Going into this review I was very curious to see what a $1.99 promotional video game experience would be like. The price tag alone had me intrigued. I had hoped for the sake of the gamer, and the developer that 'Kung Fury: Street Rage" would be a brawler similar to that of "Streets of Rage". To my dismay though It was nothing like that. It was nothing like the quality indie games former XBLIG developers had made back on the Xbox 360 gaming console, nor was it like the previously mentioned 'Streets of Rage' experience. In fact Hello There AB, the developers behind this movie based action brawler made it as bare bones as they possibly could. I guess they figured bringing back the nostalgia of the 80's arcade experience, and offering little else of new generation standards would suffice. As much as I love the arcade cabinet screen look, and the 80's nod I cannot back this game even at the lowly price of $1.99. I've seen indie developers do more, and ask less for what they have created than what 'Hello There AB' has done. You can't just feed off of a movie's hype, or nostalgia to make yourself known as a proper indie studio. Quality matters even in the indie development scene.
For those of you who are curious about this game it is displayed very much like an old 80's arcade cabinet screen was back in the day. The screen size is scaled down in a tube television format for retro purposes, and the visual imagery looks aged just as it would have been on an older arcade cabinet screen from that era. Upon starting up the game you'll immediately notice the arcade style start-up sequence complete with a 1984 copyright insignia embedded in the legal notices. There are no menus to be found though, and no settings available to tweak. Only a start/insert coin option is put into place for the gamer. Instead of giving the gamer a proper control layout, or tutorial a demo plays immediately once the game starts up much like it would at the arcades, and showcases in the display the simple control scheme that you will be using in-game.
For the controls you'll be utilizing the right, and left directional buttons on the DPad to attack enemies. The right Dpad directional button presses will hit incoming right side enemies while the left Dpad directional button will hit enemies coming in from the left when pressed. What makes the objective of taking out the incoming waves of enemies so hard is that there is no rhyme or reason to the pattern of attackers. They simply swarm in haphazardly, and in odd groupings. They also come in a variety of different enemy types ranging from Nazis to robots, and even ninjas among others things which each take a certain amount of hits to kill depending on type. They even have a unique, and type specific attack/defense. If you ever played Silver Dollar Games' "One Finger Death Punch" you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Only this time it's a two button brawler with the insurmountable odds stacked against the onscreen hero.
Aside from the wave oriented objectives placed before you you will also be trying your hardest to keep the combo count as high as possible. By striking incoming enemies without missing, or being hit your combo bonus multiplier will continue to rise making the point value for each kill you make worth more. If you do miss an enemy with your intended attack, or are hit your combo bonus will be subtracted from. That miss will in turn make it harder for you to reach your intended high score goal. As far as the violence level in 'Kung Fury: Street Rage" goes it does have it's bloody bits, and bodily mutilations. The bloody, and carnage heavy brawls will take you back to that ultra violent 80's arcade experience where games like "N.A.R.C." stirred up controversy. It's not a bad looking game for the style it was made to resemble, but functionally it still falls short due to the unrestricted, and randomly generated enemy activity which will leave you taking more sucker punches than not. The fact that your David Hasselhoff inspired hero can only endure three hits, and has only three hearts of health makes this experience all the more aggravating. It's kind of ironic that "The Hoff" himself is at the bottom ranking of the leaderboard listings.
The Verdict ...
Everything about 'Kung Fury: Street Rage" screams "80's Arcade!!!". There's no doubt about it. Even the sound of the quarter being inserted when you start pays homage to the greatness that was the 80's arcade scene. For those of you curious about the soundtrack it too sounds as if it was ripped from an old arcade cabinet. If you can get past the fact that the game is as bare bones as it is, and don't mind trying to master it's score based focus then you might can enjoy it for the near two dollar cost. Keep in mind it does have PSN trophies for those of you trying to reach the seemingly impossible high score on the game's leaderboard. That in itself might warrant a purchase for all of you trophy hounds out there. I personally feel it could have been much better than it was. I feel the classic "Streets of Rage" approach would have better suited it, and that the current mechanics wouldn't have been so bad if they had of been polished to perfection. It makes me miss "One Finger Death Punch" so bad. For me 'Kung Fury: Street Rage' is a pass.