If you check Steam’s new and upcoming section, you’ll come across a curious title called “Kungfucious”. The Wuxia combat simulator uses the kinds of martial arts moves you might see in old Jet Li movies (the ones where he breaks bones). It’s an exaggerated form of martial combat, complete with unique moves and pressure points.

And it’s exciting!

A bit choppy, but the idea is great. Read on for my review of this preview, and some first impressions from a brief session with the game.

Kungfucious by Gattai Games

Let’s dive right into the Kungfucious demo. Available on itch.io, Kungfucious is a simple wave-based combat simulator where opponents come from one of four doors leading into a courtyard. The different colored gis seem to suggest increased toughness and challenges, but I found opponents were relatively easy to take down. There’s some similarities to what VFC has done with its arena mode if I had to make a comparison.

This tech demo shows off the game’s mechanics, so expect to defend against only basic attacks like a leaping thrust kick.

This demo uses trackpad locomotion with the left-hand wand doing the walking. The right trackpad activates a quick turn to the side you press. You need to hold the triggers on your wands to make a fist, but releasing them activates your pressure-point strike. This game is combo based, and you can do lots of cool-guy Matrix stuff. In practice, this translates to sequences like:

  • Throw a fireball, rush in and strike your opponent several times in the chest, then strike their four pressure points and deliver a finishing blow that sends them soaring through the air.
  • Thrust punch them to break their guard, then strike their pressure points to initiate a slow-motion effect. Strike their head or body and spin them so you can strike the pressure points at their rear, all of this while their body glides gently through the air.

Gameplay and Testing

I’m not going to score Kungfucious the way we do most reviews because it is very early in development.

A quick note that the framerate on my machine was choppy even after a restart. Likely early bugs that need optimizing. I expect the full version will have exciting game mechanics like challenges, boss characters and more. The developer hasn’t quite finished their roadmap yet, so we’ll need to update you on the progress of this one.

Although, this fourteen-minute snippet of my time with the game suggests Kungfucious is a reasonably active experience:

The Good

Kungfucious has a beautiful aesthetic to it. Although the stage design is a prototype, the washed out colors and minimalist geometry hints at a vibrant and colorful world to come. The character design is also light-hearted, but it needs more variety.

Overall, it’s hard to judge the aesthetics too much since the game is very young. I like the direction the team is going. The courtyard and main menu area sells the fantasy setting well, and with improvements will only look better

The pressure point system is super cool. It makes you feel like a kung fu badass when you manage to rapidly strike each pressure point and deliver a double-fisted final blow. You’re rewarded with a higher score for finding the pressure points and hitting them quickly. Pressure points can appear on the front or back of your opponent, so you might have to hunt for them while the enemy is trying to attack you.

Pressure points appear to be the only real way to finish your opponent, as the damage is far overpowered compared to your basic attacks (even special moves). How this will play out in harder difficulties remains to be seen. Enemies present minimal resistance in this demo, but I could see opportunities to make the gameplay dynamic. If guard breaking and sidestepping are better utilized, this title could become a cross between Knockout League and Sairento.

Special moves are also really cool! Ever played Street Fighter? Want to throw a Hadouken? Kungfucious has you covered. Players have a fireball, a thrust punch and a ground pound that launches opponents. I wish the thrust punch was easier to do. My motions felt like I was only hitting the attack 30% of the time. That said, I like that there is an execution factor. I think too many fighting games in VR have no execution and become flail fests.

The Bad

First, let me say again that this title is as early as early access can get. It’s so early it’s not even downloadable as a Steam Early Access title. I can’t comment on anything graphical or much of the gameplay until I see a few more updates to the title.

That said, there are a few issues I recognized off the bat. I don’t like that movement is bound to the trackpad with no option to change that. I repeatedly moved backward or performed a quick turn by sliding my palm against the pad. Adjusting the placement of the controllers changes orientation of the hands, so I’m punching wrist first. Oof.

The frame rate I mentioned earlier isn’t a complaint yet. I hope for better optimization before it comes to Steam, but the demo framerate is mostly playable.

If an opponent falls over, you can’t do anything to them. You have to wait for them to get back up. I should be able to grab them and pull them to their feet or throw them into a wall.

Try Kungfucious

My ultimate verdict is to try this game and see. Kungfucious is currently on Itch.io as a “Name Your Own Price” game, meaning you can get the tech demo of it for free. The developers do run a Discord and are pretty responsive to feedback on Twitter from what I’ve seen.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TonIluDp2V4&w=560&h=315]

It has a fun premise. I look forward to future updates to this title, and the opportunity to live out my fantasy as a dojo master who is frequently challenged by hoodlums off the street.