Review – Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues

With the recent Netflix continuation of The Karate Kid being all the rage right now, it was all but a matter of time before Cobra Kai got its own video game adaptation. The original movie had its own 2D action game back in the day on the NES, published by the not-so-beloved LJN, so why wouldn’t Cobra Kai be able to get its own tie-in as well? Especially since how licensed titles aren’t (always) as bad as they used to be back in the day? Seeing as the Netflix series has garnered such a positive response, the bar was set high for our dear Johnny Lawrence’s debut on consoles.

They do call it a beat ’em up, so beat ’em up.

Cobra Kai is a beat ’em up that’s heavily inspired by classics like Streets of Rage and Final Fight, with the main difference being simple, but decent polygonal graphics instead of the art style adopted by this year’s Streets of Rage 4. As you roam through levels, the roads and paths will twist and turn, leading you into back rooms and down alleys. It’s a nice difference from the “keep walking right” mindset this style of game generally employs.

To start in the story, you need to pick your dojo. You can either join the titular Cobra Kai dojo, because duh, or you can join Daniel-San’s dojo from the classic Karate Kid filmes, the Miyagi-Do. From there onwards, it’s a simple, “hey there’s guys to beat up”, beat ’em up. One nice touch is a variety of actors reprise their roles for their characters. Most importantly, this includes the titular characters Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny, which adds a lot of value to what could have otherwise been a cheap cash grab.

Just a good ol’ playground brawl

While you’ll be given missions to progress through the game, Cobra Kai does feature a rather large overworld map. Here you can pick what level to tackle, letting you get a better score or aim to gather all the collectables. You can also visit the dojo, where you can level up each of your characters, or your dojo proper as a whole. Leveling up each individual allows you to increase their strength, abilities, your typical stat progression system. Leveling up your dojo has the same effects, but applying towards all characters in your control at once.

Whatever you do, please, do not hurt the stuffed octopus.

Progressing through levels, you’ll fight a variety of characters, but nothing all that new to beat ’em up games. Normal guys, big guys, bosses, whatever you would normally tackle. You’ll also get multiple characters to take through each level. Obviously not taking too much damage is generally the key to success. Each character has a different set of moves as well. Chaining switching between characters can be quite useful, almost like Marvel Vs Capcom. The game also includes local co-op, allowing for a friend to join in the action… or at least after the lockdown rules are lifted.

Do you think he based his life around his name?

The game adaptation of Cobra Kai might actually be up your alley if you’re a fan of the show, a fan of Karate Kid, or beat ’em ups in general. It’s a faithful rendition of the hit series, translated properly in arcade format with a few twists of its own. It boasts good graphics, excellent voice acting, easy controls, and most importantly, couch co-op. A show like this is a perfect fit for a game, after all. It might have some issues, as well as a ton of filler, but it’s worth your time, especially for a licensed title.


Graphics: 7.5

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is actually a fine looking beat ’em up. The environment feels rich and the background looks vivid, instead of looking like a bunch of filler.

Gameplay: 7.0

The overall gameplay is very smooth, with combos being easy to learn and pull off.

Sound: 8.5

While the music is quite decent at best, the voice acting definitely elevates the storytelling to a whole new level.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Once we are allowed to have friends around again, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues will be a great couch co-op experience. Thankfully, as it stands, it’s still fun to tackle alone and definitely warrants a playthrough with each dojo.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues was provided by the publisher.