Of all the animals in the world, a panda is arguably up there as one of the least likely (well, that and an elephant or whale) to be a master of kung fu. Which is exactly the reason why Kung Fu Panda is such an interesting concept - no one suspects the panda. So, taking DreamWorks Animation's hit movie and placing it into a PlayStation 3 game is ideal for anyone wishing to experience what it's like to be a black and white bear with the ability to impart kung fu awesomeness on his foes.
"I see you're using an old style..."
Kung Fu Panda follows the film where you control its main character, Po, a martial arts loving panda with lofty dreams of becoming a fighting master. Translated into gameplay terms, it means a third-person action adventure romp through 13 levels where you must traverse platforms, negotiate traps, overcome basic puzzles, collect items and - wait for it - fight numerous opponents to discover the path of the ultimate and revered kung fu status: the Dragon Warrior. The goal of this mighty warrior? To defeat the evil snow leopard warrior, Tai Lung.
It's not just Po's ample frame that you'll be commanding, either. There are other characters to assume control of depending on the circumstance of the story, such as the Furious Five - a team of legendary kung fu masters who Po looks up to. Each of these characters has their own fighting style and special moves, which can be upgraded to increase the range and power.
What is especially impressive is that this diversity doesn't just extend to a range of characters but their own levels too. From fun multiplayer and co-operative modes to specific objective driven tasks (such as defeating a boss in the Legendary missions), there's plenty to keep you occupied while you play through parts of the film and beyond into unique sections of the game.
Palm of the panda
Kung Fu Panda looks the part, too. The visuals capture the lavish tone and style of the movie, complete with some superb animation and excellent attention to detail to go with it - for example, Furious Five member Tigress has different running/walking animations (going from bipedal to all fours, depending on how fast she's going) to match her species.
Touches such as that make Activision's title the perfect accompaniment to its source material, showing the closeness of development between the two products. While fans of the movie will love Kung Fu Panda, it's more than a solid and polished platformer fighter with its fair share of little surprises and a large dose of humour for all ages to boot.
So mock as much as you want about pandas and their apparent lack of kung fu ability - there isn't an elephant or whale that can move like Po, young grasshopper. Belly up and assume the ultimate animal stance.