Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X
February 10, 2022
KungFu Kickball is a team-based platform fighting sports game where the best ball-kicker wins.
Compete against your friends in a fantasy sport that mixes soccer with kung fu action movies. Fly through the air and unleash a flurry of punches, kicks, and mystical arts to overpower the other team and smash the ball into their bell. Every bell ring counts as a point and the team with the most points when time runs out is declared the winner!
At first glance, KungFu Kickball looks like an old-school arcade game worth wasting a few tokens on. Don’t be fooled though, as it is quite a deceptive little game. The anime design and Eastern theme really pack on the charm. Each time we played, hours passed before we grew tired of the game. As a parent of two teens, it is really difficult to find a game we can play as a family without causing arguments. Don’t get me started on Mario Party, which is almost as bad as Monopoly when it comes to table-flipping and raging outbursts. However, we found ourselves laughing, cheering, and really enjoying some quality time together, whilst still punching, kicking, and competing against one another. If this paragraph hasn’t convinced you of KungFu Kickballs appeal, I don’t know what will.
“…we found ourselves laughing, cheering, and really enjoying some quality time together, whilst still punching, kicking, and competing against one another”
The gameplay of KungFu Kickball is simple, with only a few buttons to use and only one objective. Similar to games like Rocket League, All you need to do is get the ball to the goal zone and ring the bell. As a default, you have 3 minutes on the clock and can go head-to-head or team up in 2v2 matches. Because of the limited control scheme, using single joy-cons on the Switch is easy and unobstructed.
There is a minor tutorial that goes through the basic moves, but honestly, we picked it up and just learned on the fly. Jump, punch/kick, dash, and special attack. That is it. Despite the basic controls, the gameplay is fast and fun. You can even mix it up a bit and change the gravity settings and more to add new challenges and chaos. The physics work flawlessly, the hitboxes are on point, and the camera continuously zooms in and out depending on where all the players are on screen. I found it helpful to have the added zoom when players were clustered together. There was nothing more fun than all of us surrounding the goal zone, the camera zoomed right in, and furiously trying to either defend or score, yelling to one another to help or move or kick.
Have I mentioned we had no arguments while playing this for hours on end? I think because it was genuinely fun regardless of whether your team won or not. And, well, my team did win 90% of the time, but my son and I are more seasoned competitors where my wife and daughter aren’t so much. We are gracious winners after all.
The gameplay here might seem simple and feel a little repetitive, but the map layout is very unique and different for each one. There are currently six different maps that vary in several different ways. There is a basic flat stadium that hosts a bell on each end and a couple of ledges to stand on, but then you get to the desert and there are two giant pyramids to try and navigate the ball over, plus random sandstorms to obscure your vision. Trying to navigate some of the obstacles in the maps is more difficult than just getting the ball past your opponents. Sometimes it can even feel like a pinball machine where your great shot gets rebounded several times while you run back and forth waiting for it to return to the ground. But it’s not just the obstacles, there are times when you can actually affect the landscape too! In the caves, you’ll find stalactites hanging in front of the bell and if you hit them enough they’ll fall down. I would have loved to have seen even more variety here, as six maps is fairly limiting and eventually you just want to try something new. Although we definitely found our favourites and our most challenging maps. I personally love the Desert as the soundtrack absolutely banging.
Speaking of banging music, oh my goodness. John Fio did an amazing job with the soundtrack that doesn’t seem to get repetitive or annoying as some arcade-like games can be. With an Eastern vibe to match the aesthetic of the game, they’ve mixed in metal and at times some bass drops to really get you grooving while you are playing. Each map has a unique music track that compliments it beautifully. The addition of fighting game voice-overs created some excitement too. Getting a ‘team smackdown’ or a ‘double knockout’ really hyped up the vibe. I don’t usually comment on a game’s music, but this time it could not go unnoticed!
“It did feel like my wife, my daughter and I weren’t really the intended audience for this game. That makes me feel a little sad, as we really enjoyed our time with KungFu Kickball.”
The game boasts 8 player classes. However, out of the original 5 that you start with, sits only a single female character.
For our first game we sat down as a family to play and 3 of us were the same character, because we all wanted to be the female. The only saving grace here is that you can actually choose the same characters and not get confused as they have different colour schemes depending on the player slot. You can later unlock 3 additional characters by finishing the arcade mode, two more males and a panda. The panda is supposed to be a female but it’s hard to count that as a win for diversity when the character is locked behind a specific achievement and is an animal. It’s a little disheartening and shows an area where the game can continue to grow and expand, increasing their roster and providing more options for players to feel represented. It did feel like my wife, my daughter and I weren’t really the intended audience for this game. That makes me feel a little sad, as we really enjoyed our time with KungFu Kickball otherwise.
- Amazing soundtrack
- Great family friendly fun
- Cross-play across PC and consoles
- Accessible in 12 different languages
- Lack of diversity in character genders
- Only six maps to play on
KungFu Kickball brings an unexpected amount of joy to the table. Between the simple controls, intuitive gameplay, cute art style, and banging tunes, KungFu Kickball could very well dominate your next house party. Despite the lack of diversity of the characters and stages, KungFu Kickball shakes up the arcade genre with something new and entertaining. Whether you are playing locally at home or playing online, the game has you covered, even for those playing across different platforms. If you are a fan of games such as Smash Bros. or Rocket League, I would highly recommend picking this one up and playing with both friends and family for an enjoyable night in.