Way of the Passive Fist Review
Overall 6

From a very early age, gamers are taught to tackle any challenge head-on, fists out and guns a-blazin’. However, what if the best offense is a good defense? Household Games’ Way of the Passive Fist is a beat-em-up that trades beating for parrying, dodging, and dashing. It worked for Street Fighter III: Third Strike – does it work here too?

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Way of the Passive Fist Review

From a very early age, gamers are taught to tackle any challenge head-on, fists out and guns a-blazin’. However, what if the best offense is a good defense? Household Games’ Way of the Passive Fist is a beat-em-up that trades beating for parrying, dodging, and dashing. It worked for Street Fighter III: Third Strike – does it work here too?

Way of the Passive Fist Review

The world of Zircon V is a desolate wasteland. Players take control of the Wanderer, a blue haired fellow that has studied the art of the passive fist. With this fine skill, he takes down marauders, sun worshippers, and anybody else that stands in his way. The large, detailed sprite work of this game is second-to-none – a lot of work and creativity went into creating its world.

There’s only one downside – there aren’t enough baddie types to go around. Belt scrollers are notorious for featuring the same evildoers multiple times, and Way of the Passive Fist ramps it up to 11. From the very first level, expect to see the same enemy types hundreds of times. Sure, there are some sprite colorations that have different attack patterns, but the lack of diversity makes things run together very early on. Unique bosses help to alleviate the grind, but not every level features one.

Way of the Passive Fist - Gamers Heroes

Rather, to dispose of these enemies, players encounter “scenes” made up of waves of baddies. Defeat the baddies, and you can move on to the next scene. However, players won’t be mashing the punch button in this title. Rather, the key to victory is to parry enemy attacks and wear them down. Each enemy has a different attack pattern, one that requires you to either parry or dodge. Perform the parries and dodges enough times, and their stamina will be depleted, allowing you to knock them down in one hit. This mechanic provides an interesting rhythm to battles – players will have to keep an eye out for tells for each enemy, and use both memorization and reflexes to their advantage. It’s a fun mechanic, but some enemies take far too long to take down. Those that charge up a combo meter without taking damage can launch a punch attack that easily takes foes down, which certainly helps alleviate things. In addition, players can catch certain projectiles and throw them right back for an easy takedown. Despite this, each scene takes far too long to complete.

To make things a little easier, players can level up their hero. By gaining experience from completing scenes, additional health, new moves, and more can be earned. This makes the game considerably easier, and the ability to tweak the difficulty by enemy strength, number of encounters, combo mastery, and resourcefulness is also there.

After completing the game, players can unlock Arcade Mode. The ability to play with either one or 10 credits is there, along with leaderboards, but a two-player mode would have gone a long way.

Way of the Passive Fist has got an interesting hook (or would it be parry?), but its tedious nature drags things on for far too long. Best in small doses, its desolate world desperately needs a dash of the ol’ ultraviolence.

This review of Way of the Passive Fist was written based on the PC version of the game. The game was purchased digitally.
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