Let’s face it; for the most part video games can be weird. Whether it’s a plumber who doesn’t actually practice in the trade but instead leaps and hops his way to saving a princess, a gorilla wearing a tie who throws barrels, a blue hedgehog or a pink ball that inhales anything and everything, we’ve been accustomed to some strange but wonderful ideas. Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido may rank as one of the most bizarre ideas to crop up in recent years though but it’s certainly one that I can’t stop playing.
So, what exactly is Sushi Striker?
The game is a puzzler broken up into a series of one on one battles. In said battles, you’ll each find in front of you three conveyor belt lanes (and a fourth “shared” one in the centre) whizzing different coloured plates of sushi from one side to the other. Your aim is to link plates of the same colour so your character can then eat their contents, stack the empty dishes and finally toss them at the opponent. The longer the links, the higher your damage count. Of course, as you’re attempting to do this, your foe is doing the very same thing on his or her side. The winner is, therefore, the first to deplete their opponent’s health bar.
Things might start off very simple with enemies posing little threat in the first batch of levels but Sushi Showdown soon adds plenty of layers to keep you on your toes – for starters the plates themselves. Their colour, for example, can affect the power of your attacks, a simple concept but one easily forgotten in the heat of the battle. Combos also play a vital role, awarding players with extra damage if they can throw stacks of plates of matching colours consecutively.
Then there are the Sushi Sprites – cute little Pokémon-like creatures that accompany you into battle each with a special move that can be used to gain an advantage. Jinrai, the very first Sprite you come across for example transforms all sushi plates in view into the same colour allowing for a huge link – great for getting you out of a jam. Others might help reduce damage for a short period of time or completely reshuffle the opponent’s lanes. You can take up to three Sushi Spites into battle with you, a choice I’m already starting to see becoming more important as the enemies grow tougher. Thankfully the game explains the abilities each opponent might use allowing you to then choose the best group to counter. With 100 Sprites in total, I can’t wait to discover them all. Completed battles award experience that not only levels up Musashi but also your Sushi Sprites too improving things like defence and attack. There’s a surprising RPG-level of depth here that I certainly wasn’t expecting.
You’re ranked on every stage based on your performance with the sought-after S-rank awarded for those that make great use of their Sushi Sprites, land combos and manage to stack large piles of plates. Beyond that, though there are also three missions to complete that may require you to finish with a certain amount of health or within a time limit. Every task successfully ticked off ups your end experience count.
As I continue to play through the game’s story, I’m still finding myself being introduced to new ideas aplenty whether it’s assigning a dish as a favourite and eating enough to trigger its power, running into an opponent with a new Sushi Sprite and then having to contend with their unique ability or the unpredictable toy capsules appearing on the shared lane that can only be unlocked when you reach a certain number in your link. With plenty more story to venture, I hope the game can keep throwing me new curveballs along the way at this rate. We’ll see.
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido is a far deeper experience than initial trailers had me believe. As I finish writing this preview I’m very eager to jump back in, eat some sushi and hurl more plates at those standing in my way. More than just a simple matching puzzle game, Sushi Showdown is fresh, satisfying and fun. Expect a full review soon.
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido will release exclusively for Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS worldwide on June 8th.