Kung-Fu Live

If you’ve ever wanted to be the real life version of ‘Viewtiful Joe,’ now’s your chance. ‘Kung-Fu Live’ punch, kicks and backward flips its way onto PlayStation Eye cameras the world over, cheezy voice-overs included.

Having just reviewed ‘The Fight: Lights Out,’ (review) it’s only fitting the second pugilist-friendly, PS3 motion sensing in a month found its way to my console dojo. That coincidence is pretty much where comparisons between the two begin and end.

Kung-Fu Live is nutter to the nth degree; it’s clear the game’s developers – Virtual Air Guitar – spent a lot of drunken, enjoyable nights concocting this simultaneously peculiar and ingenious PSN title. While Kung-Fu Live is certainly flawed, some serious kudos to these guys for giving this insanity a serious whirl.

To explain, Kung-Fu Live – while motion sensing – uses the PlayStation Eye exclusively to detect movements. Through a fairly finicky – but decent in execution – recognition system, the game superimposes an image of you onto the screen, a comic book-esque storyline with baddies and backdrops to match. Levels are preceded by collecting snapshots to add you to the story, suggested poses that are simply hysterical in execution.

Actual gameplay is solely of the fighting variety, with your character throwing punches, kicks and special moves at hordes of bad guys coming your way. Kung-Fu Live parodies to perfection martial arts genre comic books, likewise the visual display of your moves in execution.


By ‘moves,’ I’m referring to the simple flailing of arms, legs, and intertwined jumps. (Once more: this is NOT ‘The Fight.’) Moves don’t always execute as intended, but they remain absolutely hilarious to watch. Why it’s so damn entertaining to witness a flattened version of you throwing jump kicks at stereotyped goons (sweep the leg, Johnny!) is a question I have no answer to. Watching someone else make a jackass of them via the game’s hysterical acrobatics system is even funnier. Finally and akin to ‘The Fight,’ expect to sweat…a LOT.

Now Kung-Fu Live does a fair job capturing moves, but does hiccup considerably along the way. The PlayStation Eye is finicky, resulting in ghosting, fading, and chunking throughout play…unless you have a Hollywood lighting studio and green screen, I suppose. Ditto for occasionally unpredictable move recognition, stumbles which produce random leaps intended as precise upper kicks. A robust camera tweaking system addresses much of this, but a clear demarcation point exists between conceptual and execution. Ditto for environmental setup, where an obscene amount of room is needed to properly interact with on-screen elements. In specific, smaller rooms equates to living dangerously: I accidentally kicked my very forgiving wife (sitting 2 feet behind me), also sent Guitar Hero drum sticks flying off their drum set home. Both did nothing to deserve said treatment.

With this being said, Kung-Fu Live’s system is flexible enough to engender some sidesplitting surprises. When a slew of shorter baddies kept terrorizing my legs, I grabbed a stuffed giant plush snake (spare the lewd comments, imagery) and wielded it on-screen to perfection. My good friend became a menace to the evil hordes, a reptile nunchuk inspiring fear at anyone close enough to his plush fury. Still, it’s hard to top the message board post alluding to a guy using his friend’s English Bulldog as a fighting prop. That, my friends, is legendary.

While Kung-Fu Live’s flaws became more and more apparent, the fun factor thankfully did not diminish in tandem. This experimental use of the PlayStation Eye, party potential inherent, combines to make Kung-Fu Live a terrific use of $15. While one can arguably declare the game simply a tech demo packing a wonderful sense of humor, this declaration describes a disgustingly good time...and an affordable one at that.


Kung-Fu Live is a clever and often hysterical use of the PlayStation Eye, one that is oft-wonky but a fun ride and workout nonetheless. For $15, it’s hard not to suggest a go. Its setup, recognition flaws, however, are obvious throughout.

  • Ingenious use of the PlayStation Eye
  • Often hysterical moments
  • Great party and/or workout potential
  • Temperamental setup
  • Inconsistent recognition
  • Requires a larger room to execute
Quote: "Kung-Fu Live is a clever and often hysterical use of the PlayStation Eye, one that is oft-wonky but a fun ride and workout nonetheless. For $15, it’s hard not to suggest a go."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 12.18.10


Kung-Fu Live

Virtual Air Guitar

Virtual Air Guitar


US Release
December '10



Players 1
PS Eye Required
Dolby 5.1