The Game Slush Pile

Shaolin vs Wutang Switch Review

PlatformNintendo Switch
Release Date9/7/20
PublisherGodspeed Games
ESRB Rating T

Shaolin vs Wutang is the passion project of one guy. Yes, one guy decided to make a love letter to cheesy 1970s Kung Fu films. He even says this in the marketing blurb: “It is not my intention to provide the same experience as big budget fighting games. But rather, I hope to provide players with a satisfying gaming experience blended with nostalgia and reminiscence of the great Kung Fu films.” And honestly, he nailed the style. From the character design, to the stage design, to the licensed soundtrack, this feels like a Kung Fu film. Take the characters. They don’t have names; they’re named after their fighting style, like Crane Fist, Buddha Plant, or Jeet Kun Do. But you know these characters, like this guy:

If you’ve watched Kung Fu movies, you’ve run into this guy, and he looks good. There’s even a young Chuck Norris:

Bruce Lee is in the lower right spot.

Where Shaolin vs Wutang falls flat is the gameplay. It is shallow, and the fights boil down to mashing the punch, kick, or weapon buttons to do combos. There are super moves, combo breakers, a dash button, and other things to spice it up, but they do not help much. I’m not even sure that the twenty-seven styles on display here are accurately portrayed, as opposed to something like Mortal Kombat Deception, where they are and it shows in how the moves are performed. The guy did not have the budget or the time to get motion capture from 27 different martial arts practitioners (he just did the motion capture himself, according to the credits).

He even says about Shaolin vs Wutang that it is, “Made for casual game fans, not intended for Hardcore Fighting Game players.” It’s an excuse for shallowness. While I understand it, it’s a flimsy one at best. I cannot stop feeling there could have been more meat with some effort.

The game looks good for a budget one-man project.

Shaolin vs Wutang was one guy’s passion project, and honestly, I liked it. It’s definitely a case of style over substance though. Your enjoyment will definitely depend on your love for cheesy Kung Fu cinema. The sequel is currently on Steam in early access. If it ever came to Switch, I’d be interested to see how it improves upon this.

Overall: Shaolin vs Wutang is a passion project by one man to capture Kung Fu cinema. In that he succeeds, even if the end product isn’t deep.

Verdict: Recommended*

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*if you love Kung Fu movies.

P.S. Try Rumble Dragon for a fun beat ’em up! Try Fight of Steel for another good indie fighter!

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