On a conceptual level, Kung Fu Panda 2 is an insipid realization of Po's high-flying fury, and the execution is fraught with just as many problems. The controls are maddeningly inconsistent. In a best-case scenario, it takes a half-second for the game to recognize your actions, which makes you feel disconnected from what's happening onscreen. Even more disheartening, the game often fails to register your physical movements. You may have to leap in the air two or three times for the game to acknowledge that you want to perform a jump kick, and that tiring repetition further cements the tedium of combat. Other times, the game thinks you're doing one thing when in actuality, you're doing something quite different. You have to raise both arms above your head to block an airborne attack, but the game frequently registers only one raised arm and causes you to get hurt anyway. Or it may interpret your duck as a dodge, forcing you to take damage that you shouldn't have to bear. This is especially troubling later in the game when you have to fight many opponents in a row without checkpoints. It's not worth putting up with the grueling punishment to replay these extended sequences just because the game won't mirror your moves.
The fighting action is interspersed with three minigames with enough regularity to give you a temporary reprieve from the monotony. These involve ladling soup for the hungry denizens of your village, cruising down hills on top of a rickshaw, and tossing objects as if in a shooting gallery. Control problems persist in these diversions, and they are just as shallow as every other aspect of this game, but things aren't entirely bad. Zooming while on top of a rickety contraption is a fast departure from your fisticuff forays, and though it's aggravating when the cart doesn't respond to your movements, it's still entertaining for the brief time it lasts. And target practice captures the same enjoyment, letting you show off your power for a few minutes as you are freed from the cumbersome restrictions that dictate your moves in combat. Noodle shop is the weakest of these minigames because the imprecise controls make it tricky to serve up a hot meal in time, but the three minigames are still welcome additions to this disappointing package.
Po helps out in the soup kitchen when he's not punching rhinos.
When you think about what Kung Fu Panda 2 is trying to accomplish, it sounds like a really neat idea. Po's larger-than-life persona and martial arts expertise make him a forceful yet endearing character, and inhabiting his body with the power of the Kinect could have served as an interesting interactive complement to the blockbuster movie. But those exciting ideas quickly disintegrate once you start to play. Unresponsive controls are the beginning of the problems, and the Simon Says-inspired combat strips away any chance of feeling like a potent panda. The minigames are fun, but they function more as a counter to the drab fighting than a engaging experience on their own. Even the most determined Kung Fu Panda 2 fans will be annoyed by this lifeless adaptation.