Household Games has just announced that their highly anticipated side-scrolling action game, Way Of The Passive Fist, will be making its way to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam on March 7th, 2018. With the excitement of the making its arrival, I reminisced about my experience with the game in September of last year, at PAX WEST.
Last year’s Pax West 2017 was one for the record books. Compared to the previous year, I played more games than ever, ranging from exploring Egypt, shooting virtual bad guys in an 80’s world, racing exotic vehicles, flying spaceships up walls, and waking from a coma to fight spiders in a town.
The talent on display at Pax West was phenomenal, but there was a very special game proudly on display in the Indie Mega Booth. Tucked away in a corner of The Washington State Expo Center, was a title that, literally, came from the mountains of Canada, road-tripping its way to the show floor.
This was a special video game called Way Of The Passive Fist, hailing from Toronto-based Household Games. Ever since I first heard about the game, I was eager to check it out for myself. After being introduced to the team, I was put at the helm of their very own arcade cabinet for the game, which they had brought to the show. After a small introduction, I was thrust into the action.
Way Of The Passive Fist is a side-scrolling action brawling game that exemplifies the infamous strategy, that a strong offense is a great defense. In a distant solar system, far from Earth, the Sun has irradiated the surface of a once-habitable planet. Now, the surface is scorched, seething with dangerous radiation. The land, along with its creatures and inhabitants, have been mutated and transformed.
It is every man for himself within this barren and hostile world. Players play as The Wanderer, a lone, mysterious figure that travels across the scorched sands. On this world, survival is next to impossible. However, The Wanderer has mastered a very special martial art and that is the Way Of The Passive Fist. It is a defensive art, requiring the fighter to parry and deflect attacks. If the user deflects enough attacks, they can strike their enemies ferociously hard with a single strike. The Wanderer is equipped with a mysterious but powerful cybernetic hand. This allows for him to greatly exercise the use of The Passive Fist. If the Wanderer builds up enough parry and deflections, his special attack matter increases, delivering a shattering blow to his opponent.
When I booted up the game, the game allowed for a variety of game modes, including difficulty. I was astounded by the accessibility of the game, even though it was still in development. This really fulfilled the pledge made in a PlayStation Blog post last year that stated that the game would be as accessible as possible to a variety of gamers. With the basics out of the way, I set out upon the wasteland to attack the ravenous mutants that roamed the surface.
The Wanderer took a bit of getting used to controlling. He has a certain gravity and weight to him, and of course, as the fighting is focused on defense, timing is everything. Soon enough, the first bandits showed up and the game walked me through the deflection process. With a push of a button, I was able to adequately parry close-range attacks. With each strike, the enemy got more and more tired. Soon, my enemy’s stamina was drained, leaving him too exhausted to strike, and I was able to land my own strike. The enemy was sent flying, much to my delight. I then proceeded through the rest of the demo.
As I progressed, enemies began swarming my position. Way Of The Passive Fist was not going to be a pushover. Each enemy was different in their attack methods. Several bandits actually tried throwing knives at me. Initially, I had trouble attacking these ranged attacks, but one of the developers informed me that I could actually parry thrown projectiles. Suddenly, a knife came at me, and by pushing the button, I wasn’t just able to deflect the knife, but I was able to throw it back and one-hit kill the bandit. I was absolutely thrilled that the deflection mechanic didn’t just stay isolated to close-range combat! The enemy did attempt to come in close, but I proceeded to dispatch them.
As I got towards the end, mutant plant monsters snuck underground and came at me. Their arms are razor-sharp scythes that quickly cut into my health. It is here that I died an unfortunate death, but I was having so much fun, I decided to jump right back into it and try and finish the demo. I learned how to properly maneuver my character and how to adequately deal with the ravenous plant monsters. Despite taking a few hits, I kept fighting and surviving. Then, there was the boss, a giant, half-human, half steel warrior with a crazy arm with screen-clearing attacks. Joined by smaller enemies, I knew I was in for a hell of a fight.
I jumped around the boss, deflecting his smaller attacks. For his massive attacks, they were immune to deflection, and I was left to avoid those attacks at all costs. I managed to successfully defeat the small enemies, and build my charge meter. When the meter reached maximum, I put myself right in front of the boss an sent a roaring punch into his abdomen, taking a sizeable chunk out of his health. I took more damage and was left on the fringe of staying alive. My knuckles got tight and I could feel the adrenaline surging. A few fortunate maneuvers later, I managed to deliver one more massive blow the boss. He was felled and the demo was over.
Way Of The Passive Fist is poised to be a game changer in the genre. Where most games focused on brute strength and button mashing, Way Of The Passive Fist feels strategic and methodical, while still maintaining the brisk pace of action brawlers. Featuring this unique play style, and an entire Mad Max-inspired world to explore, Way Of The Passive Fist will certainly be a hell of an experience.
Way Of The PAssive Fist launches March 7th on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.