You have to hand it to Nintendo whenever they try something new. Fighting opponents by eating sushi then throwing the empty plates at them is a ridiculous premise for a game but is it worth checking out?
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido is a silly game. You play it by selecting plates of sushi that constantly move on conveyor belts. You and your opponent have three rows each plus there's a shared center row. Upon highlighting a bunch of plates that are the same colour, you can end the combo which makes your character eat the sushi and stack up the empty plates in front of them. However, you only have seven seconds to end each combo or else it will be all for nothing. Therefore, you have to play fast if you want to have a chance at stacking up enough plates to launch at your competitor and hopefully deplete their HP before they can do the same to you. In the end, it's surprisingly fun stuff that's even more enjoyable to play against actual opponents but I'll get into the multiplayer a bit later.
For now, allow me to discuss just how charming Sushi Striker is. The opening music video is absolutely bonkers and had me smiling right off the bat. Upon starting a new game, you can choose either a male or female hero named Musashi and throughout the adventure, you'll fight Kojiro which is a reference to the epic real life rivalry of Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. Anyway, the anime cutscenes, dialogue sequences, and general visual style are full of life and bursting with hilarious moments that'll likely make you laugh out loud. The super-serious premise of the story where people are starving and kingdoms are feuding contrasts with the ridiculous characters and dialogue to make a memorable and superbly vibrant adventure. If it were an actual anime, I'd watch it.
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido isn't just about selecting plates and throwing them at your opponent. Okay, that's the majority of the gameplay. However, there are a few wrinkles that help make it a more fulfilling trip to the sushi bar. For starters, you'll amass a collection of Sushi Sprites (there are 100 total to unlock) that are kind of like Pokémon and have abilities that you can unleash during each battle in order to gain a certain advantage. You also level up and your Sushi Sprites level up, too. Finally, you can equip various items and single-use power-ups in order to acquire specific boosts. All of these add up to make one rewarding character progression system.
As promised, let's discuss Sushi Striker's multiplayer. First of all, a quick word of warning: if you're planning on playing Sushi Striker on your 3DS then there is no Download Play functionality so you and a friend have to both own a copy in order to play local multiplayer. With that out of the way, you unlock access to local multiplayer after playing a bunch of matches within the single player stage-based campaign. Later on in the campaign, you'll unlock online multiplayer where you can take on hungry souls from across the globe.
Although the multiplayer is enjoyable, I found the core gameplay to be far too simplistic and repetitive to have long-lasting appeal. The battles are fun and hectic but the fact that all you essentially do is select plates then throw them at your opponent while unleashing the odd ability gets fairly tedious after a while. That leads me to my next point: I wish more strategy was involved. I had a very easy time working through the single player campaign and whoever won while playing multiplayer frequently seemed random.
If you're looking for a wacky and colourful competitive puzzler that can be enjoyed by casual and hardcore gamers alike then Sushi Striker is a solid experience. Just don't expect it to be as fulfilling as consuming 100 plates of raw fish.
- + Fast-paced sushi-based battles are quite fun, especially in multiplayer
- + Outstanding anime presentation
- + Rewarding character growth
- - Overall simplistic core gameplay gets repetitive after only a short while
- - Very little strategy is required