The first thing that captures your attention about Chu’s Dynasty is the beautiful graphics and backgrounds. Then you pause and say, “Is this really an indie game for $3?” Indie games that focus on beautiful and polished art like Chu’s Dynasty are few and far in-between. Chu’s Dynasty introduced itself as an indie fighting game on Xbox Live that has incorporated elements of Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. As brought up earlier, the art and graphics in this game are more than superb. To complement this is the wonderful sound effects, music, and voiceovers. The narrative voiceover was especially enjoyable to listen to. Considering that the visuals and sound are the top strong points of this game, I wish they had used it a little bit more in between battles for the campaign mode to weave a more in depth and engaging story.
The game controls are definitely hard to master and a tutorial mode which allows you to practice moves was lacking. All you get is a series of screens with instructions on what moves you can perform. Another thing I wasn’t a fan of was the inability to control when my character blocks. The game does it for you actively if you are either not moving and facing the attack or holding the right-trigger down while moving backwards. The game has only 4 playable characters which is decent considering the price point and production value. Each of them have their share of special moves that you can perform if either your Ki bar is filled up or using a time based attack. Both add variety to combat but seem very difficult to deploy effectively in real player versus player combat. The levels and platforms are also varied with some levels requiring you to keep jumping higher and higher to avoid rising lava.
It has potential for providing a good night of fun if you have a bunch of friends over. Though due to the high learning curve in regards to controls, your friends might get a little peeved if you have mastered them and dominate. The lack of online play is also disappointing and certainly detracts from the game’s replay value. But even though the game is lacking in certain areas, the hope is that the developer will continue improving it based on feedback. A bigger roster of playable characters, a more in-depth story mode, online play etc. will put it on track to become a popular indie fighting game purchase. Regardless, Chu’s Dynasty is worthy to be picked up for a quick play through considering it’s $3 price point and the relative lack of major game releases this Winter.