The Way of Sushido:
So this is what it’s come to. A hyperactive match-em-up puzzler concerning Sushi. This is the path we were set on the moment ‘Candy Crush Saga’ and its ilk poured into the puzzle genre and ruined everything. I miss Tetris…
…is what I would be saying if Sushi Striker wasn’t such a bloody brilliant good time.
After the great Sushi wars (or the Sushi Struggle, as it’s known in this bizarro in-game lore that’s presented in Anime-styled cutscenes) Sushi was outlawed, naturally, We had to stop people spilling blood over Sushi and if the only way to do that was ban the stuff I’m all for it. I really dislike sushi anyway. But here’s the rub: the greedy fat cats of the empire began hoarding it.
Any kind of ban – especially one that’s starving the masses – means revolution, and you are to lead it. Using the power of Sushi Striking you set out to reverse the status quo and get Sushi back on the plates of the people. Thanks to the animated cut scenes and excellent writing I really dug this oddball tale, and found myself grinning constantly as I attempt to overthrow the corrupt, Sushi-obsessed powers that be.
Like any good puzzler obsessed with matching, such as Bejewelled or Puzzles & Dragons, your goal is to ram similarly coloured stacks of objects – in this case plates of sushi – and launch them at your opponent in the hopes of defeating them. Whilst the storyline of Sushi Striker is completely out there, the gameplay is, for all its quirks, fairly standard.
Before long you’re slinging stacks of sushi and having a blast doing so, and I quickly fell into the rhythm of this hyperactive game.
There’s plenty of wrinkles that keep things engaging, of course, but the core concept of collecting the same coloured plates in a small window of time and making the biggest combos possible is incredibly addictive. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as collecting a ludicrously huge combo together and launching it at an opponent who was already on the ropes, clutching victory in one fell sweep.
As you progress through the game however its myriad of systems, goals and experience bars all stack up to become a bit much, with later levels feeling like spinning plates – and a few too many to feel entirely comfortable. Truly skilled players will be able to keep everything in motion, I’m sure, but every so often I found myself getting completely overwhelmed. A lot of the periphery features, such as collectible animal spirits that can help you out during battles, can ease this mad rush, however, and the game allows some deviance in just how capable it asks you to be.
Each level has bonus objectives too, which I found myself completely obsessed by. I refused to carry on in the main story until I had three stars in any given level, which didn’t just boost my play time significantly but made me a better Sushi Striker – which is a good thing, considering how complex the title can get.
The presentation of Sushido is fantastic too, with that over the top anime style I spoke about earlier. Everything looks and sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon – a bloody bonkers one, mind. This excellent visual style, paired with some top quality voice acting (as long as they were going for corny, that is) really ties everything up.
It also helps when the conveyers of Sushi are flying past that everything is easy to read. Despite the frantic pace of the action I never had trouble deciphering what I needed to focus on. Sushi is stark and easily recognizable, even at high speeds, and spotting a decent looking combo coming down the line is as helpful as it is imperative to your success.
‘Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido‘ is a game that feels like nothing I’ve ever played and completely familiar all at once. It’s a matching puzzler that’s instantly engaging and enjoyable, but wraps it up with some of the most bizarre and brilliant presentation I’ve seen this year. Fun is the name of the game here – from the way everything looks and sounds to how effortlessly you can slip into the Sushi trance, and should you have any love for the genre you owe it to yourself to check this one out.