Developed by Flux and Published by GameMill Entertainment Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is a side-scrolling beat-em-up video game adaptation of the Cobra Kai Netflix series. The game does contain most of the cast from the series and some voice acting from William Zabka and Ralph Macchio. The rest of the audio consists of standard fighting noise and bland rock music instrumentals which are not too memorable. You can choose to play the main game from both sides of the coin; eitheK Johnny with the Cobra kai and his disciples, or as Danny with the Miyagi-Do and his students. The game boasts a sharp arcade-style and the character models look decent.
I enjoyed the original Karate kid film and have heard great things about the new Cobra Kai series. I thought I could watch the show and play the game at the same time to see how it relates; though other than the main characters appearing in both I don’t think the storyline is related too much. It is centered around the 2 rival dojos, their students at each other’s throats and you have to beat the rivals ass. The enemies in the game sometimes reference the goons from the new series but also stretch to weird areas. It seems not only members of the rival dojo want to kick your ass but random people on the street too. Spray painters, security guards and even mothers want a piece of the action which I am pretty sure doesn’t happen in the new series.
The gameplay was a real let down for me. If I had said that this game was Streets of Rage but with skills powerups and based on the new Cobra Kai TV series I’m sure many fans would have been on board. But then if I added ‘but designed by someone who haven’t fully got to grips with all the game mechanics’ you might be less enthusiastic.
Now I am not saying this is just a cash-in, because I don’t think it is. The game is functional and to some extent, it is quite fun. It has a neat feature which allows you to switch to other members of your dojo on the fly on each level. But there are so many poor choices here it’s just a bit saddening.
The combat itself is clunky as hell with hit detection that is all over the place, has a parry system that works infrequently, the walls of the screen are made out of elastic as enemies bounce around and the ground moves are so hard to pull off. They seem to have squeezed too much in and chosen quantity over quality.
You have your normal attacks, special attacks, grab attacks, ground attacks, environment attacks, weapon attacks, skill moves, dojo moves and an ultimate move. Each character has at least 4 unique skill moves and they share 4 dojo moves with fellows from the same dojo. I struggled to perform some of the ground moves as either the enemy gets up too quickly or they glow red and attack you from the ground. The grab moves are also unnecessarily difficult to pull off as the enemy needs to be stunned first which requires certain combo hits or a skill move that specifically stuns them.
Cobra Kai encourages you to go for combos and they have to be varied. This is because the bigger the combo and more varied it is, the more health you get back when your combo is over. Should one of your fellow dojo buddies fall in battle you need to perform a combo of grade B and above to be able to revive them. I think I may have only achieved a B ranking once as I can only connect with certain attacks.
The skill attacks and the Dojo attacks don’t cost health to use but they have a recharge counter before you can use them again and I had to rely on them a lot to make it through the level. You do get the occasional food pickup to restore some health which is vital to succeeding as the game can be quite tough, and some of the levels are quite long.
If all the moves were not enough for you they also include powerups and hidden collectables in the levels. The powerups are as confusing as they are difficult to pick up at times and I am not convinced all of them do something. They might as well not have been included. The hidden items in the level actually surprised me as they are well placed in unobvious locations.
The game is side-scrolling but you can also move up and down on the screen and occasionally the camera will change direction so it doesn’t look like you’re just going down one long street or road which is interesting. Even then, the area with which to hide things is quite small but I still manage to miss them on each level, but as they only influence what powerups appear on the level I am not too fussed.
Outside of the main action, you have your dojo screen where you can use the coins collected throughout the level to purchase skills and stat upgrades for your characters. These are vital to progression and you can redo some of the levels if you wish as some of the upgrades are costly. There are also challenge milestones you can hit for extra coins by defeating enemies a certain way which help speed up the upgrade process. After you have played through the game as the first dojo of your choosing you are also encouraged to play through the game as the other dojo to experience those characters and side of the story. Also, it is said you need to complete the game with both dojos to get the true ending. You can play co-op, but only locally which makes the game more fun than on your own but doesn’t take away from the fact the game could do with far more polish.
Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is a unique surreal arcade scrolling beat-em-up. For me, it has mixed success as it does have cool characters with unique skills and some cool ideas. But as the gameplay is not robust this game will struggle to pull players in outside of fans of the film and series. I fell that some some features, like powerups, could have been cut if it meant the combat ended up more refined. It is fun to play with a friend and I’m sure fans of the series will enjoy the tie in, but it just leaves me with the feeling that this was rushed out before it was done.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.