Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido (Nintendo Switch) Review

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I remember the first time I saw Sushi Striker. Announced at Nintendo’s 2017 E3 event, I found myself quite frankly confused. Who came up with such a mad concept as fighting with sushi, and why did Nintendo think it was a good idea to support them? I want to preface the review by saying you shouldn’t let your first impression cloud your judgement, this game is so much more.

Silly Sushi

Sushi Striker is an odd game from the start. After selecting which character you want, you’re introduced to a fishless world where sushi is a natural resource. With no resolute way of dividing the sushi across the continent, the Empire went to war with the Republic; a long and destructive struggle documented as the bitter Sushi Struggles. The Republic were eventually pushed back, the war lost and the mention of sushi outlawed; the eating of it a severe crime. Its divine taste still craved by many, the Sushi Liberation Front fight on. With the goal of toppling the Empire and sharing sushi across the world, our story begins here.

If you managed to understand that, you should have an idea of the sheer childish joy this game has to offer. If you’re willing to sit back and embrace strange as normal in this most alternate of worlds, you are in for a fantastic ride. Each minor interaction with overly zealous enemies as they announce their plans to you, each deflated muscle, each plate thrown, it threw me back to a time of simple excitement and fun. This bursts through in the artwork and in the cutscenes that feel almost out of place with how nice they are. The entire storytelling experience felt well polished and enjoyable throughout, despite following standard and easy to understand tropes and cliches. It’s something anybody from a child to a grandparent could enjoy effortlessly, capturing the feeling of accessibility and togetherness Nintendo often strives for.

Serious Sushi

Looking to the gameplay itself, it’s perhaps not quite what you’d expect from a retail game. Putting a large focus on the touch screen and brief, frantic battles, the experience is something you might expect to find on a phone. While I can definitely see this putting some people off, I personally find myself happy to see more games utilising the Switch’s featureset to its fullest. The battles are easy to pick up and explained well as you play, but at its core, it’s a colour matching game with moving lanes and an opponent to compete against. As you go through the game, you collect Sushi Sprites, each with their own skill and sushi types to bring to battle. It’s up to you to create the best team and sushi set to suit your play style.

The amount of versatility the game offers rather surprised me; an offensive player can chain skills to deal destructive damage in one hit, while defensive players can create shields and prioritise taking as little damage as possible. This pairs well with the game’s bonus objectives, each level having three. These vary from level to level, from beating it under a certain amount of time, to having certain amount of HP at the end of the battle, to using limiting the amount of plates you can have in a single attack. Each one forces you to alter your play style and team of sprites and learn far more ways to play the game than you otherwise might by staying in your comfort zone. Even with the bonus objectives, I still originally felt the game a little too easy, and as if it was fate, the game offered me a lifeline in the form of the Training Black Belt. This item lets you change the experience to be high risk, high reward. Tempting you with a 1.5x score multiplier at the cost of half your health, it creates much more of a challenge for those who want it whilst not forcing it onto you. It allowed me to struggle on a boss fight and actually cry out in triumph as I toppled his rippling muscular body. In all honesty, I still haven’t figured out the benefit of having a high score and rank on each stage, but there was a certain satisfaction from seeing an S encircled by a rainbow that kept me going. The lack of health to fall back onto actively forced me to move quicker, I felt my reactions improve along with my sense for good chains. It’s a great option to offer and I’m glad the game had a sense of difficulty about it, albeit an optional one.

To keep things fresh, the game changes the way you play from battle to battle. While some are standard, giving variance in trying to meet its bonus objectives, others put forward a completely different experience through means both clear and subtle. On the clearer end of the spectrum are special Sushi Sprites, the most memorable of these acting as a complete shield for any attack with less than eight plates. You have no choice but to create strong combos and brute force your way through the obstacle. The more subtle changes come from elements such as capsules. From time to time, a battle may have capsules appearing on the lane you and your opponent share, giving you both the opportunity to steal a quick bonus. These can often change the tide of battle, and are locked behind a number of plates. The beauty of these is that they don’t necessarily force you to change how you play like the Sushi Sprite previously mentioned, but you put yourself at a disadvantage by not. The way these levels are distributed comes across as a way of saying “hey, you should use the shared lane a bit more, it’s really useful!” and I can’t fault it for that. After you get past the tutorials, the game has a great habit of guiding how you play without overtly telling you. The times it is clear in its intent, it feels like a test of skill, something you almost feel you’ve earned.

Sushi Switch

While the Switch version is what I had the pleasure of playing, the game is also available for the 3DS. It’d be easy to say the 3DS version is worse—with the system being far inferior in performance, it surely must be the case? It ultimately depends on what you’re after from Sushi Striker. The Switch version excels and outperforms in its presentation. The larger screen allows for lush visuals that feel alive, the vibrant and fluidly animated cutscenes a spectacle to be anticipated and enjoyed. The 3DS version still has these same cutscenes and design choices, but is of course limited to its smaller screen and lesser resolution. It remains fine, but pales in comparison to the Switch. What may appear to be another clear advantage is the ability to play on both the TV and on the go, the foremost marketing point of the system. While you definitely can play the game in docked mode, it isn’t something I found myself particularly fond of. The game retains its fantastic presentation on the larger screen, but removing the touch controls really took away from the overall experience for me. The physical controls still felt responsive and fast, but lacked the precision of the touch screen. It’s something I would recommend trying for yourself, you may get on with it better than I did.

Where the 3DS version excels is in its gameplay. It is identical to the Switch version, but it’s in the touch screen where the vital difference lies. Its resistive screen requiring a stylus allows you the same precision of the Switch, whilst not forcing you to obscure your view as your fingers cover the screen. With a larger pen stylus, you can slam down the sushi with great speed and the best view of the battlefield. The 3DS version also finds itself slightly cheaper than its Switch counterpart, potentially making itself more appealing given the content itself is identical. If you’re still on the fence about striking sushi into the hearts of your enemies, there’s a free demo available on the Switch eShop I encourage you to check out. I had a great time with this game, and quite honestly feel it a shame to see the mobile-esque gameplay driving people away. Even if you feel it too expensive now, I encourage you to add it to your wishlist and buy it when it gets to a price you can justify; you’ll be in for a treat beyond the delicious dish’s divine taste.

Trident Pro-S2 Controller (Hardware) Review

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Game Devil have a relatively short history with the Nintendo Switch. Met with mixed reviews for their first iteration of the Trident Pro S, many were disappointed with its lacklustre feature set in particular, as well as other minor details. If you’re interested in the original controller, you can find Tom’s review here. What I’m interested in is whether Game Devil have learned from their previous mistakes.

Old to New—S to S2

On the surface level, not a whole lot has changed. It sports a very similar look and feel, with minor changes to the aesthetic. One thing I immediately noticed however was the lack of stylised face buttons, and this is something I really do appreciate. While I understand the old designs were used for the majority of their products, I couldn’t help but think they took away from what is otherwise a relatively premium feel, making it look tacky and cheap. With standard printed ABXY buttons, I can look at this controller and not be repulsed by its association to the bargain bin controllers of an era since-passed.

Feature-wise, the biggest addition comes in the form of motion controls. Having thoroughly tested it, they feel similarly sensitive to the 8BitDo SN30 Pro; perhaps more so than the Joy Cons but not to any kind of extreme. Where it excels beyond the SN30 Pro is in its large grips, allowing you a better base to hold the controls steady and make small adjustments where needed. From what I could tell, the motion controls were the only change actually advertised by Game Devil, but a few other things were tweaked as well. The behaviour of the Turbo button has been altered to make it an on/off toggle, in oppose to having to hold both it and the button desired. As well as this, it now works with every button on the system, in oppose to just the four face buttons. This is a fantastic change; the biggest application coming to mind being Splatoon 2 and its Ink Brush. Whether it would be ethical or not to use a turbo button in a competitive online environment is a different story, but saving the wrist strain from mashing a single button is something I welcome.

The last major change I noticed was its connectivity to the Switch; it’s simple and easy, contrasting horror stories I had heard about the Trident Pro-S. Even after turning the Switch off, it connected instantly and simply. While less of a pro and more something we should be expecting in any controller, it’s great to see it’s now up to standard, fixing one of the largest issues of the previous iteration.

As a Whole

Looking at the controller as a whole, it puts forward a professional and high quality aesthetic. The changes to the face buttons go a long way in helping this, demonstrating a fairly standard layout and look. One of the smaller things I came to appreciate was the red and blue plastic used for the analogue sticks. They don’t do much to stand out, but it’s a pleasant deviation from an otherwise conventional look, without the garishness the Trident Pro-S previously suffered with its face buttons. The Pro-S2 feels great to hold, the reasonably-sized grips providing a comfortable base for longer sessions. Complementing this is the design of the ZL and ZR buttons. At first, the design seemed odd, suggesting analogue triggers in oppose to the standard shoulder buttons used by the Switch. The curved nature of the shoulder buttons allowed for my fingers to sit more comfortably and revert to them as a resting location with no strain or additional effort.

One of main selling points for this controller comes from its interchangeable D-Pads. Sporting three unique designs (the controller coming with two of each), you are free to use whatever feels most comfortable; whether it be a standard cross, something closer to the D-Pad of an Xbox controller, or even the satellite dish design seen on the Xbox One Elite controller. While many would much rather stick to a traditional D-Pad, I found myself enjoying the satellite design and haven’t really deviated from it since getting the Pro-S2. The D-Pad isn’t without fault however. I found myself often catching more than one input and while it wasn’t too much of an issue for me, some may not like the overall soft feel of it. The feedback from pressing a direction doesn’t carry the same responsiveness or satisfaction you might get from other D-Pads, this also being an issue with the face buttons. Their softness almost seems intentional as if to make you want to use the turbo functionality more where you would otherwise be mashing a button. The buttons never felt soft enough as to be irritating or put me off using the controller, but I can understand how this may be different for others. If you’re after reasonable feedback from your button presses, you may be left underwhelmed.

Too Strong, Too Furious

My largest concern with the controller comes from its rumble functionality. When I first used it, it came across as a little aggressive in comparison to the others I have; largely similar to the SN30 Pro when at launch. I didn’t think much of it and started to get used to it—this until I played a motion-reliant game. As I went to Gal*Gun 2 to put the controller through its paces, something felt off. After a few moments, I figured out the cause. When using the vacuum, the entire screen was shaking. To put into perspective just how bad this was, I’ve put together a short demonstration below.

Quite interestingly here, Gal*Gun 2 allows you to disable rumble features, letting me show the difference quite clearly. I’d like to be able to say you could simply disable rumble if you find it inconveniencing, but put simply, it’s not always an option. Despite the system settings themselves having an option to disable it, this won’t apply for every game. Of the ones I tried, Vroom in the Night Sky kept its rumble despite the feature being disabled in system settings. With the same being true with the SN30 Pro, but not with the Joy Cons, I can only assume it’s a compatibility issue many third party controllers suffer from. Were the rumble not so violent, this wouldn’t be an issue, but when it can actively get in the way of gameplay, my opinions change somewhat.

It should also be noted the rumble feature was constantly enabled for Infinite Golf. From booting the game, the controller was vibrating at its fullest capacity. This isn’t an issue I’ve seen in any other game, and I can’t seem to replicate it with either Joy Cons nor the SN30 Pro, so I really can’t guess the cause. What makes this a little more unfortunate is that disabling rumble via system settings doesn’t stop this. While Infinite Golf may be the only game I’ve found with this issue, keep in mind more may be affected.


Game Devil’s Trident Pro-S2 is a controller I quite honestly love, which only serves to disappoint me further when I see it held back by something as trivial as rumble functionality. I could see myself looking more favourably on it if it were missing this feature altogether. If you can get past this however, you have a well priced and incredibly comfortable controller sporting a rare feature in the form of a turbo button. The interchangeable D-Pads offer a pleasant degree of customisation without being overwhelming nor unnecessarily complex, and allows you to find the right layout for you. For games that aren’t broken by its over-active rumble, it is my go-to controller, I just wish it could be more.

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn (Nintendo Switch) Review

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Welcome to the rebirth of Shaq. The spiritual successor to what has been dubbed the worst game of all time, Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn looks to right the wrongs of Shaqs long-since passed. With a fresh story and a clean slate, can our basketbrawling hero be forgiven?

A Legend Reborn

Our story begins with a misshapen tale of Shaq’s origin; a Chinese orphan bullied and abused for his height. In his isolation, a village elder named Ye-Ye takes an interest in him and teaches him the ways of Wu Xing, an ancient fighting technique. Shaq’s incredible power is soon needed to fight off demons in the form of celebrities, each aiming to subjugate humanity by brainwashing them into moronic subservience. I have rewritten this introduction seven times now, and this is the best way I can describe the plot. It is perhaps the most bizarre and outlandish story I have ever encountered in a video game. Beyond the realm of rational and sensical, it smashes together familiar faces for the sake of a cheap laugh and a cameo, and it shouldn’t work. It really shouldn’t work; and yet here I am bewildered by just how much I enjoyed it. It almost serves as a metaphor for what the antagonist of the game aims to achieve, putting forward something so stupidly enjoyable you might believe the game has come to life.

The humour of this game is a particular stand-out factor. Be it through the storytelling, or simple remarks made to introduce each new enemy, it’s present throughout. It served as my main driving force to continue playing, and what a force it turned out to be. Of my time playing, only one joke really fell flat, where Shaq broke the fourth wall and started talking to the game designer. In that instance, I felt the game trying a little too hard to keep up what it had already done so well, but it was only there I really find fault. Obviously, humour is brilliantly subjective, so your experience may be a little more hit and miss. If the idea of the story has you amused however, you should find plenty to enjoy.

Shaq Attack

Beyond the nonsense and the humour, there is the gameplay. If you have played any modern, or classic for that matter, beat ’em up game, you should know what to expect. You play as Shaq and take on hordes of monsters a screen at a time, until you reach the end of the stage and fight a boss. Rinse and repeat until you beat the game. Everything about this contrasts the unique and interesting storytelling, putting forward something so generic in nature it almost feels wasted in this setting. To be perfectly clear, there is nothing necessarily wrong about the combat in this game, but I also struggle to think what sets it apart; what it does so differently to stand out. There really isn’t much. I find myself disappointed in this respect, the thought of how simply this could have been escalated ever-prominent as I played. If Shaq’s attacks were bigger, more boisterous, more outrageous and unique; if they worked the hilarity and stupidity into the combat, this game could have pushed its limits far beyond anything we have seen.

When I first played this, I found myself expecting to see wacky combat like I had never seen before. It was a bit of a kick to see something so standard, but the game rather unexpectedly grew on me. With the story as motivation, and the gameplay itself not flawed by any means, it didn’t take long to enjoy it as a generic beat ’em up. While I wish it could have gone beyond this, it does a good enough job of providing a means of appreciating the more praiseworthy elements.

The Third Dimension

Graphically speaking, Shaq Fu had me conflicted. On one hand, it puts forward a beautifully colourful and alive art style in its cutscenes and character design; on the other the somewhat muddied 3D space used for combat. At first, the difference really struck me. The 3D space in itself isn’t an issue, but to go from something so fluid and refined to something quite simply less so; it’s jarring. Like many of my complaints, they only really stand out as you start the game, and soon fade from your mind. Even so, it again lingers in my mind just what could have been. For everything the game does right, its fault to the core is in its consistency. If the gameplay matched the humour; if the artistic direction of the cutscenes flowed into combat. Each individual component is fine in and of themselves, but I’m left wanting to see them in better harmony.

All things considered, Shaq Fu surprised me in all the right ways. Through its lack of consistency, it still puts across a brilliantly stupid narrative delivered by the Big Diesel himself. Although only containing six stages and around two hours for a complete playthrough, the experience offered goes beyond justifying its £18 price tag.

Shape of the World (Nintendo Switch) Review

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Shape of the World is an odd game. Developed in Unreal Engine 4 by Hollow Tree Games, it describes itself as “A relaxing and interactive escape to get yourself pleasantly lost”. I don’t quite know what to make of it, but I hope my experience will be useful for those on the fence.

Welcome to the World

You start the game in a bright white light, with little to guide you beyond a faint outline in the distance. With no glimpse of instruction nor narrative, I approached, eager to discover what this canvas of a world would evolve into. In the beginning, everything felt slow, almost intentionally so. I found myself drawn into each crevice and cliff face, each rock and sprout; the contrast of definition on this barren screen drew me into progression and motivated me to move towards my goal. As an introduction section, I think it does a fantastic job. It sets certain expectations of the worlds’ growth, and that there is more to see if you are simply willing to look. 

As your near your first goal, you’re presented with what might be described as gameplay. With an unclimbable wall before you and two glowing stones, you must interact with them to create a set of stairs. It’s a pleasant experience that furthers your involvement with the world’s development and gives you a small sense of satisfaction in knowing you’re progressing. At this point, I was excited to see what else the game would do with these interactions. It had started small and simply to introduce its core mechanic; this is what I thought at the time. I wanted to see myself progress through this world through creative and interesting means, to see this simple world explode in a brilliant light of unexpected and simple. In the end, I found myself disappointed. 

Where I had hoped to see interaction escalate, the game gave me the same repetitive format over and over. Here are some stones, touch them to create stairs, follow the stairs for your next gateway and set of stones; rinse and repeat. This cycle grew more and more tiresome as it soon became clear the game’s sense of escalation came from the amount of stones you had to interact with at each destination. It ultimately came across as a means of padding the experience with menial content as the slow movement I previously praised felt like an anchor weighing me down. 

Outside of the repetitive progression, the game prides itself in its procedurally generated foliage and whimsical creations. This is one aspect I can honestly say worked really well. Seeing the world pop up around me, to see creatures appear from the shadows begging for interaction, it pulled me off the beaten path to see what was to be found. It could however only grip me for so long before my slowed pace made each trek feel less and less worthwhile. I could go look at the shining blob in the distance, but the amount of time it’d take to crawl there and back would only serve to infuriate me, in contrast to the relaxing vibes the game strives for. It’s a shame, because the game very much feels like it is there to be experienced; it simply gives you no engaging means of doing so. If you could move just a touch faster, if you had a second jump, if you had a sprint button, a short teleport; none of these ideas would compromise the game’s core themes or ideology, but would make it so much more playable. 

If the slow pace and lack of traditional gameplay and narrative doesn’t put you off, you may yet find some joy in the lush scenic beauty this game puts forward. Progressing through each layer of the world brings with it new foliage and themes, creatures and critters for you to approach and interact with. Each touch brings with it a pleasant sound, putting you at the heart of the world and making you feel a part of it. Even with the game only lasting a few hours for a full playthrough, if this kind of experience helps you relax or de-stress, I can see this game having some value. Shape of the World definitely isn’t a game for me, but it could yet be one for you.