We all know about the genre that isn’t really a genre. The “One More Time” genre is solely responsible for massive break-ups and layoffs of gamers worldwide. I love this fake genre. The games within it unleash the ultimate competitor within me. It gives me this urge to do better. It compels me to play more, and it doesn’t matter if I have something more important to do at the moment. It doesn’t matter if I have to be at work in exactly ten minutes. It doesn’t matter if my wife and child have been patiently waiting in the car. I know that if I do one more quick match, I’ll beat my high score. Just one more hit…I mean one more match…and now, my wife and child are no longer outside. Whoops.
Kung Fury: Street Rage – The Arcade Strikes Back is a side-scrolling, action-arcade style beat ’em up. It is based off of the 2015 movie short Kung Fury and features voice acting from the original cast, as well as enemy designs and music straight from the movie. It was published and developed by Hello There Games, and released on August 11, 2015.
Before I get into the review, I have a few quick side notes regarding the Kung Fury movie…
Kung Fury the movie is…
- An epic homage/parody of 80’s films.
- The dialogue is purposefully terrible and hilarious.
- It is an ultra cheesy, over the top, steaming pile of awesome.
There Can Be Only ONE…Mode
When Kung Fury: Street Rage – The Arcade Strikes Back originally launched, it was pretty bare. There was only one mode available to play (endless) along with only one character (the legend himself, Kung Fury). In endless mode, you are tasked with surviving for as long as possible while racking up points utilizing the multiplier. If you want to get really fancy and top the simulated leader boards (more on that later), you have to survive for as long as possible without getting hit. Taking damage has devastating consequences for those attempting a high score. For example, in the video I have linked below, I was on a roll and coasting with a x93 multiplier. I took one shot to the face, and my multiplier quickly fell to a measly x23.
Health comes in the form of little hearts that are visible at the top of your screen; the hearts represent how many times you are allowed to get hit in one playthrough. Most of the time, if you are hit once, you must brace yourself for a quick two-piece combo because enemies are relentless and attack you from both sides with various attack patterns. Some of them die with a single hit; however, for some of them it takes multiple attacks, and they can make things difficult by disappearing and reappearing on the other side of you.
The “endgame” comes in the form of a simulated leader board that gives you goals in the form of point totals to achieve. It’s presented to you in the same way high scores are at an arcade. You can absolutely tell these are fake scores though, which brings me to my first complaint. Why does this game not have online leader boards? The only way to find out if you are rubbish at the game is to join a Kung Fury community. I feel as if that is unnecessary legwork for a game of this type. The game originally launched with only an endless mode (essentially score attack) with no way to compare scores to others. Until you get good at the game, the high score on the fake leader board is seemingly a monumental task that takes skill to beat. However, once you join a Kung Fury community, reality sets in. You realize you are in fact rubbish, but if you try one more time, you just might get there.
Street Rage – The Arcade Strikes Back
Shockingly, in December of 2015, Hello There Games released DLC entitled The Arcade Strikes Back that changed the game significantly. The DLC included 3 new playable characters: Barbarianna, Hackerman, and Triceracop (all characters from the Kung Fury movie). All three characters play extremely different from each other and take some serious practice to master. They can all be used in both the endless and story mode, and each character has a different amount of hearts (lives).
The Arcade Strikes Back story mode is a welcome addition, but it isn’t really anything to get too excited about. It’s not a direct sequel to the movie but serves as more of a filler episode. After the events of the movie, Kung Fury and friends are heading to the beach for a relaxing day when they are attacked by an arcade machine. The arcade machine has trapped them inside of it, so the crew must defeat the machine and collect the pieces of its motherboard so that Hackerman can hack them to the actual beach.
Pros regarding the story mode:
- It can be challenging
- You get to use all of the new characters, including Kung Fury
- It features voice acting from the original cast
I can’t help but feel that the story mode does more bad than good though. The first issue is the boss fight/fights. Each level of the story mode forces you to play as one of the characters. Honestly, It really feels like a training mode to introduce each character and their fighting styles. You have to battle your way through a predetermined number of waves before confronting the final boss of each stage. The glaring issue here is that you fight the same boss every time. The only difference is every time you beat him he gains a new ability making him increasingly difficult. The fights can be extremely frustrating and borderline cheap because of his crazy small hitbox.
Not only do you fight the same boss, the entire story mode is the same recycled level from the original endless mode. It would’ve been nice to add levels pertaining to the characters from the movie. They could’ve recreated the police station from the movie for Triceracop, or it would’ve been nice to visit Barbarianna’s homeland for her respective level. Overall, it was underwhelming and does little to make you want to go through it again after completing it.
What’s The Word?
I would like to wrap up the review and sum up my experience with the game with one word. RHYTHMIC. I admit this is an unusual word choice and may seem odd to my fellow Kung Fury brethren, but hear me out. When I say rhythmic, I don’t mean that this is a rhythm game. But in order to be successful you have to establish a sort of rhythm. Once you learn the enemy patterns and begin to progress further through the onslaught of waves the game throws at you, you will feel yourself getting into a sort of groove. I love the fluidity of the gameplay. The enemies do swarm, but it never seems unfair. Any mistake is yours to own, and you immediately understand what you did wrong. You are given enough time to recognize which enemy type appears on the screen, and immediately you are able to flow into an attack pattern.
Left, Left, Right
Left Left, Right again.
Your brain constantly processes information as your fingers slowly dance across the controller. You begin to flow seamlessly from one enemy to the next. Once the rhythm and groove are mastered, you will feel like an unstoppable force.
This is a great game to play solo, but an even better party game to play with friends. Palms get sweaty as you try to best your drunk pals seemingly unbeatable score. It feeds that competitive fire in us all and should not be overlooked.
Kung Fury: Street Rage – The Arcade Strikes Back is currently priced at i$3.99 in the PlayStation store, and it is worth every penny and more. Do yourself a favor and pick it up. I still enjoy it to this day.
Hello There Games is an award winning Swedish indie game studio. They are known for their collaborations with AVICII which produced games such as INVECTOR and Gravity. If you enjoy Kung Fury: Street Rage – The Arcade Strikes Back, maybe check out another PS4 title they worked on, She Wants Me Dead.
Here’s the Kung Fury: Street Rage – The Arcade Strikes Back Trailer
Here’s game play of me attempting the final trophy (200x combo). This is a good example of what I meant by establishing a rhythm. Everything was going well until my wonderful wife unknowingly walked in front of the television…love ya babe!!!
About the Author: Phil Purkett Jr. Founder and Creator of Some Guy in Space. Second of his name. Real cool dude.
If you enjoyed the article, do me a favor and like, share, comment, or subscribe to the blog for more content. Your interactions give us motivation and encouragement. Thanks!