Brady Bunch Kung Fu Hands-On

Here's the story/of the Family Brady/and their frat-ri-cidal mobile fighting game...

GDC Mobile, San Francisco--Love them or hate them, it's hard to contest the fact that The Brady Bunch collectively has become one of the pillars of American popular culture. Now, thanks to an upcoming fighting game from Mobliss, you'll have a chance to reduce that pillar to rubble with a barrage of kicks, uppercuts, and fireballs. The Brady Bunch are trading in their renowned esprit de corps for a bit of cartoonlike infighting, Street Fighter style. We had an opportunity to go a round or two with a beta version of Brady Bunch Kung Fu at GDC Mobile, and we think that this fighting game has a lot of potential, even with its strangely incongruous licensing.

A lot of mobile games simply don't make very good use of their licensed characters. Brady Bunch Kung Fu isn't one of them. Each of the game's eight fighters (Mike Brady has been replaced by Alice due to licensing issues) has been rendered into a vibrant fighting machine by an Image Comics artist. For example, the leisure-suit-clad Greg bulges with muscles and uses techniques inspired by disco dancing, while Cindy is depicted as a levitating Zen master who performs all of her attacks and blocks with her doll. The characters are huge, and they ripple with animations and personality. They're so big, in fact, that Brady Bunch Kung Fu will actually have to stream the characters dynamically over the network. Although we only played on a single stage--the Brady living room--Mobliss representatives told us that the final game would have five or six fighting venues inspired by various classic episodes, including the backyard, the kitchen, and possibly even the Grand Canyon.

Brady Bunch Kung Fu's fighting mechanics have been borrowed from the Shado Fighter school of design--eminent simplicity, in other words. Two-key combinations will execute special moves, and blocking is automatic. Still, the designers are hoping to go one better on Shado Fighter by introducing smarter artificial intelligence for computer-controlled characters. This area of the game still requires a lot of tuning, so it remains to be seen how the relative difficulty of the game will shake out.

All in all, Brady Bunch Kung Fu proved to be a pleasant surprise. Mobliss apparently scrapped much of the game's original design and opted for a new visual style midcourse, and it seems like this tough decision is paying off. Brady Bunch Kung Fu is due out around the beginning of June. Check back then for the full review.

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