you can flip, punch, kick and perform additional combo moves to rack up those points.
At the start of each chapter, before the comic book story presents itself on screen, you are prompted to perform a handful of different poses and then from what is captured you are placed directly into the cut scenes. Some of which are just outright funny because you wouldn’t expect a certain pose to be used in that way, they look great and add extra fun to the game. Many times this made me laugh so much that I’ve had to take screenshots to share with friends on social networking sites to show them how amazing this game is and what it can do with the Kinect Sensor. After the comic book cut scenes are over, you are then placed in the middle of the chapter awaiting your steady stream of enemies. Fighting at first will feel a little strange because of the 2d environments and your own real life space. Whilst you need to kick and punch enemies coming at you from the left and the right side of the screen, you also feel a need to keep your eyes on the screen, but use your body as if the enemy was really by your left or right side. It’s not over awkward and is quick to master, but will feel a bit strange at first. You can at times also predict where the enemies are heading if they get too close and performing some combo punches with force without looking at the screen shouldn’t hinder your performance too much.
The chapters you play within the story are all very well designed in 2D and have a great retro feel too in sharp, crisp HD glory; my instant first impression was that this game was going to be like ‘Streets of Rage’, the old classic I spent many hours button mashing in the days of the SEGA MegaDrive. Playing Kung-Fu High Impact, does feel like a classic 2D side scrolling beat ‘em up without the controllers and more freedom, but it can become quite physical towards the later chapters. Unless you are super fit, there’s no way you could play through more than three or four chapters at a time without taking a break. The game thankfully features a handy auto-save, so do not despair… you can take a much needed rest if you need to without losing your place within the game – thankfully the developers did not turn this into a Tekken style progression based game where you have to start from scratch after your failures.
If you wish to take a break from the campaign with a quick jump-in fight, or want to challenge your friends and family then you can with Custom Fight creator from the Main Menu. Featuring a Mayhem Designer where you can create your own fight to suit your own rules with varying difficulties, playing fields, rounds and enemy waves – the choice is entirely yours with the same great fun factor. Whilst the game doesn’t feature its own Online Multiplayer modes, it does allow you to play with up to four other players on your own console. One person can jump straight into the fight using Kinect, as the other four can then select their representative on-screen characters and fight to the death with their controllers. Alternatively if you fancy your chances and feeling a little more energetic, you can try any one of the Survival modes where just like any other game with Survivor – your goal is to win as many rounds as you can by killing the oncoming horde of enemies. Your Personal Bets Score is logged nicely in the My Stats area for bragging rights later!
With the way that you can fight naturally in your own unique style and perform special moves by matching your body shape to trigger the action is just pure Kinect genius in Kung-Fu High Impact. When it comes to Kinect and its body tracking powers, a fighting game was naturally going to use your arms and legs as the main weapon against your opponents or enemies – but by adding Super Powers so that you can fly, shake the ground with brute force, fire arrows or shoot lightning at your enemies from your very own hands, as well as placing you directly in the game itself makes Kung-Fu High Impact a fighting force to be reckoned with. It’s a fantastic game for the whole family, but more appealing for men who know their Kinect can do something better than Zumba.
Kung-Fu High Impact was played in both small and large living spaces where the Kinect Sensor was able to accurately respond to all body movements from as little as 5ft away. To ensure your whole body is seen within the game from head to toe it is recommended to be at just over 6ft away, but depending on your Kinect placement it’s easy to adjust the Kinect viewing angle from within the game using the Kinect Tuner.
A highly recommended title from thisisxbox.com which is available in stores now across North America and Europe (Coming to UK in Feb 2012)