KungFu Panda - DS - Review

KungFu Panda - DS
Ages: Everyone 10+

It's probably the most beautiful side scroller I have ever played. The artwork as Po moves through temples, huts, gardens, villages, passes under tori gates, show such detail that you want to pause and touch them. Like the main protagonist - this is a fat side scroller. While the action is 2D, the scenes are wonderfully rendered in 3D.

All fighting moves are done with the stylus, and as the game progresses, so are the fighting techniques. Some are more spectacular than others - leaping monkey technique grabs objects in mid air. B turns Po into a ball which allows him to get under low barriers, but more importantly quickly move to other locations. This sided scroller has lots of back and forth-ing. A map on the upper screen checks off areas that you have been to. When you have to back through some areas - the rolling ball Po is very effective.

The player will need to push buttons and use the stylus simultaneously to get thought some of the more difficult fights. There are simple moves, special moves and embellishments upon special moves, like holding the stylus at the end of a move to increase the power. The game is uneven in that it starts out so slowly that you keep on wondering were the action is. Once it starts there is plenty engage the player, from deciphering the map to figuring out entrances and exits, to leaping platforms, to working mini-puzzles like weighting switches and battling opponents. However, the bosses are too hard for a game that targets children as its intended players.

Also, the games departs from the standard concept of providing easy, repeatable and accessible information on how to play the game. It has provided game information almost solely through the screen. The manual is basically devoid of instructions, essentially only defining move, jump and Panda Ball. There is a note on the bottom of the page: "Slide and tap the Touch Screen to attack foes and interact with objects". On the screen, informational dialog simply vanishes without the player pressing A or even able to go back with the B button - woe be to the slow reader. If the instructions are missed on the screen and they are not in the "manual", there is going to be lots of frustrated button mashing.

Were they too lazy to write an instruction manual - or has the population so lost the ability to read that text was felt to be unnecessary?

Fun Factor: Almost enough to get you to go out and see the movie
Female Factor: non-existant
Player Friendly: Lack of instruction could result in frustrating players

Reviewed by: Editor - 05/08

  • Kung Fu Panda
  • © Activision
  • Platform(s): GBDS
  • To Order: GBDS http://www.amazon.com/ $30.61