Following an officer of the same name — whom gained his super kung fu powers by being struck by lighting, while simultaneously being bitten by a cobra — Kung Fury details one man’s mission to go back in time and stop the greatest criminal ever: Adolf Hitler. Disaster strikes, however, when his computer hacking genius friend — known only as Hackerman — sends him too far back in time via his hyper-advanced Commodore 64, leaving Kung Fury temporarily stranded in the Laser-Raptor prowled Viking Age. Perhaps — with the help of Thor’s Hammer — Kung Fury just might be able to reach Nazi Germany in time to stop the Kung Fuhrer, save the entire world, and even learn the meaning of true friendship along the way!
Last Thursday the world over was graced by Kung Fury, the epic thirty-minute eighties action-film tribute — written, directed, and even starring David Sandberg — that was able to be produced solely thanks to the generosity of over 17,000 people at Kickstarter. Although the 2013 fundraiser had only requested $200k — people entrusted the Swedish director with the hefty sum of $600k — leading to not only the film itself being realized, but also the existence of a theme song/music video starring David Hasselhoff himself! Assuming you haven’t yet seen this masterpiece of witty writing — and hilarious zany action — then you should probably stop reading this review and begin watching Kung Fury this very second; after all, the film is legally available in its entirety on YouTube for free!
Now what did every one-liner filled — explosion packed — neon-infused action film released in the eighties on VHS absolutely need to have (other than a collectible sticker-book tie-in published by Panini, that is)? Obviously the answer is a side-scrolling arcade Beat’em Up — probably developed by Konami, or maybe Capcom — where four people huddled around a single cabinet and tried their hardest to plow through every last minion. Although you can’t go to a living arcade anymore — unless you have Hackerman send you back through time — Kung Fury’s official tie-in game — Kung Fury: Street Rage (out now, free) is absolutely determined to genuinely convince you that it’s 1984 all over again!
Normally this would probably be the part where I start discussing a game’s mechanics first — or even the controls — but I think I need to begin somewhere else with Kung Fury: Street Rage, and that would specifically be the importance of the game’s graphical style. While many games these days feature pixelated graphics — and some even authentically match classical sprite styles, rather than merely being blocky — there’s something most faux-retro games rarely concern themselves with: the look of ancient TV picture tubes. Older TVs didn’t have crystal-clear images like modern LCD screens do, classical NTSC screens instead suffered from a wide number of issues that all actively degraded image quality — including actual screen curvature — most of which are faithfully replicated here.
Once you’re done ogling just how good Kung Fury: Street Rage is at making you feel as though you’re truly staring at an ancient arcade unit’s CRT monitor, you’ll eventually find yourself wanting to start the game proper (which can be done by tapping anywhere). This will simultaneously take you away from Kung Fury’s attract mode — as proper arcade machines showcased sample game play when left unattended — and furthermore produce a sound as if a quarter was just inserted, again going with the real arcade motif. From here on it’ll be your job — as Hackerman, Barbarianna, and Triceracop watch you from the background — to successfully ensure that the streets of 1980’s Miami stay absolutely free from an endlessly-advancing time-travelling Nazi-horde.
At this point you’ll find yourself faced with some of the simplest control mechanics ever seen: wherein touching the screen’s left hand side will make Kung Fury lash out at Nazis approaching you from the left, and ditto for tapping the screen’s right hand side as well. While this probably sounds incredibly simplistic at first glance, you’ll probably realize that this is actually anything but when — also true to classical arcade games — you’re dead less than a minute later and haven’t even slightly placed on the game’s high score screen. Although those whom have previously played One Finger Death Punch! will probably immediately pick up on Kung Fury: Street Rage’s finer nuances, a hefty explanation of game play mechanics is likely to be in order for everyone else.
One of two things will happen whenever you tap either side of the screen: Kung Fury will either perform a brutal — yet random — attack upon the Nazi approaching him from that side, or instead he’ll dash forward into thin-air and temporarily leave himself open. As long there is an enemy close enough on the relevant side — no matter which attack Kung Fury performs — it will always be successful, he will only disastrously flub an attack whenever no enemy is close enough on your chosen vector (or perhaps even there at all). Kung Fury — by the way — has quite the impressive attack repertoire, including: punches, kicks, upper-cuts, electric ki-blasts, flip-kicks, crotch shots, shooting at enemies with his actual gun, and much more (and an enemy’s death animation changes with each one).
At first this is simple enough — so long as you don’t get overly excited about attacking enemies early — but things can quickly become quite hectic once the pacing starts picking up, especially since any enemy allowed to reach Kung Fury will promptly hurt him. Compounding this is that you’ll eventually begin to face enemies that only die after multiple hits, and may even teleport behind you after surviving your most epic attack. Worse yet, assuming you don’t die, getting hurt by an enemy — or even flubbing an attack, for that matter — will reduce your combo meter, and you won’t exactly get far on Kung Fury’s high score list without securing for yourself a properly massive combo bonus.
Whereas most high score lists on iOS games pit you against random people the world over — that you could probably care less about — Kung Fury pits you against characters from the movie, letting you know — once and for all — if you’re cooler than Triceracop. You could even eventually become cooler than the legendary Kung Fury himself, but you’re probably going to need quite a bit of practice under your belt if you ever hope to achieve that overly lofty goal. Finally — should you give Kung Fury: Street Rage access to your Facebook account — you can even see where all of your other friends rank in terms of coolness, both in comparison to yourself and the entire cast of Kung Fury.
That’s the gist of Kung Fury: Street Rage: it’s a game where you endlessly pummel an ever-advancing horde of the Kung Fuhrer’s evil minions, and — in the process — continue to look increasingly badass as you slowly improve your vital skills at Nazi pulverizing. Better yet is the fact there’s no absolutely no Pay-to-Win IAPs to get in your way here, and the game’s often short running time — at least until you become ludicrously good — always means that it’s quite easy to fit a quick session of Kung Fury in almost anywhere. The only real price of admission to Kung Fury: Street Rage’s awesomely over-the-top Nazi-bashing romp-fest is a single video ad played after every third total failure, and even those can be permanently disabled via a rather reasonable one-time $1.99 upgrade.
iFanzine Verdict: If you were ever looking for a version of One Finger Death Punch with better graphics — infinitely fewer IAPs — and more Nazi slaying, then Kung Fury: Street Rage has finally arrived deliver on all of those desires and much-much more! Based on David Sandberg’s recently released eighties-tribute indie film, Kung Fury: Street Rage goes to great lengths — including replicating the faults of CRT monitors — in order to convince you that you’re really standing in front of an arcade machine. With the game being offered for free — and the only IAP option being one to disable the game’s occasional ads, which only play after every third defeat — there’s really nothing to lose by trying this game out right now, unless you actually want the Nazis to win.