REVIEW – Johnny KungFu (3DS eShop)

Mr. Game and Watch

Johnk

UFO is no stranger to the eShop having already released the repetitive but challenging Samurai Sword Destiny and their original undead rock title Zombie Slayer DioxJohnny KungFu continues the UFO streak of a lower quality gaming experience but fans of old LCD games should at least find an appreciation for this retro-made-modern design.

Johnny KungFu is basically a mix of a weak Double Dragon and an old Nintendo Game & Watch LCD game.  Unfortunately, the consistency between these two types of genres and visual styles is so jarring that the final product results in a confusing mess.  The brawler segment offers little more than button mashing with a heavily outlined charming 2D visual style.  But after a throng of mindless goons or a boss has fallen to your fists, the game switches to an old school Donkey Kong LCD style level design or Ball juggling mini-game.  Granted, the LCD segments look exactly like a classic LCD game complete with the ghosting effect and the brawler segments are animated humorously but the inconsistency between the two styles is just awkward.  It is never explained why there are these two very different types of gameplay; it is as if the designers just wanted to randomly make an old school LCD game but also wanted to reuse their Samurai Sword Destiny engine just to add additional content for no reason whatsoever.  It would have been better this is downloadable title was entirely represented through an LCD style since these portions are clearly the highlight.

Besides the very two drastically different gameplay segments, the rhyme and reason for the game is never really explained.  From the opening cinematic, Johnny’s girlfriend has been capture by some thugs and Johnny feels the need to save her.  But why was she taken?  Why is there a one hour time limit on the game?  Why does Johnny need a phone booth to change into a karate outfit?  Why does the game switch between two drastically different gameplay styles?  Why does the tower extend beyond the clouds but is only 30 floors tall..? I have not been this confused with a game since the original WarioWare.

Looking through the inconsistencies, both gameplay styles quickly become repetitive.  The fighting portions are as simple as performing a simple attack-attack-attack combo followed up by a jump into the background to avoid damage, then repeat.  Like any Ganon fight, Johnny has to reflect incoming projectile attacks before damage can be chipped away with any boss encounter.  The LCD levels start off nostalgic but the later stages are a lesson in patience and frustration as waiting for the right time to move can take dozens of seconds.  Further, if you fail to rescue the damsel in distress in sixty seconds, the game resets forcing players to start all over again. However, the “princess is in another castle” effect is also a nice throwback.

Out of the three titles that UFO released on the 3DS eShop, I enjoyed Johnny KungFu the most but nostalgia is probably a heavy factor of this.  Instead of focusing on one gameplay style and making it great, the quality has been spread thin over two types.  However, for about six dollars, fans of old LCD games will probably get a kick out of playing a new digital-clock style video game if players are willing to suffer through the repetitive brawler stages; too bad the 3D option doesn’t really work that well either.

5.5/10

Not As Good As: Ball

Also Try: Game & Watch Gallery and Game & Watch Gallery 2 available on 3DS eShop

Wait For It: Game & Watch Gallery 3 Virtual Console download

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