"Cobra Kai," which has made the shift from YouTube to Netflix, is one of the most entertaining shows on TV. Its licensed game makes a valiant effort to live up to the legacy of the series, but falls short in subtle, gnawing ways.
There is clearly plenty of love and enthusiasm for the series involved. With eight playable characters to choose from across 28 missions, you can live out just about all of your street brawler fantasies as a member of Miyagi-Do or Cobra Kai dojos.
The side-scroller gives you the choice between the factions, then sets you free to romp through its side of the story. The approach is wise, given the way it follows the philosophy of the writing. Unlike the righteous dogmatism of the "Karate Kid" films, the series crane-kicks its way along varying shades of grey, with both sides appearing heroic or villainous at times, despite being convinced that they are always in the right.
The story unfolds from both perspectives, allowing you to see the varied shades in which both sides, who are under the tutelage of lifelong rivalry between Danie LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence.
In the "Streets of Rage" tradition, you slug your way through armies of enemies, with massive life meter-toting minibosses and end-level bosses awaiting you.
A fun and breezy idea in concept, some quality-of-life adjustments would have made things more enjoyable. Wonky hit detection and inconsistent damage amounts make it tough to know whether it pays off to be more precise or prioritize button-mashing. An overall lack of polish abounds, making the game feel more at times like a browser gamer rather than a console release. Also, the levels run on far too long. A bite-sized approach typically works better in repetitive titles such as this.
With spirit and vigor to spare, though, the "Cobra Kai" adaptation is an apt companion to fans of the series. A silly and colorful complement to the mythos, it's worth a look for superfans of the show.
Publisher provided review code.