Whenever a developer decides it’s time for a mashup of genres, I raise an eyebrow! I always wonder if it’ll work, or if it’s even necessary. Kungfu Kickball has blended martial arts, football, and volleyball, to create an eclectic and bizarre title. I’ve played some weird sports titles in my time. I’m looking at you Alpaca Ball: Allstars. However, this has to be up there with one of the strangest combinations.
Developed by Whalefood Games and published by Blowfish Studios, this is a martial art and goal-scoring extravaganza. It can be played solo, against another, or 2v2, as you kick, punch, and headbutt your way to victory. The dated aesthetics and cheery music will transport you to a simpler time and a bygone era.
Kungfu Kickball lacks depth.
When this landed on my desk, I didn’t expect there to be a deep and fulfilling plot. Unfortunately, my concerns were confirmed once I loaded it up. With three game modes to select from and three difficulty settings to overcome, this certainly lacks depth. Kungfu Kickball allows you to pick from an arcade option, tournament, or training. The latter mode lets you pick any unlocked characters and you can experience each of the six stages freely.
Training allows you to play an array of mini-games that should hone your skills. Unfortunately, however, a lack of an explanation forces you to fumble around for the answers. This was poorly executed by the developers and should have been much more thorough. They had an opportunity to explain the fundamentals in a fun way but fell short repeatedly.
The arcade mode is where you’ll spend your time. Here you can work with another gamer or take on the computer alone. You must battle your way across 6 varying stages with only one aim and that is to score more points than your opponent. Ceremonial bells are located at opposite ends of the pitch and you must punch, kick, and headbutt the ball and ring the bell. You are free to beat the snot out of your opponent and anything goes. It’s a brutal free for all that gets messy very quickly.
The tournament mode was both fun and disappointing! It uses the same mechanics as the arcade mode with a couple of exceptions. In this competition, you must fight your way through a knockout tournament. Defeat means you are out, and the game is over. Subsequently, only the best will pick up the crown. Where this mode falls short, however, is its lack of solo action. It can only be tackled with other players and this was absurd. If you have no one to play with, your gameplay options are limited to arcade only, and this isn’t acceptable. The developers have made an error as this seriously undermines both accessibility and the fun factor.
Kungfu Kickball belongs in an arcade.
Whalefood Games clearly love the arcade era, as Kungfu Kickball has been inspired by this style. Its vivid tones, simple and pixelated imagery, and bizarre level design are reminiscent of 80s gaming. Furthermore, the excellent but basic sprites are enjoyable to look at thanks to their unique appearance.
Where the developers have excelled is the great level design. Each of the 6 arenas was fantastic to experience, and each one offered a different challenge. Whether it was pillars and platforms to avoid or sprawling dunes to climb, you had to adjust your approach to win.
You know when you are on hold and you have to listen to awful repetitive music? Well, welcome to the audio of Kungfu Kickball. Its arcade aspirations have negatively impacted its sound quality. The basic but shrill noises would work perfectly in a loud seafront entertainment venue. However, it’s just a little annoying and repetitive when played on a console.
The controls lack explanation.
Fortunately, the simplicity of the action combined with the basic gameplay makes this easy to play. Luckily, this approach pastes over the shortcomings that come with the lack of a tutorial. Sadly, however, it took many matches and some trial and error to discover most of the moves. This was annoying, as a simple list of controls or basic instructions in the training mode would have removed this issue.
Regretfully, the problems don’t end there. No, unfortunately, Kungfu Kickball is sadly lacking replay value unless you have friends to play with. A few hours of solo action are fine, but then you yearn for more. Luckily, playing with another makes this much more enjoyable. If the developers had increased the number of modes or made the training section better, this would have improved the longevity vastly.
Kungfu Kickball is great in small doses.
As a casual title, Kungfu Kickball excels. Its vivid aesthetics, annoying but addictive music, and simple controls make this a fun game in small doses. If you have like-minded friends, you’ll have a whale of a time battling one another while mastering the martial arts mash-up. It’s for these reasons that I recommend you to buy it here! However, be aware of its shortcomings. Can you better each arena and be crowned the champion? Kick, punch, and headbutt your way to victory.