Kung Fu Panda Review

Player(s): 1-4

Kung Fu Panda follows the adventure of Po, the panda as he embarks on a journey to become the Dragon Warrior. He joins up with several friends (the Furious Five) along the way while tracking down a prison escapee and attempting to pursue his dream of being a legendary warrior. Kung Fu Panda is based on the Dreamworks animated title of the same name that is out in theaters now.

Much of the gameplay in Kung Fu Panda is presented in the form of action, platform hopping, minor shooting, item collecting and there are a few motion controls that need to be inputted during a few cutscenes here and there. You take on the role of Po, a bulky martial arts panda, for most of the stages. The gameplay opens with an action level then moves on into some very annoying and repetitive training missions. Once the training missions are over, the game moves on with smooth sailing from then on with a variety of platforming and action. There are a few boss fights that require some special techniques in order to find the weakness of the boss. The game will usually inform the player on what to do.

Kung Fu Panda is easy for the most part but it's no cakewalk all the time. There is one stage where you must hop from lily pad to lily pad quickly while sometimes avoiding dynamite that an alligator tosses at you - and these lily pads sink quickly (submersion in water equals an instant defeat). The game also has three modes of difficulty that may be chosen from the main menu for any gamer that wants more of a challenge.

Some of the stages are actually made harder because of the Wii controls. There is one stage where you must guide a bird away from a lurking alligator as the bird carries Po and you must guide the bird by moving the nunchuk. The nunchuk guidance makes this part frustrating since it is not as accurate as using an analog. There are a few other portions like this with the same type of controls that don't control very well because of the Wii motion controls.

A few of Po's moves are also hard to input thanks to the motion controls. Po's light attack is initiated by tapping the B button and you must wave the Wii-mote to perform a heavy attack, so to perform a combo that ends with a heavy attack, you must tap B, B, then wave the Wii-mote for the final hit of the combination. This can be gotten used to but it is sometimes hard to get out during the middle of a battle. The inputs for a few of Po's other moves can be hard to get out as well, but there are some that feel just fine with the Wii remote and Nunchuk controls - his belly splash requires you to move both controls downward while jumping in order to perform it, which works rather well.

Po gains many fighting techniques that may be used through motion controls on the Wii-mote and nunchuk. Each of his techniques and his attributes can be upgraded at the end of a stage by collecting coins. As the game moves into its later stages, you will be allowed to play with other characters, which adds a refreshing sense of variety to the constant Po playing. Sometimes you get to control a new character for an entire stage instead of just one objective.