The exploits of Activision’s Kung Fu Panda were well-received last time around. In this reviewer’s humble opinion it was the best game based on an animated film that I have ever played. Activision has opted to follow-up the success of both the film and the game to bring us a Wii exclusive title. The premise is similar in theory but instead of executing strings of combos with button presses the quintessential Wii remote waggling replaces the standard control scheme. What we get is a game that consists of a series of encounters that start off enjoyable, but become somewhat tedious by the end.
As I mentioned the game is a standard beat ’em up title that focuses on intimate encounters with a set number of enemies. The catch here, much like any other title on Nintendo’s motion-controlled system, is that in place of memorizing button combos you are required to flail your arms around to perform your attacks. For the most part this works with various moves being performed by different motions on the controller. The game does reward you for style and there are a nice variety of moves, but it can become taxing on your poor wrists during extended periods of play.
The story takes place after the events of the movie, which allows some breathing room for the team to add in new characters and plot lines. You assume control of Po and his band of kung-fu buddies as you attempt to once again defeat the evil Tai Lung. There are a host of new enemy types such as anteaters and elephants, but the humor and charm of the original game and movie are fully intact.
There is no doubt that Legendary Warriors is aimed at kids, and with a forgiving difficulty you can breeze through the game rather quickly. This doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable though. You can take on the single-player portion of the solo or with the help of a friend with drop-in and out co-op. A second player can hop into the action at the press of a button, which is great for parents playing the game with their children. The nature of the game also allows players of any skill to hop right in and have a good time. Wailing around your arms may seem ridiculous to core gamers, but to younger ones it enhances the experience when done right.
There is also a four-player competitive battle mode that includes sixteen of your favorite characters from the movie. Some of these have to be unlocked by connecting the DS version to the Wii iteration, but out of the box there are more than enough to keep you busy. This part of the game feels like a watered-down Smash Bros., but it does provide a nice diversion from the main game as well as a reason to return once the campaign has been completed.
Visually the game looks surprisingly good. The characters all sport some nice animations and the colors are bright and eye-popping much like the film. The environments can feel a bit claustrophobic at times, but their variety more than makes up for that. The sound effects are high quality and the voice acting is outstanding. Especially considering none of the original movie talent was present. The soundtrack feels reminiscent of the score from the film and the presentation is of a much higher quality than your typical third-party Wii title.
Overall Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors is much of what you would expect from a character-based action title on the Wii. The motion controls are well implemented, but can grow tedious after a while. The visuals are surprisingly solid and the sound screams quality. The co-op and competitive modes are the highlight of the package making it a solid purchase for fans of the movie and the previous game. If you have young ones who adore Jack Black’s loveable CGI panda then Legendary Warriors is a solid addition to your Wii library.