Comic-Con 2010: Kung Fu Rider PreviewBy Stephen Johnson - Posted Jul 23, 2010
One of the great joys of Comic-Con is finding weirdo crap that you never knew you had to have, and last night at Sony's event, I played a game that fit the bizarre bill exactly. You may not have heard of downloadable PSN game Kung Fu Rider -- it was originally called Slider-- so you'd probably think it's some kind of fighting game, just from the title. Yawn, right?
But what if I told you it's a racing game where you play either a harried Japanese salary man or his hot secreatary, and the gameplay involves sitting in a wheeled office chair and sliding down huge, urban hills in Hong Kong, hanging on for dear life as you dodge obstacles and pull off sweet tricks?
You use the PlayStation Move controls to lean left and right, occasionally throwing out an arm to take out bad guys you encounter along the way as well as popping off skater style tricks from your office chair -- you're like the freakin' Tony Hawk of office chairs, doing grinds and flips, if Tony Hawk was a wee Japanese lady in a short, tight skirt.
Yes, that's a totally preposterous idea for a game, but it's got a loopy charm that cannot be denied. The action and characters are so cartoonish and silly, if it doesn't make you laugh and/or shake your head and say "What the hell?" you don't have a soul.
For an office chair racing title, Kung Fu Rider has tight controls, and the silliness is only enhanced by the Move's wave-your-arms-around-like-a-dork control scheme. Deeper gameplay elements include collecting various power-ups and money by careening under obstacles and a power meter that fills gradually through collecting "tickets," so you can bust out show stopping speed boost in order to... I guess get to the bottom of the hill faster. I particulary liked the addition of a small window that shows a close-up of your rider's face -- her reaction to missed tricks, dangerous situations or off-the-chain speed is priceless.
Silliness aside, the physics of the game are very impressive, and the chair controls well-- as well as an out-of-control office chair sliding down a city street could be expect to control, anyway. There's also two-player co-op, so you can slide down a hill with your pal and really show off. Overall, it reminds me of PSN title Pain.
Whether the thin premise will stand up to hours of gameplay is anyone's guess, but isn't really the point. This is the kind of bite-sized title the PlayStation Network was designed for. It comes out in 2010, only on the PlayStation Network.