Kung Fu Panda is based on the movie Kung Fu Panda. Players initially control Po, who differs from the movie in that he possesses a basic level of martial arts skill from the beginning, enabling him to participate in battle. In addition to fighting and jumping challenges, maintaining balance is another important element of the game, such as Po crossing tightropes, staying on moving platforms, and steering a boat through a dangerous river. Over the course of the game's narrative, the player improves Po's skill by adding various new fighting techniques and special moves, although in some parts of the game, the player will have to complete the tasks as another character.
After collecting a number of coins at the end of each level, the player has the option to buy upgrades to Po's moves and health, as well as a different set of new outfits. Eventually, as the player progresses through the game, they'll be able to unlock other characters, including Master Shifu and the members of the Furious Five (a team of elite fighters each with their own fighting styles and mini-games). In addition, the player will be able to use objects and weapons when fighting. Furthermore, before each new level, Po narrates the continuing story, while the words are being scrolled up on the screen.
In the Wii version, the Wii Remote is used to perform moves and skills, such as the Wuxi Finger Hold; in the PlayStation 3 version, the motion sensors of the Sixaxis controller can be used to control Crane in missions, where players play as him, while in the Nintendo DS version, while the D-pad moves Po, the touch screen is mainly used for combat moves, in the style of the DS version of Spider-Man 3, which was also developed by Vicarious Visions.
The game includes a multiplayer mode with new levels and characters. In addition, the game features bosses, including the Great Gorilla, the Wu Sisters, and Nameless. The player can collect action figures of the Furious Five and rare coins and use them to unlock things at the Extras Menu.