Beat Em’ games are aplenty with varying art styles, settings, combat choices etc but this is the first time I’ve seen such a unique take on a beat em’ up game. Way of The Passive Fist is a more pacifist take on the beat em’ up genre that really piqued my interest. Developed and published by Household Games Inc. It is available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. So is this interesting beat em’ up actually any good or is it just fodder for the beat em’ up genre, let’s find out.
Way of The Passive Fist is very unique and colorful brawler. In a genre where you have to fight and beat up enemies to progress this game takes a different approach. Instead of having you lead the fight and have you just pummel enemies, it has you passively defend yourself and only allowing you to attack in the form of counter-attacks. You dodge, dash and parry to drain your opponents’ stamina to defeat them all the while inflicting damage on them by well timed counter attacks. This works for both melee and ranged opponent who might throw projectile based weapons at you, only for you to throw it back at the them.
It is a very interesting take and I must say, it works quite well. Now after a while it does feel a little repetitive since you’re doing a lot of dodging and parrying but the enemy variety helps keep it fresh with the addition of unlocking new moves which can be done by levelling up. This helps keep the game from going stale but I would have liked to see more variety in terms of gameplay because I personally felt that it got a little repetitive even with the enemy types and upgrades.
The game does have a pretty good difficulty system which is quite robust and allows you to tweak the enemy strength, encounter rate, combo mastery and resourcefulness which allows you to ramp up the difficulty in parts which you feel are getting easier. This allows you to experiment with your playstyle to try out new combos and all by maybe turning down the difficulty and then making it harder for yourself when you get more adept at the game. The game features a Story Mode and Arcade Mode. The Arcade Mode is a truer Arcade like experience where you have a finite number of lives to beat the game and is a good challenge which adds replayability to this title.
The setting is really cool and is a post-apocalyptic world similar to Mad Max and the famous Fist Of The North Star, with character designs that match the aesthetics of the game and the world. The graphics themselves are pixel art based as a callback to the original arcade games and has a soundtrack to match the world, art style and the overall visual design which was fun to listen to.
Way of The Passive Fist is a very refreshing take on a genre that hasn’t had anything innovative in a long time. However, this approach could’ve been done better since it felt somewhat repetitive at times but I’m hoping that this game gets a sequel so that we can see how the devs decide to grow this really cool passive beat em up style of gameplay. Sadly the game is single player only because of which I can only recommend this to people who want to play something different because this isn’t your conventional Beat Em’ up game. If this interested you even a little bit I’d say that you go ahead and get this game because it can be quite fun.