Announced last E3 during Nintendo’s Treehouse event, Sushi Striker was originally an exclusive for the Nintendo 3DS; however, with the great success of the Nintendo Switch it is no surprise that Nintendo decided to port it to the system. That begs the question: is a game designed for the Nintendo 3DS just as good on the Nintendo Switch?
Sushi Striker takes place after the bitter sushi struggles. A great number of lives and sushi were lost. With the evil Empire now in possession of all the sushi their greed means that there are some throughout the land who have never even tasted the delicious dish. One day Musashi, a victim of the sushi struggles leaving her an orphan, encounters Franklin, a sushi striker. He provides her first taste of sushi, but is soon captured by the Empire. Her heart set on saving her new friend, Musashi befriends the sushi sprite Jinrai and sets off on an adventure to help her friend and share sushi with the world. It’s totally bonkers.
Sushi Striker is a puzzle game where sushi strikers face off against one another. Each has a set amount of HP and each must collect plates of sushi and launch them at their opponent. Ahead of you are 3 conveyor belts and a 4th that both players share. As the sushi moves in front of you, you must link up plates of sushi with the same colour plate with your finger or the joycons. The more plates you link, the more damage, and if you launch plates of the same colour in succession they’ll combo and do more damage. On top of that some plates are more common, but do less damage and then of course the rarer plates do more damage. Also if you link 7 plates that will give you a clear glowing plate that can be linked with anything. It is a very simple system to pick up, but one that gets your brain ticking pretty fast. As a great number of plates move in front of you, you must figure out which is the best set to collect in a brief few moments as they may move off screen. Every second counts in a sushi striker battle, but there is even more to keep in mind.
Also once you make it to a certain area in the game you will unlock a puzzle mode. In this mode you will have 10 seconds to clear a selection of plates in only 5 moves. You got to think fast and the timer gets shorter as your progress.
Sushi Sprites & More
Not only do you manage the plates you collect, you also get to equip three sushi sprites before every battle. Think discount Pokemon, in fact they even evolve and level up! These sprites add another layer to the system, as once their skill gauge is full you can unleash their power. Offering a variety of skills from offensive skills like doing direct damage to your opponent or boosting the strength of combo attacks to more defence orientated ones like sweets appearing on the conveyor belts to heal you or blocking your opponents skills. The great variety of sushi sprites and combinations makes the battles very exciting.
On top of equipping sushi sprites you can also select your favourite type of sushi. There’s absolutely loads to choose from/unlock and these also give you extra benefits. So deciding your sprites and favourite sushi and making sure they all complement each other is very important.
All in all the system is excellent. Fast paced and frantic. It might not have the depth of something like Tetris or Puyo Puyo, but it certainly is fun. Activating skills, linking plates and picking your favourite sushi all work well together that give Sushi Striker a fun and addictive play style.
The Single Player Adventure
You may have been able to gather that the story in Sushi Striker is totally absurd and its absurdity is what makes it so amazing. As characters get into arguments over the way sushi is treated and morality is based nearly entirely on your way of approaching the dish the story will surely put a smile on your face. Of course don’t go into this expecting anything else other than a cheerful adventure with a throwaway story.
The actual gameplay side of the adventure is quite substantial. Featuring 100+ levels to play through. Now that might not sound like a great deal, but what must be highlighted is that each level has 3 stars to unlock by meeting 3 separate requirements; beat in 80 seconds, get a 5 plate combo, use 3 or fewer skills and so on. Then it is important for you to get these stars as they will unlock secret battles that will get you an exclusive sushi sprite. Also you are ranked for each match. These two systems add a great deal of replay value as for the first 20 or so levels things are pretty easy, but I got to admit that as I progressed getting S ranks and all 3 stars in one play was incredibly rare.
The game also mixes in some ligt RPG elements. Honestly these felt fairly tacked on. I almost feel like they may have been added to allow people to progress and get high ranks by simply grinding. As when you do go back to earlier levels you will have far more health making some battles you struggled with a breeze. The RPG elements aren’t awful, but don’t add much. In fact they are quite annoying when it comes to leveling up each sprite and makes the game a bit too grindy for my liking.
You don’t unlock multiplayer straight away in Sushi Striker and even when you do unlock the location for it, you must progress further until you unlock online. Battles are split between tastefu battles and chaos battles. For the most part these are the same, but chaos battles also allow the use of item plates. I didn’t get a chance to play local multiplayer as you need to play someone with their own Switch, but the experience I had with online was fine. However stay away from online till you beat the game, as you go in with your selection of sprites, so the chances are you’ll play someone who could be worse, but just have better sprites.
Sound and Vision
Sushi Striker is a great looking game. It is bright, colourful and the anime style is perfect for the world. For such a small title, I was surprised at how many animated cutscenes it had. They clearly aren’t big budget cutscenes, but they all were very funny and kept me smiling. The soundtrack is awesome as well, but one thing I really want to highlight is the main theme. I will gladly admit that I found it to be so catchy and an instant favourite. A lot of people commented on Jump Up! Superstar from last years E3, but if you ask me Sushi No.1 is much better.
I do have a lot of praise for Sushi Strikers, but it does have some problems. As I mentioned the RPG elements don’t really add much. On top of that the single player adventure was probably a bit too long. Even with different star requirements and a comical adventure it did start to drag and feel repetitive. However the biggest flaw for Sushi Striker Switch is the Switch itself. The game was made for the 3DS and in particular to be used with a stylus. In fact after trying the demo I bought a stylus for my Switch as my hand would get in the way and my finger sometimes being to big made me mess up and the joycon controls aren’t great.
So not only does it control worse on the Switch, it also costs more, but adds nothing. It looks slightly better, but the ability to play on a TV is useless and you really want to play with the touch controls. I must stress that using my finger wasn’t bad, but you should get a stylus (3DS and Wii U are the wrong type) and they aren’t that expensive.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: The reviewer purchased a copy of Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido for this review.