Kung Fu Panda 2 Review - Screenshot 1 of 2

Faced with all sorts of different platforms and peripherals, THQ made the bold decision not to make just one game for the Kung Fu Panda 2 licence, but four entirely different ones to play to console strengths. PlayStation 3 got the most "sequel-y" version with a traditional gamepad-based adventure; both the DS and WIi entries are stylus-based, with the latter oddly enough requiring the uDraw tablet peripheral; and then Kinect with a motion-based brawler. We can't speak to the quality of the other games, but Kung Fu Panda 2 on Kinect is not exactly as fast as lightning.

Taking place after the events of the movie, the story centers on a new threat emerging in Gongmen City that threatens to wipe out kung fu forever, so it's up to Po and a cadre of critters to fight back and save everything ever.

This isn't Kinect's first dance with a fight-focused game, although we must say it's a clear improvement over the vile and putrid Fighters Uncaged. The mechanics of fighting are much simpler here in that there are way fewer moves to pull off: each limb has one basic attack and more advanced moves are done by either using both arms or legs at once or striking a pose with your arms. After a number of successful attacks you're able to call on a member of the Furious Five to help you finish off an enemy, which you do by yelling their name. Due to the simplicity of design it's rare that the game misinterprets your actions, but that isn't to say that it never makes mistakes: one session completely refused to register jumps for some reason, leading to much confusion and a powerless feeling.

Kung Fu Panda 2 Review - Screenshot 2 of 2

But there are plenty of opportunities to turn things around if fights aren't going according to plan. Difficulty is not really a "thing" here, you see, but considering the younger target audience it's totally understandable. The game telegraphs every single thing you need to do, be it by actually showing moves on-screen with indicators or by making enemy attack patterns blatantly obvious. There's a little bit of leeway in how to take on opponents, but fights typically begin and end in the exact same way. Fighting feels strangely constricted, like it's all just a long series of quick time events and Simon Says. Munchkin players will probably get some enjoyment out of it since it's easy to follow and tough to lose, with little threat to their fun time punching things with a favorite cartoon creature. There's also a number of minigames to take on, like races and noodle-making, giving you something else to do besides punching and kicking.

Po and co. look decent enough, with much fur and hair over everything as well as permanent Dreamworks face tattooed on seemingly every character. Voice work is strong and the writing is pretty much identical to the movie, including an over-reliance on the word "awesome," and the music is in perfect tune with the franchise.


Kung Fu Panda 2 is a better Kinect fighter than the competition by virtue of its simplicity, but it otherwise turns in a workman-like performance that gets the licensed game job done and little else. It's not a bad way for a panda-obsessed kid to spend some time with their Xbox, but there's definitely room for improvement.