When we first met Fajar, the "botanist", at the age of thirty, we didn't have the slightest doubt: we'll blow him over.
But then it went in no time, blow after blow.
We came, collected and died - but always returned to him like a marmot, albeit always a bit older.
Now the hair and beard are grey.
Can we still beat Fajar at seventy?
Fajar himself, a gangster who was once one of our father's killers, certainly doesn't seem to have aged much.
He moves among the plants in his greenhouse like a young grasshopper.
He swings the machete and thrashes us, we grab bamboo canes and hit back.
A fight in the footsteps of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
The exit is a lesson in humility: while we're proving we can still win at seventy (championship knows no age, right?), victory doesn't help us.
With the energy of a seventy-year-old, we get past the bouncer at the next target on the rachel list, club owner Sean.
So back - because that's the fine thing about "Sifu", a not exactly story-heavy, but shapely kung fu adventure by the studio Sloclap from France: It expands the martial-physical through the implemented age mechanics with the idea of lifelong work on one's own Skills, the perfection of one's own actions - "Kung Fu" means "a skill achieved with hard work".
Just over seventy is the end
When the action begins after a coherent prologue, we are twenty - and either a woman or a man.
We live in a little house with a view of the skyline of a major Chinese city, we have pictures of men and women from a drug clan arranged on a pin board, and a picture of our father, the master ("Sifu"), whom the gang killed, hangs on the wall Has.
So far, so to be expected.
Until we spot the indicator in the corner of the screen: "Age: 20. Deaths: zero." So not only do players have a finite number of "lives" to deal with the revenge - they have to deal with it, after each death and to be a little older at every resurrection.
Just over seventy is the end.
The demands on one's own abilities increase with age.
As in real life, we find that what we do in one phase of life is at the expense of the other - only here we get the chance to repeat it.
We are allowed to work on ourselves and at some point we realize that perfection can be a moral question as well as a technical one.
Anyone who doesn't send the protagonists lying on the ground to the afterlife will experience a different finale from "Sifu" than someone who vents his thirst for revenge on harsh edges like "Botaniker".
This trick refines the game, but the fights, for which Sloclap was able to fall back on the know-how of the French Bak-Mei master Benjamin Colussi, are also respectable.
They flow so smoothly.
The level design is also in a class of its own: we fight our way through backyards and factory buildings to the "botanist", visit a dance booth, a museum for modern art and finally a "place of worship".
The will to create something with aesthetic added value is omnipresent, a lot looks like it was painted, somewhere between martial arts comic and anime.
The team around the art directors Paul-Emile Boucher and Servane Altermatt has also greatly reduced the trappings of some scenes - the fight in the museum, for example, a light architectural marvel with plenty of space between the exhibits, suddenly becomes a showdown of black silhouette shadows on red Reason, the subsequent rendezvous with the boss Kuroki takes place on a kind of opera backdrop, which is snowy at first and finally - imagine a black stage with a house-high video screen in the background - surrounded by a gray sea of waves.
So "Sifu" is fun even for players who don't really know what to do with hit-and-run games.
The only question is how our thumbs survive the hours on the controller.
At thirty we could easily have done finger kung fu with the many keystrokes that refine our punches.
Perhaps a pot of Oolong tea, skilfully brewed in the "Gong Fu" style, will help.
is available for Playstation 4/5 and the Windows PC and costs about 40 euros.Keywords: