What if I told you that there’s a brawler where you don’t fight, but parry your way to victory? Discover the concept of “Weak em’ up” in this Way of the Passive Fist review.
Old school gaming will always be the best school for me. The ability to teach the player mechanics and concepts by just playing the game instead of having to read dull tutorial messages is something that we don’t see nowadays. Unless you are Household Games, in that case you know how to do things right. Do you love feeling like a badass evading moves and catching throwing knifes in the air? Well, in this Way of the Passive Fist review you’ll learn how to fight without fighting at all.
Can’t touch this
Way of the Passive Fist takes a concept well known by many players from the golden era of fighting games: a side-scroller action game. The lack of complicated combos and commands made developers learn how to make things exciting with just a couple of buttons. But Household Games want to go one step beyond that and offer the player a new approach to this: a genre that I named “Weak em’ up“.
The main essence of Way of the Passive Fist is how we engage our foes. The core actions are only two: we can parry and we can shove. Yes, I said parry, because we don’t beat our enemies. Making them tired is the key to keep on moving forward. While parrying, we will fill an special meter that will allow us to hit our enemies once, which is helpful if I we are surrounded by bad guys or if we want to eliminate an annoying foe first. It may take some time at first to learn the enemies’ attack patterns, but once we know you’ll feel like a Kung Fu master.
A wasteland with no wasted potential
The story of Way of the Passive Fist feels exactly how Jason Canam, head of Household Games, said on an interview for GuiltyBit:
What I wanted to offer with Way of the Passive Fist was an experience similar to the ones in 16 bit games, like if this was a TV animated show from the 80s, this one will be the arcade version of that show.
And you know? He’s completely right with this statement. We are the Wanderer, a legend in the planet Zircon V. That’s all I can say without spoilers, but don’t think this game is plot-heavy, far from it. But even if it’s not that, the story is quite fun, with even some twists at the end. But the important aspect of this game is how it teaches the player everything, and I mean EVERYTHING with visual cues.
Does the checkpoint lever has a certain color pattern? Try using the action button with other things that have that same color. A boss teaches you how to evade certain attack? Maybe you’ll see that same attack on another enemy. Everything feels polished and well crafted, and that’s just something that we can’t say every single day with most 2018 Triple A titles. And this one is made by an indie team.
Git gud at your own pace
The cherry on top of this great cake is that you can’t complain about Way of the Passive Fist difficulty, because you choose your own difficulty. Every single important thing on this game can be modified to the player’s taste. Parries are still hard to get and you don’t want to lose your combo due to a dumb mistake? Lower the “Combo Mastery” bar. Want an experience that will kick your ass with no checkpoints and deadly punches to the face? Crank it up to the max and enjoy the pain! The choices are yours and yours alone.
And of course, if you want another challenge, you can play the free expansion New Dawn, which is harder, cooler and with new backgrounds. I’m not kidding when I’m saying that as much as I try to, I can’t find something bad about this game.
I had a blast with Way of the Passive Fist. Its levels, the enemy variety, parrying like I was in a martial arts movie… Everything it’s just fantastic. Animations are fluid, the music will be inside your head for quite a while (you can blame Orie Falconer for that) and the most important part: it’s fun. If you want to experience old school with a small twist on its mechanics, this is the game for you.