The idea of recreating classic kung fu movies with action figures will have many looking wistfully back to their childhood, and that’s the central concept of Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic, a PlayStation Store exclusive.
Created by one of the minds behind LittleBigPlanet, Mark Healey, it shares similar visual hallmarks with Sackboy’s world. The graphics combine cartoon charm with realism – your warriors are made entirely from shiny plastic and it feels more like you’re manipulating a marionette puppet show than an animation.
A second similarity to LBP is the way the game uses real physics to ensure that every play is different. Like any great fighting game, the controls are easy to pick up and difficult to master. Your basic moves are punch, kick, block, jump and you can grab items and weapons to throw at your rivals. However, the special moves are what separate the crouching tigers from the weeping willows. These all utilise the motion sensing capabilities of the Wireless Controller and use up Orbs of Chi that are earned from successful attacks.
Shaking the Wireless Controller generates Lightning Balls that can be thrown, and the longer you shake, the more powerful the attack; the Firefly is activated by holding the punch button and flicking the Wireless Controller upwards; Slam is initiated by holding block and moving the Wireless Controller up and down, dropping your character onto enemies with a bang; and turning the Wireless Controller upside down allows you to meditate, restoring health as long as you have free Orbs of Chi.
The single player challenges each require mastery of a certain move or skill and it is addictive trying to amass a high score against the clock to earn the Fists of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Plastic. Survival is simply a case of defeating as many enemies as you can in ten minutes, while in Sharpshooter you have to destroy targets using Shuriken blades, and in Acrobatics, you earn points for swinging between platforms without your feet touching the ground.
Offline multiplayer with four people is where Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic comes into its own, with four varied modes for you and your friends to battle it out in. Deathmatch is the most straightforward, with each player looking to beat each other up, either individually or in teams. In King of the Hill, there’s a shining platform and the player that has spent the most time atop it when the timer runs out is the winner. Capture the Fish awards points when players manage to throw the slippery one into a basket, and Dodgeball is all about hitting your foes with a glowing orb. There are eight different environments to duke it out in and each one has its own unique look, arrangement of platforms and hazards.
Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic offers arcade action that constantly throws up surprises. Its single player Challenges are challenging and addictive, while offline multiplayer equals competitive mayhem for you and three friends.
Download it from PlayStation Store because you’re never too old to play with dolls.