It's prounounced Shaolin kids. Just like the monks, and it feels about as fun as one of their kicks. Directly to the face.
This should tell you most of what you need to know. As I am writing this, the PSP is beating Xiaolin Showdown by itself. There it is, sitting on my desk attached to the power plug, the AI companions seemingly happy enough to attack wildly in the general vicinity of the bad guys. They're not reliable, they're just persistent and more prone to joyless button mashing than I am. I tried to beat the game with them, but my companions beat me up whenever I got in the way. Did I mention that by default, we're invulnerable? It's not beating the game entirely by itself mind you, I still perform the perfunctory and thankless tasks of hitting menu buttons or picking up the odd bit of parchment here and there. So the sound is on full blast to warn me when my mostly divided attention is needed. Oh look at that, it unlocked a secret bonus round for me...
Xiaolin Showdown is based off the WB cartoon of the same name (which is in my opinion is equally lame), shares the voice actors, some of the artwork, and the lame characters and storyline. Sometime in the past, this great Xiaolin warrior, who in an unseen epic Xiaolin Showdown used his collection of Shen Gong Wu (items of some magical power), sealed away this really bad Haylin lady. In the show's story, she's back in modern times but in spirit form only. So, she enlists the aid of Jack Spicer, a rich emo kid who went a bit too far and turned into a teenaged, annoying mad scientist, to collect the Shen Gong Wu and take over the planet. The heroes of the story, Omi the diminutive yellow headed (I'm not the one being racist here, his head really is a yellow sphere) Chinese monk new to the world outside his training, Raimundo the rough and tumble Latino kid with a sore past and a slight penchant for evil, Kimiko the standard gadget savvy Japanese girl who appears a lot in cartoons these days, and Clay a homegrown boy from Texas. He's obviously cool because he has a cowboy hat. With their guide, Dojo the dragon, they must find all the Shen Gong Wu before the forces of evil do.
Wowee! The AI collected another Shen Gong Wu. All by themselves! I'm so proud!
None of that story is here, one introductory cut scene and the assumption you probably already watch the series is all you're really given through the game's main adventure. This is the task you're assigned in the game's so called Adventure mode. To even name this game in the genre of titles like Zelda or Beyond Good and Evil is a disservice to those... hell this game is a disservice to Atari's Adventure. At least that one had history. This adventure mode is better compared to 4 player brawlers like Power Stone, except without the fun, and constrained to a box, a box without fun. In this box, you and your companions fight repetitive boring Star Wars droid rejects. There is no escape from this box, surrounded by invisible walls, filled with the most mundane of platforms and slow moving lasers. You're just there, fighting and fighting until a piece of a scroll appears seemingly at random in the box. The scroll is shielded by a forcefield which won't come down until you've destroyed yet more droids. Sometimes it's a rock creature creatively named, wait for it... rock creature!
Sure, some other creatures appear and the settings appear varied. Ranging from a launchpad for a giant robot to inside the purple plague ridden mouth of Dojo the Dragon, where even while inside his mouth, his continuing commentary remains devoid of any original humor. Eventually you get the three pieces of scroll and you earn the right to fight more bad guys until finally the Shen Gong Wu appears.
Then the game turns... well... it turns into something else. This opens up a new minigame, the titular Xiaolin Showdown, where you, your companions, and the bad guy all compete against each other for rights to the Shen Gong Wu. You'll encounter such children's classics like Tag, King of the Hill, Keep Away, all of which are implemented poorly. Winning the Shen Gong Wu gives you access to that Shen Gong Wu's power, essentially it's a special move like temporary invincibility or freezing your enemies. But you won't need them or care, the only reason you might want to win them is to keep them away from your idiot allies.
Here Xiaolin Showdown reveals itself to be the game that it really is. It's a multiplayer chase around and gather the glowing things first before your friends do. To that end, it's a common and aggravating sight to see that when you're trying to actively beat down the bad guys, your buddy stuns you and everyone else for a disgustingly long period of time. And there are a lot of Shen Gong Wu which give them this power to stun everyone. All of them long enough to say the full sentence, "If that freaking school girl hits me with that ice beam one more time, I'm demoting this UMD to a coaster."
But I did not, I persevered for you, our fine readers. I persevere to it's end to warn you against the worthlessness that is this disc. The gameplay works but moves effortlessly between bland and utterly aggravating, fighting the endless swarms of the same robots who seem so happy to sit there and take a beating when suddenly the cowboy picks me up and throws me at the rock creature. Your AI partners are seriously that bipolar, somewhere between idiotic and malicious. You can find yourself getting less hurt if you do absolutely nothing.
Oh look, Raimundo won another Shen Gong Wu. I hope he doesn't use it to temporarily turn my control scheme upside down so I fall into the lava. That seems to sting a little. Perhaps, just maybe, if you can convince three of your PSP toting friends to buy this disc, you might find some enjoyment in this imbalanced and frankly terrible chase for glowing objects. To prospective buyers, parents and fans of the show alike I say to you, "There is no game sharing on this disc my friends, and perhaps it's better that way."
What's Hot: The ideal game for the lazy, it will go ahead and beat itself
What's Not: Everything else