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3DS  header logo

Johnny Kung Fu

For: 3DS

Crystal meh

Product: Johnny Kung Fu | Developer: UFO Interactive Games | Publisher: UFO Interactive Games | Format: 3DS | Genre: Party/ mini- games, Platform, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Johnny Kung Fu 3DS, thumbnail 1
Throwback visual design continues to be a hallmark of this generation. From VVVVVV to Wizorb, independent developers have used archaic graphics to elicit warm glows of nostalgia.

At times, Johnny Kung Fu goes further back than the 8- or 16-bit days, right back to LCD games like those on the Game & Watch. Unfortunately, it doesn't get the look quite right. Moreover, the mechanics accompanying these sections are archaic, and the moments when it attempts anything modern feel just as decrepit.

Is her name Sylvia?

Here's the story: you are Johnny Kung Fu, your girlfriend is being held hostage in a tower block, and you have to save her. It's classic old-timey video game setup.

As you progress through the floors, kicking the ass of martial arts goons, you'll run through a few different modes of play. The most notable of these are based on LCD games, leaning very heavily on Nintendo's efforts in that field of technology.

A platforming section that's very reminiscent of Donkey Kong leads the charge, with you moving from one section to another with a series of left and right button-presses and bomb-vaulting jumps. There's no animation between these different sections - you inhabit predefined spaces on the screen (just like in an LCD game) and make your way to the exit.

Like the rest of the title, it's tougher than overcooked leather boots. 

Other retro sequences are just as basic. One presents two numbers on the screen, and if your score is higher you hit the 'punch' button, while if it's lower you try and dodge.

Another is a version of Game & Watch classic Ball, bizarrely pushed through the filter of a Dreamcast VMU-esque system, where you need to keep a few bombs in the air. These all look fine, but they're a little too sharp and detailed for the formats they're emulating, giving everything an odd look.

Bimmy Lee

It's the Double Dragon-inspired modern sequences that hurt the title most, though. Scraps go on for far too long and there's no finesse to the combat, making for long grinds through cut-and-paste enemies. They also play totally differently to the other game types on offer, further affecting the flow of an already fragmented title.

Johnny Kung Fu is a reminder that technology in the games business has moved on for a reason – to produce better experiences. It's a great idea in principle, but executed in a way that doesn't take into account the inherent problems of the LCD format. 
Johnny Kung Fu
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 17 August 2012
Novel and at times rather pretty, yet also banal and ugly, only die-hard fans of LCD games need take on this disappointing downloadable
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