I’ve recently had the joy of being able to test Kung Foo!, Perfect World’s newest MMO, during its closed beta phase. Underneath all the puns, between all the laughs, there’s a glimmer of promise already in this little star.
The story of Kung Foo! (and I hope you haven’t forgotten its guest writer, Devin Grayson) is the heart and soul of the MMO story itself. You are a grasshopper, an apprentice seeking out your way to become a hero. There is, of course, a lost princess, and you must study hard to build your inner Foo.
Let’s not forget the key component of Kung Foo!‘s story, though – it is a parody, a satire, a comical look at the MMO world that many of us have come to know so well. You don’t have to look far at all for laughs in Kung Foo! – the humor is everywhere, from the names of NPCs and abilities to your quest for, yes, Balls of Steel. To be perfectly clear: this is more than a localized Q-World. This is epic meta-MMOing at its finest.
After all, what other games actually name classes “Meat Shield” or “Healbot”?
At its core, Kung Foo! is a classic MMORPG with some import-MMO stylings. Players kill creatures and complete quests to level up, put points in talent trees to learn new skills, craft new gear, and even have their own pets. For those familiar with Perfect World Entertainment’s other MMOs, Kung Foo! bears a lot of similarity to Ether Saga Online. Otherwise, anyone familiar with MMOs won’t be lost on the basic concepts of the game, and if they are, well, there’s a lovely tongue-in-cheek tutorial available in game that will teach you about harnessing your foo to “full bunny-kickin’ potential,” killing “offensively inoffensive something-or-other”s, and collecting “L0o7z, l3wt, and loot.”
The play style is a fair mix, at least at the lower levels, of questing and grinding. Yes, many quests will have you kill umpteen squirrels, and there is no quest objective stacking (meaning that if two people ask you to kill 25 rabbits, you’re going to have to kill 50.) But there are plenty of quests to be had, including the random repeatable quests from the Dispatcher, and combat is simple and fast enough grinding doesn’t feel like much of a chore. In addition, the main story line – called the Hero Quest – is excellent at getting characters through levels without the need of additional work.
There’s also the ability to transform into other creatures – something that hasn’t become a huge part of the closed beta phase just yet, but which I keep hearing is one of the best parts of the game. I certainly enjoyed kicking butt as one of the adorable fluff bunnies pictured here.
So Is It Fun?
Abso-foo-lutely. Sure, the game is whimsical (the player race is called Cutehumans, and you can’t deny from some screens that there’s a whole lot of sugar in that cereal), but it’s also hilarious. There’s just a certain charm about a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, like the now-gone Dungeon Runners, that makes it all worth playing, of giving motivation to continue on to level after level.
The TL;DR version? So far, Kung Foo! is pretty awesome – and is worth checking out when you get a chance.