In a mystical land to the east, martial artists gather from far and wide to compete in a traditional, and phsyical, sport. KungFu Kickball is a platform action-fighting game where two opposing sides must duke it out to kick a ball into the opposing team's bell. Rack up points and defend your bell in 1v1 and 2v2 matches in order to become the KungFu Kickball master.
Disclaimer: I apologise ahead of time for my use of the word "soccer". I'm from Australia and 28 years of calling it that is difficult to change.
Soccer games are a dime a dozen but many of them take an overhead view to recreate the experience. KungFu Kickball opts for the 2D platform approach and does so with responsive and addictive gameplay. The jumping and sense of timing may take some time and effort to get used to but once you get the hang of things, you'll soon find yourself kicking goals from downtown in mid-air Dragon Ball Z style!
... Speaking of which, is that Krillin?!
The game is easy to pickup but difficult to master, as was WhaleFood Games's primary intention. With each level's intricate platform design, anything can happen and you're only guaranteed to lose if you refuse to give it a red-hot go. KungFu Kickball is a fantastic game to fire up at family reunions and friend gatherings and it feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch with its easy button layout, meaning each player can just as easily play with a single Joy-Con.
The developer intends for the game to be played the way that players want to and this is evident by the game's level of customisation. Especially in Custom Match when playing against local friends (and/or CPU), you can adjust everything from whether the game is timed or points based, endzone customisation, option to score two-pointers, gravity strength, player power, game speed and even the ball! The last option is the most creative as you can opt for a fire ball which damages you upon hitting it, a square ball which bounces erratically and even the Blowfish Studios' logo which sticks to the player like the pufferfish that it is - it's more of a novelty but it's a neat touch, nonetheless.
The CPU AI is quite impressive and can certainly be challenging. Many indie titles tend to struggle to make compelling AI (I personally remember multiple games where the AI just walks off in the wrong direction) but in KungFu Kickball, the CPU is spot-on and acts as a fantastic way to practice and hone your kickball skills.
- Addictive soccer gameplay
- Easy to pickup, difficult to master
- Attention to customisation
- Challenging AI
KungFu Kickball is a multiplayer party game, that much is true, and these games can have the tendency to lack in single-player content. While props have to be given to the game featuring cross-platform online multiplayer, the single-player campaign consists of an Arcade mode completely lacking of story/dialogue and only six stages (one per each starting character). This lack of single-player content leads me to my next point...
KungFu Kickball is fundamentally a great game but aside from playing one game after the next, it doesn't offer much more than that. The characters are creative and their sprites are well designed but the game would have thrived with a bit more meat to the bone. KungFu Kickball was initially intended to release in Q1 2020 so within that two year delay, it would have benefited with more content added or more online support (rankings, etc.). Benefit of the doubt has to be given if the developer was affected by the pandemic but regardless, KungFu Kickball does lack staying power.
- Lacking in single-player content
- Doesn't go far beyond its initial premise
Final Score: 8/10
In its foundations, KungFu Kickball is so much fun! It takes everything that constitutes as an enjoyable multiplayer video game and cranks it up to 11. The fun that I've had with friends and family since getting ahold of it has been immense, giving us as many laughs, smiles and tense moments as a game of Mario Party. It's a shame that the game lacks staying power after its initial premise but maybe, just maybe, WhaleFood Games are working on some post-game content. Only time will tell.
Thank you for checking out our KungFu Kickball Switch review, thank you to Blowfish Studios for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out)
- Bel Cubitt