REVIEW – Johnny Kung Fu

A review by Jeremy Hardin

Game – Johnny Kung Fu
Developer/Publisher – UFO Interactive Games
Version – 3DS
Time Spent Playing – 3 hours
Price – $5.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of UFO Interactive Games

Mr. Wang has a deep seeded grudge with Johnny and has captured his girlfriend while the two of them were out on a date (for unknown reasons). So what else is there to do when you’re girl gets ‘napped, but suit up! Johnny tosses on his Kung Fu uniform, heads to Mr. Wang’s tower where Paula is being held, and fights his way to the top to rescue her.

Gameplay and Controls
Alright, so I’m assuming you watched the launch trailer from above and if you didn’t – do it and then come back! Okay, welcome back.  So, from the trailer you got to see a little bit of the fighting action you’ll be engaging in on your quest to save your girl.  Your job is to ascend Mr. Wangs tower, all 36 floors, defeat Mr. Wang and his baddies, and rescue Paula – all within an hour.  Oh and to make it even more interesting, every time you lose all your lives and use a continue, 5 minutes are deducted off the timer! While 5 minutes doesn’t seem like much – especially considering that some floors take less than 30 seconds to complete – don’t take it for granted, because your patience and skill will be tested.

Okay, so let’s move onto some of the levels you’ll be coming across.  A quick disclaimer – I haven’t made it past the 23rd floor, but I can assure you the pattern of levels does get repeated.  The first level is a throwback to the original game and watch LCD handhelds.  You can see the faint outlines of where the enemies’ bombs and knives will appear, as well as where Johnny will appear each time he moves.  These levels are designed with three floors.  The first floor has a bad guy rolling bombs which you must jump over, the second floor has you dodging knives/meat cleavers by ducking under them.  The third floor has an on/off switch for the elevator (which takes you to the next levels) and between the switch and elevator are lasers shooting down from the ceiling.

You must time your moves carefully and pay attention to the subtle indicators which let you know where the next laser will appear.  I easily made it through the first floor in less than 15 seconds.  However, it does begin to get more difficult shortly afterwards.  Some levels have you fighting off multiple enemies followed by one miniboss.  Other levels are monochrome and have you moving left to right or vice-versa, attempting to land hits on one enemy as he appears and disappears at random.  Each successful hit will increase the color meter and your goal is to return color to the level.

Some more examples of levels you will see,

  • Bomb juggling
  • Sledgehammer Smash
  • Multiple variations of the same levels, just quicker paced and stronger enemies
  • Etc.
Every few levels or so you’ll be faced off against Mr. Wang himself, with your girl Paula tied up in the middle.  Mr. Wang will throw some kind of projectile at you very quickly and you must hit to deflect them.  After a set number of consecutive blocks, a projectile will hit Mr. Wang, knocking him into a daze.  Now it’s time to attack! After a few rinse and repeats of this cycle, you will defeat Mr. Wang (for now), obtain a power up and then a short cut-scene shows you rescuing your girl.  Oh wait, see here’s the thing, it really isn’t your girl sitting there tied up, but really a cross dressing goon out to get you (weird…).  You quickly and automatically dispatch the goon and move onto the next floor.  Rinse and repeat for 36 floors.

One other point to mention.  Besides the regular game mode, you also have two endless Bonus modes to play through – B & W Pocket Rush (which looks like an old Game and Watch styled game) and Color Pocket Rush which adds color and removes the outlines of objects, plus incorporates some decent 3d effect.  As I mentioned, both of these modes are endless and they are all about getting a high score.  Scores for all modes are kept locally only.

The controls are simple and responsive.  You will be directed before a level which controls to use and most times it will be one or two buttons in combination with the d-pad.

Visuals and Sound
I enjoyed the visuals and sounds because of how simple they were – they really remind me of the original pocket games.  The character sprites and animations were simple, yet appealing in their simplicity.  Whenever you defeat an enemy, they turn to ashes and fade away.  The 3D effect is subtle, but works well if you decide to use it.


Concluding Overall Impressions
Johnny Kung Fu is a fun and challenging game, but it has its limitations – local leaderboards instead of online, recycled assets, and shallow bonus offerings.  The asking price of $5.99 is a little steep for what Johnny can offer, but isn’t ridiculous, although $3.99 seems more reasonable.  So, for fans of hi score challenges and old school games, Johnny Kung Fu does pack a punch and will challenge your skills over and over.  Should you buy it, well now, that’s up to you.

Final Score: 3 out of 5
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About the author:

Jeremy’s love of gaming, especially Nintendo started in the late 80’s when his parents bought him and his older brother an NES. Many hours were spent playing Mario and Duck Hunt. Eventually Jeremy graduated to bigger and better games and systems, like the SNES, GC, Wii, 3DS, and finally to the Wii U. Ask him what the defining moment of his childhood gaming was and he’ll answer, “the day I beat Zelda 2.” To this day that game holds a special place in his heart. His favorite types of games are platformers.

Jeremy started blogging for NintendoFuse in October 2010. He started off as a lurker on the forums who won a free copy of And Yet It Moves on WiiWare. From there he realized he liked the forums and the site and wanted to remain a part of it. He was brought on board shortly thereafter and has helped post news and reviews for the past couple of years. Currently Jeremy has taken a step back to focus on family and school. He assists in minor back-end site maintenance from time to time.

Jeremy – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.


  • http://coffeewithgames.com/ coffeewithgames


    Johnny Kung Fu is a fun and challenging game, but it has its limitations – local leaderboards instead of online…”
    As for the leaderboards, I honestly think it is a Nintendo issue. How is it a FREE iOS game from 2009 can have online leaderboards, but the eShop games don’t?

    It really does baffle me that Nintendo can’t get with the online program faster, they’ve only had since 2000 when the Dreamcast really kicked “console” gaming off with their service…and that was even using dial-up.
    So, would I blame the developer for the game not having leaderboards? Perhaps if this was a full retail title and if I didn’t have experience with a free iOS game that has online leaderboards, but I honestly think it’s Nintendo’s fault for not having a better online setup, and that it’s time Nintendo fixes their online service and update it some.

    Considering you have gotten 3 hours out of the game though, and it’s only $6, I don’t think that’s too shabby.

    • http://www.wiinintendo.net Jeremy Hardin

      I don’t know enough about how online leaderboards work. I thought it was all on the developers end and having a server to host the leaderboards. If it really is up to Nintendo, well they should add it into every game. Let’s just hope the Wii U and the new online infrastructure will address these issues.

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