Preview: Sushi Striker is fast food

Nintendo and indieszero have a new game in the pipeline! Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido, a title involving matching colored sushi plates and flinging them at opponents, will be coming to both the 3DS and Switch. Now that a demo for the console version is on the eShop, it is possible to get a glimpse of the first chapter. While it only allows us to see Musashi’s first few matches as a Sushi Striker, it gives a good idea of the game’s structure and pace.

Musashi is a hungry orphan. Their parents died in a war called the Sushi Struggles determining who would and would not be able to eat sushi. While this individual has sworn off eating this kind of food at the outset of the game, they are introduced to the dish after a wandering Sushi Striker, named Franklin, offers some to them. This leads to Musashi gaining their very own sushi sprite, Jinrai, and a gear that allows them to control the speed of the lanes during a battle. Now enchanted by the taste of sushi, Musashi decides it is worth fighting for and heads out to help Franklin and join the Sushi Liberation Front.

Sushi Striker follows a structure similar to both an anime series and mobile game. There are about 150 missions laid out on the map. Each one has a brief event scene preceding and following it, to set the stage for the map. Musashi faces a foe, eats as much sushi as possible, chucks the plates at the opponent, maybe uses a Sushi Sprite skill and hopefully wins. Every stage has three additional objectives, beyond winning, that provide extra goals to meet. Once a battle is done, there is typically more exposition to further the story.

Unfortunately, Sushi Striker’s story does not seem to encouraging so far. A young child is apparently a chosen one, destined to bring sushi to the masses. (This character has a grating voice, whether you choose the male or female avatar option.) Most story segments in the demo consist of Musashi being chastised and told Jinrai will be taken from them. Faceless mooks, with Cpt. Fammish, throw themselves into matches they can not possibly win, then run away claiming how inconceivable it is that a child won. On the plus side, all of these segments can be skipped by pressing Y and any tutorial segments appear as unskippable advice prior to a match.

The Sushi Striker matches themselves are fast-paced affairs, with the trial only running until Area 1-5 is complete. A fight lasts between one and two minutes, with a smart plan of action consisting of quickly glancing at which color plate currently seems prevalent on the three lanes in front of Musashi and one shared line between the two Sushi Strikers, pressing A on that plate, then holding the analog stick as you attempt to send it across lines to connect as many plates as possible within seven seconds. Once you feel satisfied with your collection, you let go of A to add it to one of the five stacks in front of you, which can be sent out immediately to attack by pressing X in front of the tower of plates you want to shoot or just wait for them to automatically be tossed at the enemy.

What is nice is that even in this early sample, Sushi Striker shows us a number of techniques we can employ in our competitive eating. Up to three sushi sprites can be equipped at once, with Jinrai and Penzo available in the demo. When Jinrai is charged, you can use Sushi Bonanza to make all the plates one color and create a massive, instant chain. Penzo is a healer, with Sweets Paradise adding desserts to the lanes that can be eaten by pressing A to heal Musashi’s health. Once both are equipped and active, you can start seeing how timing influences a battle.

Other factors come into consideration. The color of a plate determines its damage, with light blue being least damaging and gold being devastating. Creating a chain of seven or more plates makes a wildcard plate appear to help increase your odds of a larger combo. Knowing when to make a lane accelerate, which is done by holding A and not moving the cursor, to put yourself in a better position is crucial too. It feels like it can come down to hand-eye coordination, knowing what sushi sprites are on your side and being prepared to act when the array of plates looks most beneficial.

It seems like Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido could be a game that encourages people to think on their feet. Be aware of what is happening around you, and you could do well. While the demo’s foes are no real challenge, the full game will offer more sushi sprites to choose from, multiplayer and an opportunity to do more as we try to create proper plate chains.

Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido will come to the 3DS and Switch on June 8, 2018.

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