I only played the demo, which was very underwhelming. In the demo at least, all you do is run straight at one enemy at a time, then either time your blocks to the enemy's attacks and then attack the enemy after that, then use your stun move when you have enough chi built up.
You can't attack if you don't block first, and you can't move anywhere other than straight toward the enemy (you can't even back up).
A little too close to the original, I think. There are 400 points of achievements, but when the game is so incredibly boring, I don't see the point. It's doesn't hold up like Prince of Persia does. Doesn't get by on Mechner's name alone. If the game gets any better later, the demo is far too short to show that (which makes me think that it won't).
My guess is that MS isn't putting out any good XBLA titles on purpose these two weeks knowing full well that Halo and Black Ops will get all the attention and that whatever comes out won't sell, regardless.
I feel that's the mentality you need for this game if you're going to enjoy it, because it's a near-straightforward port almost to a fault. You'll need to treat this like an updated 80s game, or perhaps more like an arcade cabinet title you plunk a couple of quarters into for a few minutes of fun at a time.
What HAS been changed, however, is the way the fighting's been handled. Indeed, you can't move back, but the fighting's been modified so it's never really necessary to. Instead of moving back and forth to get the occasional kick or jab in, you rely on timed blocks, at which point the opponent leaves himself open to a flurry of punches and kicks. It succeeds in making the game move quicker, but it's also substantially easier as a result.
Thanks for the answers. It really helped me out. I got a bit of time this weekend, and tried the demo. There was some good and bad said about the game. I agree with them all, but I actually ended buying it. It's a rhythmic kind of fun. I wouldn't have even tried it without your input, so thanks.