How Death, Age, and Progression Work – Sifu

Sifu functions a lot like a roguelike, but its death system is unique. In this guide, we’ll go over exactly how death and aging work in Sifu.

How Death and Age Work

Dying in Sifu is a little more complicated than in most games. Here are the key facts:

  • Each time you die, a death will be added to your Death Counter, and you’ll be able to Rise by holding the requisite button.
  • When you rise, your total deaths will be added to your age.
  • Every 10 years you age will break one of the coins on your pendent.
  • For each coin that breaks, you will lose a small amount of maximum health, and your damage dealt increases.
  • Once you reach Age 70 or higher, your next death will be your last, and you’ll get a Game Over.
sifu death counter age example

For example, let’s say you’re age 45, and your Death Counter is at 4 (like in the image above). If you die, you’ll get another death added to your counter, putting you at 5. Rising will then add those 5 deaths to your age, putting you at Age 50 — this will break another one of your coins on the pendant, further lowering your max HP and raising your damage.

In addition to increasing your damage and decreasing your health, you cannot unlock certain skills on the Skill Tree or certain Shrine Upgrade past specific ages.

How to Get Younger

Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to get younger in Sifu. If you’re finding that you’re too old to defeat certain bosses without getting a Game Over, you need to go back to previous levels and beat them with fewer deaths.

While you can’t become younger, you can remove deaths from your death counter. There are two ways to do so: Defeat tough enemies and minibosses, or choose the far-right Shrine Upgrade that resets your death counter.


When you beat a level, you unlock the next level, and set your starting age for the new level at whatever age you finished the previous level. For example, if you defeat the boss of the first level at age 42, you’ll have to start the second level at age 42 every time — until you beat the previous boss again at a lower age.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to go back through previous levels and beat them at a younger age; this is easier than you’d think, because every level has at least one shortcut you can unlock. These shortcuts always require beating a miniboss. If you pay attention to your surroundings as you progress through a level, you’ll usually find a locked door somewhere at the start of the level — this is almost always the shortcut you unlock later in the level after receiving a key item of some kind.

sifu character screen
If you ever forget what upgrades and skills you have, you can go to the Character screen of the options menu to inspect them

Skills and Shrine Upgrades

On each level, you’ll find a number of Shrines — interacting with one will let you choose a Shrine Upgrade and use the Skill Tree. Shrine Upgrades are maintained in between levels. Like your age, each time you restart a level you’ll keep the upgrades from when you beat the previous level. If you are unhappy with your choices, you’ll have to start over from earlier levels in order to choose new Shrine upgrades.

Skills cost XP to unlock, and can be unlocked at Shrines or after dying. You can also interact with the tree in the courtyard in between levels to spend XP in the Skill Tree. Unlocking a skill once makes it available for use, but you won’t keep it if you go back to a previous level. You can spend XP on the same skill again after unlocking it to work towards permanently unlocking it — do this 5 times to permanently unlock a skill. Once permanently unlocked, the skill will be available even if you restart at an earlier level.

sifu unlocking skills
Permanent unlocks cost the same as the initial unlock — in this example, spending 500 XP three more times will unlock this skill permanently

We hope this guide on Death, Dying, and Progression in Sifu was helpful. Questions and suggestions welcome in the comments below!

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Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

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2 years ago

Damn, this system is hard, is like limited continues, and the game doesn’t go easy on you