It seems that, even in the age of online console connectivity, game developers still recognise the merit in the local multiplayer party game. While such games will still offer online multiplayer support, the likes of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Bomberman Live are best enjoyed with a few friends in the comfort of your lounge. Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic is perhaps Sony’s best claim to an exclusive party brawler yet, and borrows some of the best aspects from its peers while adding some inspired game modes and clever Sixaxis functionality.
Like the best social games, Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic is intuitive and easy to pick up and play. With the ability to jump, punch and kick in any direction using the analogue sticks, up to four players can duke it out locally in a variety of game modes. Ranging from the classic death match to more inventive modes like Capture the Fish (a twisted variant of basketball – one player must deposit a fish into a basket as many times as possible within a certain time limit while the others try to stop him), Rag Doll Kung Fu oozes with potential for social hilarity.
While you can still hold your own and indeed have a blast with the basic controls of Rag Doll Kung Fu, you’ll want to learn some of the advanced techniques to get the most out of the game. Most of these make use of the PS3’s unique Sixaxis controls; you can meditate and regenerate health by turning the controller upside down (which leaves you vulnerable to attack) and unleash a slam attack by raising the controller and moving it quickly downwards, for instance.
Often, however, the problem with social, party games is that their appeal is limited if you’re on your lonesome. In the case of Rag Doll Kung Fu, there are training and challenge modes that allow you to compete with your friends in online leaderboards. But the appeal truly lies in the local multiplayer, which is where Rag Doll Kung Fu shines.