The first game by the small developer house, Sloclap, Sifu, presents a unique concept in fighting games. With a high difficulty level and authentic martial arts combat, Sifu is meant to be played with a detailed strategy.
Achieving mastery in every aspect of the combat leaves you subtly satisfied till the end. Its succinct plot and indie graphics make it a perfect combination.
What Sort of A Game Is It?
Sifu is a fighting game featuring a martial arts fighter determined to avenge his assassinated father.
At a glance, it’s a simple concept of playing linear missions, eliminating enemies as they come, and moving to the next level. But there is much more to it than meets the eye. The limited life, the death counter, and impeccable martial arts combat make Sifu a perfect game for any seasoned gamer.
It’s one of those challenging games that force you to take your time to play slowly and enjoy the experience. It’s not meant to be rushed through. You may be familiar with such games if you’ve played Dark Souls, which also offers a similar challenge to slowly master the game as the difficulty levels are pretty high and raging is frequent.
The Short Yet Perfect Plot
Though a bit cliched, the plot complements the game.
Sifu starts with our main character’s father being murdered by a notorious ninja gang. Failing to fight a more significant number of enemies, the father is murdered in front of him, and so is our character.
However, he is revived at the age of 20 because of a mystic talisman gifted by his father some years ago. This talisman provides a unique edge to the game, where each death increases your age until you die at 70.
The gang consisted of 5 prominent leaders. You go on a quest to hunt each one down for vengeance. Each level is dedicated to these leaders.
Being an indie and new developer, Sloclap has done a splendid job in the graphics and environment of the game.
At a glance, the graphics are not very realistic, like typical AAA games. But its cartoonish type design adds to its uniqueness. You can feel like playing a new game with a novel concept.
The Unique Concept
Revived at 20, you fight countless enemies, moving to the next level and eliminating each leader.
But there’s a catch. Each time you die, your age increases by 1. After the first death, a death counter is also added. This means after the first death, the subsequent death will increase your age by 2 (1+1).
As you get older, your character slightly changes, getting a beard and looking, elder. As age increases, your damage also increases, but overall health and resistance reduce.
The concept of age is related to the talisman, which caused the revival. It has five coins on it, each equivalent to 10 years.
Once you cross 30 years, you lose one. As you reach 70, all five are gone, and you die. This is what makes the game exciting and challenging.
All The Fun Is The Challenge Sifu Gives At Every Level
Sifu gives a big challenging punch at every level. Its authentic combat is its main selling point.
Each punch/kick has to be part of your strategy. The parry, evade, and the block becomes very hard once the game picks up pace. Handling scores of enemies around you becomes a challenge. Rushing or button mashing doesn’t do the trick as you rapidly start losing age that way.
As you progress, you start encountering bigger and stronger enemies. Each takes minutes to eliminate with the right strategy. Especially the bosses test your complete understanding of the game and the combat system.
The upgrades unlock new moves. For that instance, you might want to unlock a particular move depending on your fighting style. Each type of enemy has a weak point to be discovered. Otherwise, the game becomes impossible.
It truly feels like an authentic martial arts experience playing Sifu. The combat and the environment are well designed, complemented by the compact plot of the game.
The Good And The Bad
What’s not good about this game? You got a perfectly fitting yet short plot. The combat is unique yet seamless and challenging. The changing age concept makes the game genuinely challenging.
Perhaps, the only con you may find is the simplistic plot or short gameplay. Played rightly, the game ends quite soon. But even that can be a pro as you can redo levels quickly with different strategies or shortcut doors. As far as the detailed strategic combat is concerned, that’ll be a problem only for those who enjoy fast and smooth gameplay.
Impeccable combat dynamics
Unique lives concept
Simple yet fitting plot
Cutting-edge indie graphics
A bit too challenging
Short plot and game time
Is The Game For You?
Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or a casual newbie, Sifu is a complete package.
Though a novel entry in the genre of beat-em-up games, Sifu is a must-play in 2022. Yes, the difficulty may enrage you now and then, but that is also part of its beauty. It’s meant to be mastered at every level, not to be taken as a casual game.
The game teaches you mastery of every detail of the combat. There’s no other way to play the game and enjoy it. Any shortcuts or casual gameplay would destroy the purpose of the game.
We recommend this game regardless of your gaming preference. You may be daunted at the beginning seeing your age decrease, but as you replay the stage, you’ll learn patience and the perfect combat combinations to deal with each type of enemy.
The beauty of the game is in its simplicity. There are no heavy AAA graphics or vast lore. It's a son's quest for vengeance. It's a beautiful amalgam of martial arts with gaming.
A perfect plot, dynamic and detailed combat, beautiful graphics, and an overall satisfyingly medium-paced game gives it an impressive rating of 90.