iPhone – Kung Fu Panda 2: Be The Master Review
If imitation is the highest form of flattery then it must follow that the developers of THQ’s Kung Fu Panda 2: Be The Master absolutely love Doodle Jump and Fruit Ninja as they have in essence copied those games so well that you would expect a team of lawyers to descend immediately on THQ’s head office. Make no mistake, Kung Fu Panda 2: Be The Master is certainly a fun and enjoyable title but it in no way adds a modicum of originality outside of its glossy veneer and expensive movie license.
Kung Fu Panda 2: Be The Master currently contains two primary modes of play the first named “Paws of Fury” which is a clone of Fruit Ninja where the goal is to use your finger in a slicing motion to split training dummies of different sizes in two while avoiding beehives filled with honey. As expected, these objects are thrown onto the screen starting with relatively easy formations of dummies and gradually becoming tougher and tougher as dummies and beehives are mixed together. The player starts with three lives but loses one each time a training dummy manages to exit the screen unscathed. Additionally, slicing one beehive will cause bees to swarm out and immediately end the game.
The game throws a few extra wrinkles such as hourglasses that when sliced slow down motion to a crawl making it easier to skewer training dummies while avoiding beehives. Other items include bowls of dumplings which don’t really do anything at all but go towards earning certain achievements. There is no real gameplay goal other than to obtain a higher score or figure out ways in which to get bigger combo scores by slicing as many dummies in one motion as possible.
By now, Fruit Ninja veterans will realize just how close this mode is to the original game but while “Paws of Fury” certainly looks better due to some snazzy 3D graphics and sharper textures it is missing all the other modes found in Fruit Ninja such as Time Attack. Because of this, “Paws of Fury” gets old quickly as it is basically nothing more than Fruit Ninja’s Classic mode. There aren’t any other extra features such as changing the dojo background or Po’s slicing animation.
The other gameplay mode is called “Feet of Fury” and again it is basically a homage (or rip-off if you want to use another descriptor) to Doodle Jump where players utilize the device’s tilt controls to guide an automatically jumping Po to leap from ledge to ledge up a never ending vertical landscape. Along the way there are numerous obstacles to avoid such as crumbling ledges and robotic dummies which will cause Po to fall back to the ground and end the game. However, there are also a plethora of powerups such as giant stilts that cause Po to leap higher or a rocket chair of fireworks like in the original film.
While Doodle Jump had a very charming childish art style, “Feet of Fury” is all 3D and looks quite stunning especially since Po’s ascent is marked by lush flowing waterfalls. Po himself is very well animated with a variety of poses as he bounces up from ledge to ledge sometimes using his feet or his backside.
The goal of this mode is just to beat your high score and see how far up Po can jump before missing a ledge and plummeting to the ground. Don’t fret as there is nothing violent for kids as Po merely disappears at the bottom of the screen so there’s thankfully no Panda mess to clean up. However, as nice as the graphics are the gameplay can get exasperatingly dull after a few playthroughs especially for those players who are already Doodle Jump (or other similar games) veterans as there is nothing remotely original here to differentiate gameplay. While the controls are spot on and the graphics are fluid whenever I messed up and had to start another game I encountered a weird bout of slow down and jerky motion as Po began his ascent again. Thankfully, it disappeared after a few successful jumps but it’s annoying nonetheless.
Kung Fu Panda 2: Be The Master is Apple Game Center enabled with a sizeable 42 achievements to earn but unfortunately most of them are not linked to skill but rather to mind-numbing grinding such as racking up 4 million total feet in the feet of fury mini game or slicing 300 hourglasses. As such, achievement fans are going to have to expect a long slog if they intend to obtain all 42 medals.
Options are par for the course with sliders to control music and sound effect volume as well as language support for English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. There’s also Facebook integration if you choose to brag about it on your personal wall. On the plus side, the game is a universal app so it will look great on both the iPhone/iPod Touch as well as the iPad.
Kung Fu Panda 2: Be The Master has two empty scrolls emblazoned with large “Coming Soon” text implying that there are two more mini games yet to be enabled. What they are and when they are coming is a mystery although if both included modes are any indication then the next ones will probably center around gameplay that is similar to other iOS hit games. Kung Fu Panda Tower Defense? Kung Fu Panda Flight Control? Who knows but as the game is essentially not complete it is hard to score it properly. However, based on what is included the game is mildly entertaining especially if one likes the license. The graphical fidelity is certainly appreciated but it is still disappointing to find many new iOS game releases are nothing more than “copies” of other hit titles. Kids might have a blast controlling Po for a while but just don’t expect them to be glued to this game for an extended period of time.
Final Score: **1/2
Reviewed On: iPhone 4
Date: June 13, 2011
Reviewed Version: 1.1.01
Size: 18.2 MB
© 2011 The Galactic Pillow