Game: Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
Platform: Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3Ds
Rating: E for Everyone
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido could quite possibly have the strangest concept for a video game I have ever reviewed, and I have reviewed games in which a blue hedgehog must collects golden rings and others where a witch uses her hair to take down inter-dimensional demons, but those don’t come close to this madness.
Finding the Way
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido takes place in a world where the dish sushi is outlawed by a powerful empire. However, a rouge army called the Sushi Liberation Front aims to bring this forbidden food back to the masses—strange, I know. This is where you come in, caught between these two warring factions. You play as Musashi (either a male or female depending on your choosing), who grew up an orphan after losing both mother and father in the Sushi Struggles—yes, it gets even stranger. Musashi hates sushi with a passion, that is until, Franklin, a Sushi Striker, comes to town and shows our young hero that sushi is not a force for evil but a tasty treat that can feed the hungry. Just as Musashi’s feelings are changed, the imperials capture Franklin, dragging him away for questioning. This is where Musashi is set on the path to become a Sushi Striker, by rescuing Franklin.
Feed Me More
To get to Franklin you must first battle your way through hordes of enemies across the world map, not with kicks or punches mind you. No, this being a puzzle game and all you will need to seize victory by eating more sushi than your opponents and flinging the empty plates their way. Plates of sushi whiz by on conveyor belts, the object is to match as many plates of the same color as possible before they fly off the screen. The more plates that are stacked, the more damage is done to your foe. This is not as simple as it sounds, though. Things become more complicated with the inclusion of sushi sprites, Pokémon-esque creatures that, when called upon, can employ special moves such as turning all plates a single color or creating a barrier that can shield you from incoming plates. Like Pokémon, these critters can be leveled up and even evolved, creating a whole subset game of collecting and leveling.
The world map is like a board game, each spot in a given area equates to one battle, and each battle comes with a grade—an S rank being the best—and up to three earn-able stars given out by completing bonus objects, such as winning a battle under an allotted time-frame or finishing without using a special move. Achieve enough ratings and a secret area will appear on the map with a rare sushi sprite waiting to be found. For a game that seems simple on the surface, it has a surprising amount of depth.
Tastes Like Anime
The visuals are drawn to look just like your favorite anime, complete with gorgeously rendered cut-scenes and brilliant voice acting. Peppered between these fantastic sections are text boxes that tie the dialogue together. Although, these text walls pop up frequently, it never feels like a slog to get though. The writing is well crafted and comedic enough to ensure that it’s never a chore. The battle scenes are also lovingly animated with the character models wincing when hit.
Despite its zany premise, Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido proves to be another win for Nintendo thanks to its compelling gameplay, in-depth strategy, and humorous narrative. The title would be more alluring to consumers if the retail price was set just a tad lower. Nevertheless, this is a fun puzzler that has found the perfect home on the portable Nintendo Switch.