GENRE: Puzzle
PRICE: £39.99

Sushi is probably my favourite food. The Japanese delicacy is one of those odd treats that I could happily shovel into my face all day long.

That being said, I don’t think I would go to war over a California Roll – but it seems that the team behind Nintendo’s latest puzzler Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido are prepared to die for a plate of Salmon Nigiri 

In the world of Sushi Striker, a war is being fought over the delicious delicacy. On one side there is the Empire who wish to horde and control the worlds sushi, and on the other - the members of the Sushi Liberation Front (SLF) who want to share sushi with the world.

Players take on the role of Musashi, an orphaned by the war he (or she) are drawn into the conflict after a chance encounter with a Sushi Striker called Franklin while foraging for food in the woods.

Rather than all being top notch chefs, Sushi Strikers get their power and plates of tasty tempura they use in battle from mystical beasts known as Sushi Sprites. (think sushi slinging Pokémon and you can’t go far wrong)

Franklin, on a mission to bring sushi to everyone, gives Musashi his first taste of the mystical food with the help of his Sushi Sprite Ara-o.

Bowled over by how delicious sushi is Musashi insists Franklin come back with him to the orphanage to feed the other orphans. However, before the pair gets to the orphanage they are ambushed by soldiers from the imperial army and Franklin is captured.

Alone and desperate to help his friend Musashi hears a voice from a nearby shrine which encourages him to eat the plate of sushi it produces. After consuming it, the shrines resident Sushi Sprite Jinrai reveals himself to Musashi and the pair set off on a quest to rescue Franklin and bring sushi to the masses.

The narrative is bonkers and very Japanese – the whole thing is told via visual novel style dialogue sections and high quality animated cutscenes that made me wonder if it didn’t already have an anime series tied into it.

At the heart of the action though is some unique and brilliant puzzle gameplay.

Sushi cascades across the screen on three conveyor belts and players have seven seconds to link together and scoff as many plates of sushi on the same colour plates as they can, before chucking the empty plates at their enemy. The bigger the stack, the more damage they cause.

Each Striker is accompanied by up to three Sushi Sprites with various special skills like turning all the plates the same colour, providing a protective shield, creating healing items or giving your attacks elemental buffs and much more besides.

Just like Pokémon your sprites level up after each battle and evolve into more powerful monsters, with harder hitting sushi as the game progresses, and with 100 to track down and collect there’s a great deal of scope for players to find the right combination of special skills to suit their playstyle.

Along with the sprites as the game progresses players are also able to equip ‘Belt Gears’ which change the speed and flow of the conveyor belts, nominate a favourite type of sushi to provide passive buffs and experience boosts and hold various items to give them the upper hand in battles or increase the chances of attracting a new Sushi Sprites to add to their collection.

Overall, the battles are frantic, fierce and a hell of a lot of fun. Trying to deftly find a path through the sushi before the timer runs out makes battles feel tense, while the bright, colourful presentation and quirky sound effects keep the madcap action really pop.

My only quibble (on Switch at least) was that the touch controls aren’t as responsive as I had hoped and made it much harder to create large combos than using a joypad.  

Each of the game’s 146 main story levels, also feature three challenges to complete. Complete enough of these objectives and even more side missions unlock which feature a powerful Sushi Sprite for you unlock and command.

Throw both local and online play into the mix and there’s plenty to be getting on with.

Online play works well, though it takes away the RPG elements of the single player by making both players level 30, It didn’t take long for me to find players to try my hand against and play remained stable throughout.

Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido is one of those games that is far more fun than it has any right to be, on paper it’s a simple match four or more puzzler, the likes of which clog up every app store known to man. 

However, beneath its quirky exterior lies a game full of endearing characters, frantic and satisfying puzzle battles and compelling monster hunting that had me hooked from start to finish.

Like the sushi, it holds so dearly, after your first bite you are bound to be hooked.

SCORE 8/10