With the release of Kung-Fu Panda hitting our cinema screens this coming March, it seems only fitting that we are treated with a new game featuring everyone’s favourite butt-kicking, loveable and chubby panda Po.  In previous Kung-Fu Panda titles we’ve had the button basher brawler variety, however with the latest instalment, Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends; it has taken the Super Smash Bros route.  Several games have tried to replicate the iconic Nintendo multiplayer beat ‘em ‘up, but they have been somewhat unsuccessful with their approach, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal being a prime example of such fails.

So does Legendary Legends succeed where others have failed?  In short, no.  While it’s a joy to play as one of 24 characters and in one of 15 interactive locations taken from the movies (including the 3rd) and the TV series, the slow and somewhat sluggish gameplay soon becomes a chore.  The controls are very simplified and it can become a mission in its self in trying to land moves on the CPU with punches and kicks making contact more with the digital air, rather than an opponent’s face.

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The main aim of each match is to knock your opponent off the stage as much as possible before the match ends.  The player with the most knockouts (so to speak) wins the game. You will also find various pick-ups in each fight to give you an advantage and the multi-layered stages will evolve throughout.   With the level design and gameplay taking clear inspiration from Super Smash Bros, it’s hard not to draw comparisons.  In fairness being a gamer over 30, I’m perhaps not the target audience that this game intends (though I do love the Kung Fu Panda movies and TV series) and while I quickly got bored with this title, my 4 year old son loves it.

The modes to Legendary Legends are also about as basic as the gameplay and has lack of depth when it comes to choice.  For your singleplayer offerings, you have the main mode which is the Tournament of Legends.  Here you will battle it out in your favourite Kung Fu Panda locations against instantly recognisable enemies.  During the series of matches in the tournament, there will also be a variety of 1vs.1, 2vs.2 and 1vs1vs1.  There is no real story to the tournament mode; it’s a basic principle of fighting right up until the very end.  You can also choose a Tutorial and Practice modes to help refine your combat skills.

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There is also a Versus mode where you have free reign on the type of match you choose, from the number of combatants, match types (which includes a very fitting “All you Can Eat” mode), time limit, pick-ups and more.  If you have a friend nearby, you can also have a match using the 3DS’s Local Wireless functionality.  Sadly as I only have one 3DS in my household, I was unable to check out this feature.  However, what I do find a crying shame about Legendary Legends is that there seems to be no online multiplayer option, which just seems odd for this particular genre of game.

One of the games strongest assets is arguably its visuals.  Each and every character, and location from the franchise are instantly recognisable and each of the levels make good use of the 3DS’s 3D feature.  And while the characters are not voiced by their movie actors, the voice-cast brought in for this game do a wonderful in sounding almost identical to their movie counterparts.

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Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends is a game not aimed for the older gamer, as I have found out.  While it takes inspiration from Super Smash, it’s clearly targeting a different audience, yet comparisons to its Nintendo counterpart are inevitable.  However, as witnessed by my four year old son, the simplified controls and modes makes it very easy for him to pick up and play.  But while I would not be open to my son playing online just yet, it does seem very odd and a missed opportunity that the 3DS version of the game is lacking online multiplayer.

As previously stated, I myself am a fan of the Kung Fu Panda movies, but that wasn’t enough for me to enjoy this game.  So if you’re after some Kung Fu Panda gaming charm that replicates the superb Super Smash Bros gameplay, you may be sadly disappointed.  However, if you have a young one in your family, this could make for an ideal introduction to the iconic Nintendo fighting series.

  • Editor Note: The Screenshots used in this review are not taken from the Nintendo 3DS version.


Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake and you can check out my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/solidus5nake