Few will likely recall 2008’s Kung Fu Panda video game, a shiny contemporary beat-em-up which, in the licensed game’s final suffocating gasp on home consoles, left the derided genre on a positive note. Fewer still will recall Kung Fu Panda 2, a wonky not-so-better-with-Kinect-thing which extinguished any positive energy gained from the first. Now Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends, where everything creatively whittles down to Smash Bros. – with a panda.
This series has legs. The playable roster in Legendary Legends packs in ancillary characters, side characters, and that one furry thing in the background Kung Fu Panda 2. Some of these anthropomorphic critters are likely from the TV show adaptation.
The Smash knock-off isn’t subtle. Punt a rhino off-screen and the effect mirrors the visual spark of Nintendo’s series. It may even be identical. Gameplay modes and fighting systems lack any distinction.
Regardless, this third Kung Fu Panda game is either controlled or uncontrolled chaos – personal allegiances to the melee fighter apply. All of the bottled up energy probably speaks to kids well and a self-serve combo system is made for them. There’s a level of comfort for the Smash generation here; buttons, directions, and charges make for a jump-on-in play space as friends stop by.
Don’t count on much high level or extended play; there’s no food here for the Smash vet. PlayStation All-Stars was richer in flavor. A creaky story barely presses this third Kung Fu Panda game together, so the fiction isn’t being treated either. It’s harmless and useless, but not without value to the right audience.