The release of the movie Kung Fu Panda 2 prompted developer THQ to create a tie-in game of the same name for the Wii and uDraw peripheral. The result is Kung Fu Panda 2, an action-adventure video game starring the martial artist panda Po as he attempts to save Gongman City and Kung Fu itself from the evil clutches of Xaio Dan and his wicked henchmen of gorillas, wolves, and komodo dragons.
The game provides a unique experience with its use of the uDraw peripheral in navigating and controlling Po. The uDraw is tilted in various directions for basic movements, and the stylus is used to scribble and draw on the tablet in order to perform fighting moves. Players can execute a variety of set combat attacks and special techniques as well as call on a member of the Furious Five to perform a powerful offensive maneuver. Overall, the fighting concepts are pretty decent, although successfully performing the moves isn’t a walk in the park due to the makeup of the uDraw.
The Wii Kung Fu Panda 2 uDraw game stays true to the comedic nature of the movie it was based on. The main cast makes appearances including Po, the Furious Five, master Shifu, and newcomers Croc and Ox from the sequel film. The storyline is your standard good-against-evil, but the Kung Fu Panda spirit and humor have been imbued nicely in the game, making it much more appealing and palatable, especially to fans of its motion picture counterpart.
The Wii and uDraw version comes with an exclusive Drawing Mode where players can color and paint creative artworks based on the environments in the game using the uDraw tablet and stylus. Furthermore, a minigame featuring a cute baby version of Po is included. Players can interact with the baby Po in a variety of ways, and the minigame resembles popular pet simulators of bygone years.
Overall, the Kung Fu Panda 2 uDraw Wii game feels just like the movie: cute and colorful. Unfortunately, video games require a lot more than just warm feelings, and this one sorely lacks depth in other, more important aspects.
For starters, the use of the uDraw GameTablet as the main controller is questionable. With the uDraw currently not having a lot of games, Kung Fu Panda 2 comes as a forced addition to its library in order to encourage customers to buy the peripheral. Using the stylus to initiate fighting moves is strangely unorthodox, and it proves to be vastly inferior to the standard Wii remote. The stylus needs to be scribbled across the tablet for navigation and fighting, but the motions aren’t discerned properly and it ends up as a frustrating mess. Players would often need to repeatedly draw and circle on the tablet before a right response can be obtained. Oftentimes, randomly doodling and scribbling (the uDraw equivalent of button mashing) proves to be more effective than following the game commands.
The Drawing Mode and minigames are cool, but it ultimately boils down to the main storyline. Due to the confusing controls, players might become incensed at this game pretty quick. If not for the Kung Fu Panda brand, no one would even pay this release any attention.
Video game tie-ins are often expected to be substandard because developers have to work on a tight schedule to coincide with the movie’s release, but a little bit more time might have turned this game around. Unfortunately, we’ll never know Kung Fu Panda 2’s full potential, because it is clearly underdeveloped and forced.
The Wrap Up
Kung Fu Panda 2 requires the uDraw GameTablet peripheral for the Wii in order to function. The tablet is used for drawing and designing as well as navigating and fighting in the story. Kung Fu Panda 2 is for single player only.
As a game, Kung Fu Panda 2 for the Wii is average at best, but its value plummets due to having to use the uDraw, which is simply the wrong controller for a fighting game. The control mechanics are shoddy, and the minigames and Drawing Mode can’t compensate for it. If you don’t have the uDraw GameTablet to begin with, Kung Fu Panda 2 might not be enough justification to buy the peripheral, even for the most hardcore of Kung Fu Panda fans.