The Sifu age system is a core mechanic that will strongly influence how you fare during a playthrough, by repeatedly bringing you back from the dead but making you older as a cost of using this power. The strategy you take with this process is a balance of risk versus reward, as you want to eliminate as many enemies as you can to maximize your XP earned, but the more fights you enter the greater the chance of your persistent death count increasing. Getting older has both benefits and drawbacks, which aren't exactly obvious when you first experience it, so we're here to explain how the Sifu age system works so you can plan your approach accordingly to avoid reaching your twilight years too soon.
Don't forget to check out our 12 essential Sifu tips as well, for pointers on how to quickly improve your kung fu mastery.
How does the Sifu age system work
You start the game at 20 years old, and each time you die then rise again that number increases thanks to the Sifu age system. The amount of years added is based on your current death count, so although you'll only gain one year at first this can soon build up to two, three, four, and more at a time with no cap on this toll, meaning the more times in a row you die the faster you'll age. As you age through each decade of your life a coin on the talisman will break, increasing the damage you deal but reducing your overall health to balance this, then the final coin will shatter as you reach your 70s signifying no further rises are possible and your next death will be the last.
The youngest age you reach a level at will be the age you start from when you replay that level from the desk in the Wuguan, and is shown in the top left corner of the screen when you highlight each level. For example, if you complete the Squats aged 30 then the Club aged 40, you'll be 30 every time you replay the Club and 40 for the Museum. If you then go back and complete the Squats aged 25, you'll be 25 every time you replay the Club, but still 40 for the Museum until you beat the Club at a lower age. Remember that the Shrine rewards from your lowest age are the ones that carry forward, so be wary about rushing through levels using shortcuts as this may leave you less well equipped for later stages.
How to reduce your Sifu age system death count
Naturally, the higher your death count rises in the Sifu age system, the impact each subsequent death has on your age increases exponentially. This can end up snowballing if you get caught in a particularly tricky section, but helpfully there are ways to bring your death count back down again to reduce this impact. Each time you defeat a tougher opponent (ie one that isn't a regular thug) your death count will reduce by one, and if you go on a decent run this can bring it all the way back down to zero again. If it's all getting a bit much, you can also spend 1,000XP at a Shrine to reset your death count, though you should only consider that as a last resort as your XP is much better spent on unlocking Sifu skills.
How old can you get with the Sifu age system
Obviously figuring out the maximum age you can reach in the Sifu age system was an important question we had to figure out, and thanks to the power of math we have an answer for you! If you start at 24 with zero deaths, then continue to die repeatedly without making any reduction to your death count, you'll become 25, 27, 30, 34, 39, 45, 52, 60, 69, and eventually hit the ripe old age of 79 before you finally croak for good on your next death.