- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tied to the summer blockbuster season, the stream of licensed movie games has officially begun with this ode to a furry martial arts master’s latest adventures.

In Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game (THQ, reviewed for Xbox 360, rated E10+ for players 10 and older, $49.99), what comes off as a mediocre third-person combat game should get a ton of traction with younger Xbox 360 owners through the use of the Kinect, a motion-sensing peripheral ($149.99) attached to the entertainment console.

The story finds the panda, Po, and the Furious Five (Viper, Tigress, Monkey, Mantis and Crane) defending Gongmen City from Master Shen’s scattered minions. A player directs Po’s attacks on foes without the use of a controller.

To defeat anthropomorphic alligators, gorillas, hyenas and Komodo dragons, junior warriors select a Kung Fu form (Flowing or Lightning, for example) and then punch, kick, jump and raise their arms in various signals while Po blocks or delivers blows.

A nice touch also allows the player to activate outrageous attacks (such as Feet of Fury) or scream out, when prompted, for another member of the Furious Five to jump on screen and finish off an opponent.

Po never faces more than one enemy at a time, even when surrounded, and his attacks and defensive moves are very responsive to a player’s movements, a testament to the kid-friendliness of the game.

Unfortunately, those bonuses are negated for impatient tykes due to the excruciating load times for each match.

A story mode gives players a reason to unlock minigames and go back to replay battles in the free play area.

Minigames include riding a rickshaw (duck and jump to avoid obstacles) and helping Mr. Ping feed noodles to hungry villagers (grab a bowl, chop and hand off the tasty grub).

Although Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game is a pricey adventure, the easy learning curve along with entertaining cut scenes and computer-animated characters will sufficiently dazzle and exhaust the 10-year-old in the family.

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