Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends – Review
Follow Genre: Fighting
Developer: Vicious Cycle
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: Wii U, 3DS, PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One
Tested on: 3DS

Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends – Review

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Good: Music, Backgrounds
Bad: Pretty much everything
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Rating: 4.3/10 (3 votes cast)

With a third movie of the loveable chubby panda Po planned for 2016, it was to be expected that the Kung Fu Panda name would appear on consoles and handhelds once more, sooner or later. This title will not revolve around any spectacular story or something that could live up to the otherwise witty name, but the game ends up being a fairly cheap copy of Nintendo’s Smash Bros series. Whilst the console counterpart of Showdown of Legendary Legends looks like a fun ‘match’, this handheld port feels like it should compete outside the ring, rather than inside. We weren’t that convinced that everybody loves kung fu fighting.



More than 100 years ago there was an eerie unrest in the Valley of Peace (actually it was just last week), where the forces of evil battled those of good (nope, Po was just nagging), and a showdown of legendary legends was bound to happen (yup, right now, as master Shifu approved Po’s idea of a silly tournament). This means that the story is pretty much about Po whining to get his tournament, to see who should be named the legendary kung fu master. Of course Po hopes he will gain the title.

Other than a very short and cute introduction scene, that’s all the story value you’ll get when booting up the tournament mode. If you were hoping for a fun conclusion at the end of the tournament, you’ll be sorely disappointed, as there is simply nothing else that could be considered story material. While a fighting game such as this one always treats its plot very lightly, it would have been nice if there was more than a minute of footage. Nonetheless, if you wish to learn a bit more about the characters, you can find some solace in reading the bios of all the different characters.


The graphics and the consequences of the poor optimization might be the main thing that pulls this game down to the ground, and at times to its early grave. While the characters all look reasonably ok, their fairly choppy movement becomes clear when you start playing matches. The frame rate tends to drop exponentially the moment you are battling in an arena with more than two characters present. From here on out, it becomes a slow-motion battle that does not only look poor, but also plays horribly.

PS4 version - due to lack of 3DS assets

PS4 version – due to lack of 3DS assets

When you play with more than two fighters in a level, you’ll often get a zoomed out overview of the arena, which sometimes shrinks your characters until they are only a few pixels big, making it seem like you’re watching your own digital ant farm. Not only is it unclear what you’re doing, it just looks horrible and with the humongous frame rate drop, everything becomes increasingly annoying by the minute.

Showdown of Legendary Legends redeems itself slightly be presenting the players with rather luscious and fun looking fighting stages, which add up slightly to a better atmosphere. The character skills and extra consumable items look ok, but they won’t blow your socks off.


This might be one of the game’s fortes as it feels like it’s the only thing there is nothing present to complain about. The voices prove to be rather authentic, as they have voice snippets of the original cast. It’s fun to hear Jack Black still representing Po, even on Nintendo’s small handheld.

Outside of the great voice acting, you’ll be treated to very upbeat oriental themed tunes to accompany the many inevitable rounds of kung fu bashing. The soundtrack does a great job in getting you all riled up for the battle at hand.


Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends is a brawler, where up to four fighters can be pitted in an arena against each other, in different modes, where you’ll have to kill your opponent a fixed amount of times, as many times as you can in a short time span, and fight with a ‘king of the hill’ formula or team based modes. That being said, even though the game is pretty much a Smash Bros clone, the developers tried to implement some original modes such as the ‘all you can eat’ mode, which in the end comes down to the same principle, namely beat the crap out of your furry, feathery or scaled opponents.

PS4 version - due to lack of 3DS assets

PS4 version – due to lack of 3DS assets

The game does little effort to offer a lot of content, outside of the several different fighting modes, which all feel very much the same, and the cast of fighters, which offers sufficient variety. Nonetheless, while everything is put into a Kung Fu Panda coating, it does not hide the fact that a lot of the Smash Bros items are simply implemented in the game, albeit poorly. The Pokéball summons from Smash Bros can also be found, where you use an emblem to summon an allied character who performs a special move. The other items resemble Nintendo’s title as well, as well as the overall atmosphere and control scheme.

To win a battle you’ll have to get your opponent out of the ring (except for some of the other modes) and a character starts at 100% health. When it’s whittled down thanks to the many punches you’ll hand out, the enemy fighter will get less resilient to attacks and he will be knocked further out of the way by each punch you deal. This means that when your enemy is at 0%, he will fly a lot further than when you punch him at 100%. Thus doing damage to get him out of the ring is pretty much the concept. You’ll have one basic attack button and a skill button that will serve as your main arsenal. The skills can be triggered with command such as pressing the X button in combination with the four main directions you can make with the joystick. That being said, the skills of pretty much all characters are very underwhelming.

As mentioned earlier, the graphical issues reflect a lot on the gameplay as well, making things unclear, uncontrollable and tedious. While the slow-motion issues and the zoomed out view were already annoying enough, the game also suffers from amazingly poor responsiveness and crappy hit detection. Sometimes pressing a button doesn’t trigger what you wish to do, or skills don’t activate immediately, or when they do, they don’t hit for some reason because the enemy character was standing ‘inside’ of you. Also, more than often the AI opponents just stand still for a ridiculously long amount of time or ‘glitch’ by repeating the same movements over and over again. Last but not least, the difficulty settings of your opponents are sometimes flipped around so that going left makes it easier, while other modes you’ll have to go right to make it easier. While this last issue is no real problem, it’s just weird that even details such as this weren’t taken care of.

PS4 version - due to lack of 3DS assets

PS4 version – due to lack of 3DS assets


Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends could have been a very fun and appealing Smash Bros clone, but simply ends up being one of those games that’s linked to a franchise while there was no quality control at all. While the graphical quality of the game was rather low, it’s just sad that the 3DS can’t run the game properly, which means the developers did no effort to optimize this port. Nonetheless, this is one of those games that might entertain your kids for a few minutes, if you find it in a discount bin. If you’re looking for a fun brawler, simply go with Nintendo’s Smash Bros for the 3DS, instead of this poorly managed zoo.

As we believe the console version is much better than this low quality handheld port, we will more than likely do a review of the console version as a follow up.

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Rating: 4.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends - Review, 4.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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