Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Puppetteering Not So Fun After All

Friday, January 19th, 2007 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 130 votes, average: 3.01 out of 5)

Rag Doll Kung Fu is a mostly solo effort by Mark Healey, a former Lionhead artist (who has since founded Media Molecule with other Lionhead veterans). RDKF is a very impressive production; especially considering that Mark made the jump from artist to programmer in order to implement his vision. The visuals are fantastic, the cut scenes are consistently quirky, and the overall production quality is top-notch. But how does it stack up as a physics game? Well, read on…

Puppet Physics

The control paradigm in Rag Doll Kung Fu is best described as puppetry. Your character will stand under his own power, and you click and drag appendages to move him around. The feet stick to the ground with a breakable force; lead left or right and the feet will unstick and swing forward. This results in a great impression that the character is reluctantly following your cursor.

To strike, you right-click on any limb and drag it towards your intended target. Upon release of the mouse button your character unleashes a kick/punch/head butt/whatever. Any weapon in your hand will automatically connect; all you have to do is flail.

Precision Mousing Required

Where Rag Doll Kung Fu falls down, in my opinion, is its requirement for very precise mouse movements. If you want to kick something you need to find and click on one of your feet. In the midst of battle, and because the default camera behavior is to auto zoom out, that can be rather tricky. This is exacerbated by the fact that the game forces you to constantly move the mouse (you need to move the mouse in tiny circles to constantly power up your chi). The end result is that the mouse cursor is all over the place.

I have a really hard time getting into the flow of a RDKF game because of this. Other character-based physics games, like Ragdoll Masters and Ski Stunt Simulator, implement tighter, more 1-to-1 control of your character. I much prefer direct contract as compared to Rag Doll Kung Fu’s point-and-drag interface. The learning curve may be more obvious when you can simply click on what exactly you’d like to move, but for me the skill ceiling is much, much lower. My skill as a player doesn’t improve much, so I’m still fumbling around as much after a few hours of play as I was when I first picked the game up.

Rag Doll Kung FuScreenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Rag Doll Kung Fu Game Screenshots)

Content and Production

It’s worth noting that despite RDKF’s flaws as a physics game, the overall experience–when you take into account the cutscenes, production polish, and available minigames–is definitely worth your dollar. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, with a lot of obvious drug references and influences. The slowdown mushroom effect is great. The cutscenes are strange, and depending on your sense of humor you’ll probably be delighted or irritated by them.

A Disappointing Physics Game

At the end of the day, though, I’m not that impressed with Rag Doll Kung Fu as a physics game. I was really looking forward to it, too, after I heard such amazing things following its demo at the Experimental Gameplay Workshop in 2005. There are just too many barriers getting in the way of meaningful, controlled player movement. My RDKF experience usually looks like puppets spazzing out, and that’s not very satisfying or very replayable.

Download Rag Doll Kung Fu Game

The full version of Rag Doll Kung Fu is available for $14.95 on Steam (a demo is also available).

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21 Responses to 'Puppetteering Not So Fun After All'

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  1. Aqua General said,

    on January 19th, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    The game looks very smooth. I played a game like this on Steam.

  2. Flameo said,

    on January 19th, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Yea, this game is actually really boring
    IMO (In my opinion)

  3. c--b said,

    on January 19th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Agreed, It really does stink. It turns into a flailfest. There’s practically no skill involved in playing.

  4. Danny Martinez said,

    on January 19th, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    yah its real boring.

  5. Robminder said,

    on January 19th, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Yeah,I actually bought it thinking it would be great, but it turned out to be really annoying.

  6. Mr. Falco said,

    on January 19th, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    well i’ve kinda been hoping for a free game to be reviewed but i have played this and it kept my attention for around 20 min and than it got boring. not a very great game.

  7. Matthew said,

    on January 19th, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Mr. Falco: I have a sweet freeware review on deck (completely ready to post with video and all). It’ll be posted in the next few days. I’m going to crank out a few reviews this weekend and release them on a schedule to get regular updates going again…

  8. Jokker said,

    on January 20th, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Wow, cool.

    Though I have a question. To get Steam you only need to download it? No subscription fee, no CD-Key or something needed? >.>

  9. on January 20th, 2007 at 2:50 am

    I remember being really psyched about this game before it came out. It looked SOOOO COOOOL. Frankly, I expected something more along the lines of Ragdoll Masters.

    But I got the demo and I found something that… eh. I won’t even go into it. Let’s just say I was REALLY happy when I found Ragdoll Masters.


  10. Beakless said,

    on January 20th, 2007 at 4:21 am

    yay, great news about the updates matt!

    poor game, especilly for $15

  11. kuhfi said,

    on January 20th, 2007 at 8:47 am


    I got this game. I got an illegal copy and i didnt know about it… i bought it in ebay and thought that it was legal. Nope, this game sux.

    Thats all.

    You got the storymode through in 2 days, mp with your friend with 2 mouses can be fun.

  12. BreenedandScrooned said,

    on January 20th, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Jokker, you just have to download Steam. And yeah, this game really isn’t very good. I played it once, and I didn’t even know what the Hell I was doing.

  13. Dclone2 said,

    on January 20th, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Nice way to be subtle kuhfi :P
    Anyways, yea I found it was really lacking, but I liked the online for a while. It’s kinda like a time waster.

  14. Martin K said,

    on January 21st, 2007 at 2:09 am

    I have to agree with everyone on here, but especially Great Pretender. I waited for so long for this game to come out, I was so so ready, I was theeeeeerreee, man.

    And it was a horrible, horrible disappointment. Visually it was professional-level, and stylistically different from your standard side-scroller (in a good way), but the gameplay was ridiculously blunt. Flailfest was a great way to put it. Meh. And they weren’t even real ragdolls! Bastards!

  15. valpster said,

    on January 21st, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Fun-motion is a great site! It’s pretty hard to find physics games that are small and free… so I thought i’d help a little.

    Check out

    I think it’s a nice and original concept of physics based gameplay… and it’s free!

    More links to come..

  16. Jokker said,

    on January 21st, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Ugh, Steam won’t install on my system. >_

  17. BreenedandScrooned said,

    on January 24th, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Why not? Is there an error or something?

  18. ego5000 said,

    on January 26th, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Just nothing happenes when i click “DOWNLOAD DEMO” but when i click “BUY FULL VERSION” (or somethin’ like that) Steam opens.

  19. Ormsbro said,

    on February 3rd, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    There is an easier of fighting Matthew, you just need to hold down right click near your guy and it will attack with the closest limb. You can also spin your mouse around for a while so you get the little combo blocks round the pointer that let you rapidly anything close to you by clicking the RM button.

    Hope that helps (Awesome site btw, been going to it for a about a year or something but this is my first comment)

  20. Darkblade99 said,

    on February 19th, 2007 at 9:11 am

    doesn’t make sense i have the same problem as ego5000

  21. pengirules said,

    on August 24th, 2007 at 2:45 am

    And now Mark Healey has gone to a better place: working on the hottest game for PS3, LittleBigPlanet.

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