Kick or Die makes kung-fu fighting look easy [Reviews]


Kick or Die
This looks so dangerous.
Photo: Boomfire Games

Super-elaborate, open-world games with stats, exploration, or an engrossing storyline are great, but sometimes you just want to put your foot in some ninjas’ faces. And that’s where Kick or Die really delivers.

This mobile title has been out for a couple months, but it’s just received an update that adds some new challenges and bosses. We didn’t play the earlier versions, but the new one is a fast-pased, dead-simple kickstravaganza that will keep your thumbs on their toes, even though that sounds completely stupid and impossible.

The game’s fun, though.

Here’s how it works: You play as a Bruce Lee-esque martial artist who stands in the middle of the screen while enemies approach from either side. The controls take up the bottom of your display, and you tap the left side to kick left and the right side to kick right. Kicking is your only line of defense other than a devastating dragon super-move that slowly fills up on an icon located between the two kicks. It could be a metaphor for balance? We don’t know, but it’s in the middle.

You have to time your feet of fury to hit enemies when they’re close enough. Otherwise, you’ll lose your balance and open yourself up to attack. The rest of the challenge comes from different enemy abilities. Standard ninjas take a single hit to dispatch, but armored ones can take a couple. Big, fat enemies take three quick kicks to take out, and some other baddies teleport to either side of you after you first attack them.

And since it’s a pixel-art throwback to arcade titles, the enemy list also includes insane dogs that leap at you. It’s sad to kick a dog in the face, but it’s them or you in this case.

Kick or Die accomplishes a lot with its basic formula, and it’s a blast to play. It also includes leaderboards, an endless arcade mode, and some really slick sharing options that let you toss your replay videos into an e-mail or on YouTube. Here’s one of mine:

Stupid fat guys. They threw off my rhythm.

Kick or Die is available for free in the App Store