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Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Switch preview - Hands on with the sequel to one of the worst games ever made

Shaq's back, for some reason

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Product: Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn | Publisher: Wired Productions | Genre: Action
For: Switch
There's something a little disconcerting about getting five minutes into a new game and realising you've essentially seen everything it's going to offer.

But that's exactly what happened during our hands-on with Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn, a sequel to what publishers Wired Productions happily refer to as "one of the worst games ever made".

This new edition is shameless in its humour and 90's brawler influences, but ultimately, it feels like a relic of a different era which didn't need digging up.

Shaq attack

Which isn't to say it's a truly awful game like the original. To be fair to Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn, the actual gameplay is fairly sound.

You have a main attack button which can be chained into a finishing move, and a special attack which fills up as you deal and take damage. You can also dash into enemies to stun them and roll out of the way of any incoming attacks.

Like classic brawlers of yore, you'll walk from left to right, punching waves of enemies in the face until they die, and moving on to the next screen for more face punching.

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Sometimes you'll be kitted out in an overpowered suit of armour which lets you decimate your enemies for a few screens. That makes you feel like a total badass, if only for a short time.

And, of course, you have bosses to contend with, all with their own attack patterns and special moves. You'll need to figure out distinct ways of defeating them and use them on the fly.

Combat is fairly fun, and it's easy to end up in a decent groove and batter enemies with ease with enormous combos, though the endless grind and lengthy levels can be a bit too much.

Class clown

But this is all wrapped up in some incredibly dumb, juvenile humour, which the game seems determined to ram down your throat at every interval.

The bosses in the first level, for instance, are parodies of Chris Brown and Donald Trump - the former of which attacks you while shouting "normally my enemies are women", a joke that wasn't funny back in 2009 and isn't funny now.

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Screenshot

Outside of physical assault jokes, you'll also find endless fourth-wall breaking, dodgy Chinese accents, and insults hurled at Justin Bieber fans - potentially the lowest-hanging fruit in the entire orchard.

It may be inspired by 90's game design, but that doesn't mean the game's depiction of other races and cultures needs to be stuck there with it. Its character designs and voices can only be charitably described as misguided, at best.

Naughty words

All that said, inevitably some folks out there will look to Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn as a last bastion of free speech, and its childish, shallow humour will appeal to those who want to prove how good "offensive" comedy is.

But it's not really offensive, it's just stupid. And it ultimately demeans what is otherwise a solid brawler, with plenty of enemy variation and fresh ideas thrown in to break up the usual slog.

Perhaps the game becomes a little more self-aware as you get deeper into the story, but we wouldn't bet on it. You can find out for yourself when it launches on Switch on June 5th.

Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley 4 June 2018
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