Brawler games usually involve beating enemies with a flurry of punches and kicks, but Way of the Passive Fist instead focuses on the skillful deflection of intense violence. Players take control of the Wanderer, who roams the wastelands of a doomed planet, and fights against hordes of bandits and outlaws. The premise is incredibly basic, but it really only functions as a backdrop for the innovative gameplay. Instead of drawn out slug-fests, Way of the Passive Fist turns fights into rhythmic duels of evasion and blocking, until enemies are drained of stamina and can be taken out in a single poke.
The art design of Way of the Passive Fist takes on a familiar 90s arcade facade, with a heavy influence from Sega generation sprite-art. Bright and ostentatious colors fill the desert backdrop, as wave after wave of Mad Max-esque enemies attack the player. The soundtrack takes on a similar influence and features catch melodies and old-school synth work. Way of the Passive Fist essentially functions as a 90s arcade game, but with modern amenities.