[Review] Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Flux Game Studio
  • Publisher: Game Mill Entertainment
  • Price: £34.99 / $39.99 
  • Release Date: 24/11/2020
  • Review code provided by Game Mill Entertainment

Introducing: Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues Switch Review

36 years after the first Karate Kid movie LaRusso and Lawrence come face to face yet again, this time they are leading their own Dojos. The Karate Kid Saga Continues runs along side the popular TV series which strangely moved from YouTube Premium over to Netflix. The video game is a side scrolling beat ’em up offering a choice of 2 storylines and a plethora of skills to pick up & learn as you progress through the 28 levels. Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is an authentic experience with the original actors offering their vocal talents complete with an exclusive soundtrack brought to you from the creators of the show. Whose side will you pick, Miyagi Do Karate or Cobra Kai?

Yes, Sensei

Even though the game offers 2 storylines depending on which Sensei you choose the outcomes and scenarios are pretty much the same with cutscenes and dialogue changing slightly. Unless you are a massive fan of Karate Kid there is little to no incentive to playthrough the game twice. The story of the game runs parallel with season 2 of Cobra Kai, so it would pay to watch the show before playing the game so you are accustomed to the characters and premise of the franchise.

When I think of beat ’em ups, titles like Double Dragon, Battletoads, TMNT and the unforgettable Streets Of Rage series comes to mind. 2020 also saw the release of the long awaited 4th instalment of SOR and after a 26 year hiatus it was a real return to form. So is Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues a meaningless release to earn a quick buck whilst the franchise is riding the crest of a wave or does the game pack a punch worthy of a seat amongst the greats that were mentioned earlier?

Cobra Kai has an extensive campaign with 4 playable characters to choose from depending on which dojo you pick which you can quickly swap between by the press of a button. The beat ’em up also includes offline 2 player co-op. I am surprised by the lack of online capabilities especially with the premium price tag but it doesn’t ruin the experience and isn’t a complete deal breaker.

Wax On, Wax Off

The main hub and level selection is built on a map of West Valley, navigating around to pick a level can be fiddly at times especially when the path’s T off into other areas of the map. On many occasions I found myself back tracking because the analogue stick would register an incorrect direction. You can also select your Dojo HQ, here you can keep track of your achievements and spend your hard earned in-game cash named karate tokens on new skills. When changing and picking new skills, it feels familiar and natural.

The developers Flux have chosen to use the popular skill tree layout which seems to be the go to formula these days in games that have RPG style gameplay. To keep the game feeling fresh some of the tiers have multiple options once you pick a skill the others are lost, making each playthrough unique. For a small fee you can reset your skills if you feel like mixing things up.

The levels themselves are based on points of interest in West Valley from the Shopping Mall to the High School. The stages can feel a bit lengthy with some of the main levels lasting around 20 minutes. This can take its toll on you when you are constantly button bashing, but as the tagline for the Cobra Kai Dojo states show ‘No Mercy’. The Controls at first seem straightforward to pick up but the more you play and learn new combos there is a sense of skill that is needed to master the game. Yes, you can frantically press random buttons to get through the level but it will take a real student to learn the endless combinations needed to impress your sensei.

No Such Thing As Bad Student, Only Bad Teacher

The one thing that lets the game down is the art style, the developers have decided to go down the 2.5D route but the end result feels like a well polished Dreamcast game. The cutscenes felt out of place as well with the characters moving out of time to the narrative. Long after the text has finished they are still silently talking waiting for you to press confirm. Talking about pressing to confirm, another annoyance was that you had to hold the button down for 5 seconds to confirm the decision. Whether it was to accept an option, pick a skill or even to go back to the menu there was a lot of time wasted.

If you are a fan of the series then the music and narrative would come to no surprise. The soundtrack offers 80s hair metal and the narrative is just as cheesy, but that is what makes the game feel authentic and enjoyable. I lost count how many times some one said ‘Kick Ass’.

Conclusion

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is far from a perfect game with the long drawn-out levels and the art style making it feel like an old port rather than a brand new game. But if you look past that, Cobra Kai is a rewarding and fun side scrolling beat ’em up that can be enjoyed on your own or with your friends in multiplayer co-op as long as its offline. The endless skill combinations and achievements will keep you playing for hours. The hardest choice will be which Dojo will you playthrough with first. Personally I chose the badass that is Johnny Lawrence.

Pros

  • Narrative voiced by the original actors
  • Over 40 skills to learn and master
  • 28 levels to fight through
  • Authentic addition to the Cobra Cai franchise

Cons

  • Levels are too long
  • The art style feels dated
  • Holding a button down for 5 seconds to choose any option is way too long

Verdict
Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is a kick ass beat ’em up that shows no mercy. It is a must play for any fan of the series.

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