Sometimes you have to admire a game for its honesty, a game that doesn’t try to hide its nature or influences. A game that doesn’t ever pretend it’s not a clone of another, more famous game. Kung Fu Panda: Battle of Destiny is perfectly honest about itself, and never shies from the fact that it’s a Hearthstone clone. But is being a clone of a great game enough to make the clone itself great?
Battle of Destiny is essentially Hearthstone, but with Kung Fu Panda characters and lore. When I say it’s a clone, I mean it’s near identical. Ensemble of famous heroes with themed cards and strategies? Check. Card summoning system based on an ever-increasing resource pool? Check. Whoever starts second gets a card that grants a bonus resource? Check that one too.
While the basic outline of the game doesn’t surprise, there are a few modifications and tweaks that give Battle of Destiny an identity of its own. It has that particular brand of Kung Fu Panda humour, for example. You know the humour I’m talking about, where every second noun and adjective is some form of either “destiny” or “awesome”. It’s not particularly well-written or funny, but it’s instantly recognisable and definitely true to the source material.
The game’s generally faster than Hearthstone. Matches are won when one player, represented by a hero character (Po, Tigress, Monkey, etc.) has their hit points reduced to zero. In Hearthstone, the majority of hero characters are more support and spellcasting orientated. In Battle of Destiny, hero characters have attack values and are encouraged to be active in battles. Minion cards are killed off quicker as a result of this, which leaves the game board in a constant state of upheaval and requires a lot of improvisation. The game feels tailor-made for mobile and runs exceptionally well on less-powerful devices. This is in contrast to Hearthstone, which was clearly built for PCs and more powerful devices.
On a negative note, the faster speed of the matches does seem to render long-term planning and precise deck construction rather invalid. It might be because Battle of Destiny is still in its infancy, but it seems like this will always be a more casual, approachable alternative to Hearthstone. There’s also very little to actually do with the game at the moment. Currently, the only online game mode is ranked PvP, and extra modes like Hearthstone‘s Arena would be very welcome. Again, this game is still new, so hopefully we’ll see more modes patched in soon.
Kung Fu Panda: Battle of Destiny has a clear goal in mind: to be a fun, approachable take on Hearthstone‘s formula. It succeeds brilliantly, and offers plenty of enjoyment if you like the speedier matches and the movie license.