Way of the Passive Fist
Developed By : Household Games
Published By : Household Games
Category : Arcade, Fighting, Side-Scroller
Release Date : Apr 10, 2019
Most of the time, I typically try and avoid side-scrolling beat-em-up games. They’re always fun for a bit, but at some point the difficulty curve ramps up too much for me and it becomes more frustrating than fun. However, Way of the Passive Fist struck a different chord with me. With an emphasis on dodging, blocking and parrying, while utilizing an almost rhythmic based system to do so, the game almost promised to be a block-em-up instead, and I just had to see it for myself.
Set on the distant planet of Zircon V, you take the role of someone known only as the Wanderer. Traveling across the planet, the Wanderer uses his Passive Fist technique, able to block and outlast any foe, whittling away at their stamina to the point that they can be simply blown over. The land is overrun with mutants and raiders, and with colonists disappearing, all signs point towards a mysterious figure known as Dr. Dyson to be responsible.
The game itself is spread over 10 chapters, each consisting of a number of different encounters marked off as scenes. Earlier chapters will contain only a few of these scenes, but as you get deeper you’ll experience more. Each scene contains a few waves of enemies for you to put your Passive Fist technique to use.
How does the Passive Fist technique work? It’s simple! Your “combat” moves revolve around three specific actions : dodging, parrying, or blocking. Enemies that attack you all have a stamina bar displayed over their heads, and as you perform each of your defensive techniques (successfully, mind you), you’ll slowly deplete their stamina bar. Once it’s empty, your opponent will be so out of energy that they’ll waver on their feet waiting for you to just nudge them down and out of your way.
Wanderer does have one offensive move in his arsenal, a very powerful punch that can deliver a one hit knockout to any opponent that isn’t a boss. You’ll need to be good with your defense though, because each successive dodge/parry/block adds to your combo counter and you’ll need this to be at least five before you can swing this powerful fist.
No matter how many scenes make up the chapter, the final one will always be a boss fight. It’s these fights that really bring out the rhythmic part of Way of the Passive Fist. You’ll encounter many different enemy types, and each has their own specific pattern. These guys can attack, grapple, and some can even throw weapons at you. The attacks require a specific counter with your defenses, and boss fights are where all of these techniques get put to the test. To beat the boss, you’ll need your power-up punch as it’s the only way to deal damage to the big boys, so in turn you’ll need mastery of your Passive Fist technique. You’ll deal with a constant flow of all kinds of enemies, mentally needing to recall all of their attack patterns at the right time so you can block them and punch their boss in the face.
What’s probably one of the most unique aspects of the game though, is it’s customization at every level. Before you go into each chapter you’ll be faced with a series of sliders which adjust just about everything possible in the game. Want more or less enemies? Slide it. Want the enemies to be easier or tougher to take down? Slide that too. The amount of health supplies, even adjust how easy or tough it is to fill up your combo meter. It’s a level of difficulty customization that gives you absolute control over your experience.
Remember when I said at the start I’m not usually a fan of fighting, side-scrolly games? Well, if there were more like Way of the Passive Fist this would probably be one of my favorite and most common genres. The graphics are very reminiscent of things from the arcade days of my childhood, and the music is incredible, completing the whole package. I love that the game feels more technique based, with you needing to find the rhythm with your defenses, instead of enemies just sponging off your hits and kicks. This is absolutely a game to sink your teeth into and you won’t want to set it down for long.