I’ve had a few hours in the PC version of Sifu now, which became available earlier this year on Steam. Thanks to some Black Friday magic, I’ve been able to dive-in fists first to see what its all about.
The game itself isn’t quite what I’d expected, but based on reviews etc that I’d read, I got the gist. Sifu is a Kung-Fu roguelike at its very core, but it’s super stylish, atmospheric and the controls are tight and responsive.
If you’re like me and love a good Kung-Fu movie and you enjoy snappy action games. I think you’re in for a treat. With some clever twists and mechanics, I’m really enjoying Sifu so far.
What is Sifu?
Sifu is an action-packed, third-person beat ’em up game that immerses players in the thrilling world of Bak Mei kung fu. We have over 150 distinctive attacks, so you can experiment with various combos to gain strategic advantages, like knocking down or stunning enemies.
There’s a “structural gauge” for both the protagonist and enemies, which, when filled, leaves characters open to powerful finishing moves.
Players can block attacks to fill the gauge or use evasive and parrying techniques to counter. Successful parries open up opportunities to stun or reposition enemies.
The game’s environment is dynamic, allowing players to adapt their strategies against tougher opponents by using the surroundings creatively. Kicking enemies off ledges or wielding objects as weapons are critical to survival.
Boss-like enemies and dialogue choices that can sidestep combat add to the game’s depth.
A novel aspect of Sifu is its resurrection mechanic, where the player’s character ages with each revival, gaining strength but losing health.
The aging process eventually leads to a final death, adding a layer of strategy to the gameplay.
Players can heal and unlock new skills at shrines and refine their abilities at the “wuguan” kung fu school.
While abilities reset upon death, some upgrades can be permanently unlocked for future runs.
The “detective board” feature allows players to track progress across runs, uncovering secrets and shortcuts. This blend of combat mechanics, strategic resurrection, and an evolving game world makes Sifu a unique and engaging experience.
Graphics and Atmosphere
Sifu stands out with its visually striking art style. The game presents a vivid, semi-realistic world, infused with a rich colour palette that brings its urban environments to life.
Each level is meticulously crafted, showcasing a blend of modern cityscapes and traditional Chinese aesthetics. The attention to detail in the environments is awesome, immersing the player into a world that feels both mystical and grounded in reality.
At its core, Sifu is a love letter to martial arts. The combat is fluid, challenging, and deeply satisfying. Each move and combo is thoughtfully designed to mirror authentic martial arts techniques. This authenticity does come with a steep learning curve, making the game quite challenging, especially for newcomers to the genre. However, this complexity allows for a rewarding experience as players gradually master the controls.
The narrative of Sifu is simple yet engaging. It’s a tale of vengeance, following a young kung fu student on a quest to avenge their slain family.
While the story might not be ground breaking, it serves as a compelling backdrop for the action-packed gameplay. The character development is subtle but effective, with the protagonist’s transformation over time reflecting the toll of their journey.
The sound design in Sifu deserves special mention. Every punch, kick, and block is accompanied by impactful sound effects, making each encounter feel visceral. The soundtrack, blending traditional Chinese instruments with modern beats, complements the game’s atmosphere perfectly, heightening the intensity of the battles.
Sifu offers high replayability. Encouraging exploration and experimentation with different combat styles. Each playthrough can feel distinct, depending on the player’s choices and approach to combat.
The challenging nature of the game also adds to its replayability, as players strive to improve their skills and reduce the aging process.
Sifu is a remarkable addition to the action genre. Its challenging yet rewarding combat system, combined with stunning visuals and a captivating story, make it a must-play for fans of martial arts and action games.
A roguelike at its core, but a true test of skill and honestly some good clean, cinematic Kung-Fu fun.
While it might be daunting for beginners, the sense of achievement in mastering the game’s mechanics is unparalleled. Sifu is not just a game; it’s an homage to the art of kung fu, and it delivers this experience with exceptional finesse.
I’ve got a long way to go to feel competent, but the satisfaction of clearing a room efficiently is unparalleled. You feel like Neo at the end of The Matrix, where suddenly you see the code and Agent Smith can’t fight you any more.