Short Takes - Kung Fury: Street Rage (PS4) - Cleaning The Streets Of Nazi Filth
Coming into Kung Fury: Street Rage, I was expecting an experience similar to one of my favorite Sega Genesis titles, Streets of Rage. While Kung Fury has the style of Sega’s legendary brawler of yesteryear, the gameplay is actually quite a bit different, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn what this game actually entails. While not exactly the Streets of Rage-esque game I was expecting, it's still a challenging wave-based brawler at its core.
Upon starting Kung Fury, players are immediately greeted by a ‘90's arcade monitor on-screen, complete with the classic "Insert Coin" flashing and a list of player controls. Instead of making your way through levels, pounding baddies along the way, Kung Fury instead throws an endless wave of enemies at you that you take on using left or right on the directional pad. That's right, this game is played using only the d-pad (or analog stick if that's your thing). My first thought was, "Huh, this is kind of lame," but the more I played — and as different enemy types and more and more Nazis filled the screen — the more I forgot about the simplistic controls. I found myself focused on punching and kicking in order to survive as long as possible.
Enemies range from your grunt-like basic baddies that will go down with a single punch to your more powerful robots (yes, you read that right. Robots.). While this may not sound all that difficult on paper, each enemy type requires a certain number of hits to take out, and some require you to recognize a pattern to defeat, alternating left and right as they teleport around you. Being successful isn't just about being able to keep up a combo chain, it's also knowing when to take certain enemies out while “kungtinuing” to build your combo meter by not missing any punches. I found myself thinking several punches ahead as a series of various enemies filled the screen. Learning how to dispose of each enemy type is critical, allowing you to plot out how to handle each scenario and build up your combo chain.
Kung Fury’s proverbial carrot at the end of the stick is a local leaderboard which sports a high score of 250,000 points. Players earn points based on how high their combo chain climbs. Enemies are initially worth 10 points for each defeat, but their point value multiplies based on the value of your growing combo chain. Sadly, Kung Fury only supports a local leaderboard. It is not online enabled to include your friends and their scores.
Should you buy it?
All in all, Kung Fury is a challenging and inexpensive experience. It's the perfect "Well, I have 10 minutes to kill..." game, and with a $2 price-tag (during launch week), it's definitely worth checking out. The lack of online leaderboards is a letdown, but players who enjoy the challenge of trying to top a local leaderboard while beating up on some Nazis will find enjoyment here.