The rivalry between Dreamworks and Pixar is well documented, with both studios battling for mind and dollar share in the animated film arena. Three years ago Dreamworks released Kung Fu Panda, a story about an anthropomorphic martial arts mammal, and it proved enough of a success for the company to justify a sequel. With the follow-up film due out on June 23 of this year, we managed to get our hands on an early version of Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game.
Not surprisingly for a tie-in movie game, story plot details are being kept hush-hush for now. What we do know so far is that the game is set after the events of the second film and will follow Po and the Furious Five as they attempt to take on a new threat facing their home.
The Xbox 360 version of the game that we saw was playable only with the Kinect's motion-sensing camera and included a range of minigames. We picked a fighting game called Free Fight, and before we got into the fray, we first needed to navigate the menus--simple enough. All we needed to do was swipe around using our left hand to make a selection, before punching at the screen with a right jab to lock it in. The game was straight brawling and put us head-to-head against a gang of angry-looking alligator martial artists hell-bent on taking Po down.
Despite outnumbering us considerably, we were only ever prompted to fight a single gator at a time. Even at the highest difficulty, we didn't find the game particularly challenging as we palmed off attackers, though it's clear that the game is being targeted at a younger audience. During combat, the game recommended new moves to try via an icon box at the bottom of the screen, but we were able to get by recycling the same basic gestures. The game appeared to follow a pattern where we would throw two or three strikes, block once, and then get back to swinging. We were able to hold our own using basic kicks and punches to take out our opponents, but every so often the game would prompt us to yell out "Tigris, attack!" which would then tag Po's friend Tigris to join the skirmish and perform a combo move.
Fighting isn't the only activity that you will be undertaking in Kung Fu Panda 2, and our guide confirmed that there will be other minigames, including one that has you ducking under virtual objects being thrown, and jumping around the room.
From our brief look at the game, Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game seems like it could be a fun minigame compilation for younger gamers based on the popular panda franchise. It's a very different take on the previous game's platforming focus, and we're eager to see some of the other modes the title has to offer before it launches on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS in June to coincide with the film. Stay tuned for our full review soon.