‘In a world without fish…’
What a potent opening statement. How does it make you feel? Are you sad for the fish? Are you concerned about the ecological effects? Do you wonder what caused such extinction? Or are you yelling ‘MY TASTE BUDS’ at your screen?
If the latter, I have the perfect game for you. Sushi Strikers. I also have more than a few hundred pedantic words to follow that you should probably skip.
In Sushi Strikers, you match plates of similar colours to eat sushi before proceeding to throw the empty plates at enemies. It’s fanciful, outlandish and fun. There’s even a surprisingly overbearing anime narrative that sees you play as Musashi in a world of sushi wars, evil empires and magic powers. But no fish.
Yet the introduction of magic undermines one fundamental recipe for sushi – death. Whatever your dietary habits and moral stance on eating meat, there’s no denying that to eat salmon, salmon must die.
The Sushi Strikers demo completely hand waves the origin of meat and therefore any possibility of death and cruelty. Instead, sushi is magically formed by sushi sprites, cute Pokémon-like creatures with their own personalities. I’m sure not a single sushi sprite will be eaten. They are not meat to eat. They have personality. With their excruciatingly irritating voices, you’ll soon hope they join the fish population.
Instead, sushi is made at a sushi field, which is a garden to which Musashi is transported. Magically. A garden with conveyor belts constantly revolving plates of a seemingly limitless supply of sushi – or as I like to call it, dead fish. It’s described as ‘a place where sushi flows from sushi sprites’. It flows. Like a river. That holds fish. In a world without fish.
Seriously, where is this meat coming from? Some magical land? A parallel universe? Space? Is it sushi sprite excrement? Can sushi sprites create matter from nothing? If so, what is the effect on a planet when conjuring extra mass from nothing?
Here, sushi is merely a prize. A long-lost artefact of an ancient culinary world. Like Cadbury’s Fuse. The covetous Empire keeps sushi for the elite and our hero wants to share sushi with everyone, giving nary a thought as to the consequences – seriously, imagine the economic effects of creating food from nothing.
Within minutes, Musashi is mocked for eating fruit, despite there being nothing else to eat. Her rival, Kojiro yells ‘Trash eaters! Trash eaters!’ and calls fruit disgusting – perhaps it wasn’t ripe – despite having apparently tasted nothing else. Despite initially arguing with Kojiro, Musashi agrees. All other food is disgusting.
But wait, we’re forgetting that the most common and important recipe of sushi is in fact not fish but sushi rice, a white rice prepared in rice vinegar, salt and sugar. With sushi rice, you can add any vegetables, meat and other dressings you like. Perhaps this should have been a world without rice.
It is a dystopia with apparently no cooking. No kitchens. All culinarians are magical sprites who possess the questionable power of forming tasty dead animals in some sort of unseen hellish kitchen. At one point, Musashi is surrounded by fruit-bearing trees but claims to be ‘really…really…hungry’. Despite having never eaten sushi, she craves it. Surely, she would be accustomed to liking something edible in this world that doesn’t spawn from a probably-very-tasty sushi-pooing animal. I’ll spare you the nutrition lesson but meat is not the only filling food. Shocking, I know.
All that said, it’s very fun and silly. A silly game for a silly world. A world that actively hand waves the journey fish takes to reach the plate. Wait a minute…
Sushi Strikers will strike the heart of omnivores worldwide on Switch and 3DS a week Friday.