Originally presented as a Nintendo 3DS title, Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido will also be released day-and-date on the Nintendo Switch. Admittedly, the game hasn’t been on my radar, but I like puzzle games and there’s a free demo available now on the Switch. Does Nintendo have a sleeper hit on their hands?
For a puzzle game, Sushi Striker has an inordinate amount of story and cutscenes. The setup for the game tells a tale of a world that no longer has fish, so sushi has become the most sought after food in the world. Musashi, your main character, actually lost his/her parents in that war, developing a hatred for sushi in the process. But after a chance encounter with a man who has made it his mission to share sushi with the people, Musashi takes it upon him/herself to follow in his footsteps while saving the mysterious man from the evil empire.
You can skip it all, but it’s pretty well done and does add to the flavour of the game. In the demo, you probably watch more cutscenes than playing the game, but I suspect that will flip as you progress further in the main game.
Once you’re ready to battle, your goal is to deplete your opponent’s health to zero. This is done by eating sushi from the conveyer belts, and throwing the empty plates at them. You can cause even more damage by collecting larger stacks of like-coloured plates by eating consecutive strings of the same sushi. On the Switch, you can use either the analog stick to aim and eat, but I find the touch screen controls to be more precise.
Eating sushi is easy enough, but stringing together lengthy sequences can be tricky. Partially cause the conveyer belts move really fast, and you only have seven seconds to complete a string before you lose everything. What can be more problematic are the times when you simply don’t have much to work with due to the spread of sushi available to you at the moment. The act of eating sushi and throwing plates is fun, but the mushy analog stick controls and the randomness of the sushi spread makes it feel a bit more random than I would like from a puzzle game.
On top of that, you also have access to Sushi Sprites, different animal-like spirits that give you super moves when you fill up their meters. In the demo, one of them gives you a limited-time ability to string any combination of sushi together in one string, while the other changes the sushi into candy, allowing you to recover health. It’s a nice extra shot of depth to the game.
After the battle, you and your sprites actually gain XP, presumably to get stronger and possibly unlock more goodies in the future. You’ll then move onto the next chapter of the story, which in the demo, is mostly just you mowing down nameless guards. I’m lukewarm on the gameplay, but I certainly want to see where the story goes off the strength of its great cutscenes.
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido seems like a decent enough puzzle game with great presentation. However, I do have concerns that the core gameplay is a bit too random and a bit too basic for my liking. On top of that, the analog stick controls feel a bit too precise for me, and I’m personally not comfortable with smudging my screen through intensive touch screen finger-dragging. I don’t think I’ll be pursuing this one when it hits stores on June 8th, but I think there’s certainly an audience who will eat this up.