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Update 1 - The Taste of Destiny

The first thing we see after booting the game is the opening. It's just a musical number paired mostly with shots from the in-game cutscenes, but it does give us an idea of what we're in for.

Video: Opening

(Click the CC button for subtitles)

There's also an alternate cut of the opening that can be viewed if you sit on the title screen for a minute.

Video: Alternate Opening

♪ BGM: Title Screen ♫

So without further ado, let's get started.

Before we can actually begin, we need to choose our main character's appearance. I'm going to pick girl Musashi because I like her better.

Video: Prologue

Oh this is easy, it's oil right?

Huh? Well I guess that makes sense considering the fish situation.

I'll admit I'm not really a seafood person, so I'd be okay with not having sushi ever again. Now if this was world without cows, that would be a different story. I'd die on a hill for beef.

POWs were forced to eat gas station sushi; and yes they fought by throwing plates at each other.

Uh oh, does this mean I'm going to jail for this post?

Did I mention this game has a jamming soundtrack?

♪ BGM: Musashi's Theme ♫

: !!!
: I'm also really...really...hungry.

: Well, I'll fix that! There's gotta be something in these woods we can eat!

♪ BGM: Early Republic - Shrine Grove ♫

Here's the overworld map. We'll be using it navigate the world by moving along this linear path and selecting levels to play. Technically, the first three spots aren't considered levels since the first one is the intro and the next two are also more cut scenes and tutorials. Anyways let's move on to the next area for another cutscene, and this one is animated like my Japanese animes.

Video: The First Bite

: It's all the fruit I can eat! Wooohooo!

: In my tum!
: What a day! I can hardly carry all this.
: All those kids will have full bellies for once!

: Pickin' fruit right off the trees, are you?
: Looks that way!
: What a weirdo.
: You actually eat that stuff?
: What's your problem?! Get lost!

What's so weird about picking fruit? Unless it's some of kind of fruit that's bad for you like horse-apples.

: But it's mine!

I really hope you get a tummy ache, ya jerk!

Tag yourself, I'm the girl on the left.

: What kinda fruit IS this?!
: (Figures)
: How can you stand to eat this?!
: Are you kidding?! Sure, it's nasty, but what else is there to eat besides this stuff?!
: Pathetic. You dorks gobble up trash and act like it's delicious candy.

Says the dork who just gobbled up a whole basket's worth.

I AM NOT A TRASH EATER! Now if you'll excuse me, my cheeseburger Hot Pocket Slideshots are ready.

: Kojiro!

That is a very 'What am I doing with my life' face.

: Where did you guys go? And are you ever planning on coming back?

Like for real, I'm having trouble remembering what your facial features look like.

: Aw, man! I never got any food.

Anime boy alert, 6 o'clock! that a plate on his head?

: Why? Who wants to know?
: You can call me Franklin. I'm a wanderer on this hungry earth.
: You're clearly in dire straits, but self-pity won't help you. Chin up, young woman!

If there's one thing I would complain about in this game, it's that the sound mixing for these animated cutscenes isn't that great. Most times the background music will drown out characters like Franklin and there's nothing I can do about it. Like for real if there weren't subtitles I would have serious trouble figuring out what he's saying in this scene.

: Can it! Leave me alone!
: [stomach grumble]
: Ha hah ha. You must have been pretty hungry.
: Me and everyone else!
: I don't fault you. Growing children do need their food.

: Ah! Forgive me. Then you can keep secrets just like an adult, yes?
: Secrets?
: If you promise to keep this strictly between the two of us...

: Though within the republic's borders... It's a crime to even look upon it, let alone to eat it.
: I'm giving you a chance to try some. Well? It's good.

I'm calling the cops!

: I hate sushi so much!
: I lost my mom and dad in the war! The stupid war they fought all because of some stupid sushi!
: Sushi ruined my life!

I will now dedicate my life to fighting against the atrocity that is sushi!

: But you must know... Sushi was not to blame for this. Sushi isn't just something to stuff the belly with. It brings real joy to people.

Cheese-n-crackers! I'm gonna be seeing that in my nightmares for now on.

: I'm Ara-o, one of the great sushi sprites who controls the world's sushi.
: A sushi sprout?
: No, not a sprout! A sushi sprite!
: A cutie pie?

Well I think you're a cutie pie!

: Humor me.
: Eh, OK... I'll do it.

: This is sushi? THIS is sushi? It's so... It's so...

That's a bold claim. Is it better than a cheeseburger Hot Pocket Slideshot?

: Well! Don't stop-keep eating!

Video: Tutorial 1 - Eating

♪ BGM: Franklin's Theme♫

: Never fear. You are in a sushi field, a place where sushi flows from sushi sprites.
: Don't worry about that. I have much to teach you here! You see, there's a lot you can do with sushi here.
: Let's see you link two plates of the same color! Go on!

Alright so, the biggest part of this game is linking colored plates to create plate stacks which will be used in battle. We'll get into combat later, so for now we just need to focus on getting used to linking plates. To do this we can simply touch a plate and draw a line through similar colored plates to link them. (Surprisingly you can play through the whole game with just the touch screen. Getting a stylus is highly recommended.) Alternately, you can move the left stick to move the selection cursor to the plate you want, hole down the A button, and move the left stick to link plates. It's not the ideal way to play, but since I'm capturing this with the Swtich docked I don't have much of a choice.

: You mean like that?
: Exactly. Now link as many plates of one color as you can!

We have to practice linking plates a couple more times. When it comes to moving from one plate to the next you can move in the standard up, down, left, right, and diagonals. Also the plates don't have to be right next to each other. If there's a empty gap between plates, you can jump the gap to get to the next plate which is why you can make this move in the shot below. If you're still having trouble figuring out what you can and can't grab, linkable plates will flash white.

: I'm seeing a lot of plates...but no sushi.
: Ah, pardon me! For that, I'll need to have Ara-o return to the shrine for a bit.

: Ara-o, if you please?

Now we're talking! Time to chow down on some sushi sandwiches! What do we got here, cucumber rolls, egg sushi, creamy shrimp, and pineapple? Well of course we gotta have something sweet from time to time! In addition to sushi we'll also find fruit in the lanes, and they have the added ability to heal Musashi's HP after eating them. It doesn't heal for much so don't depend on them too much.

: Whoa! Look at all the sushi!
: Eat up! Link two or more plates of the same color, just as before!
: Yum! I can't get enough!
: I'm not surprised. Don't stop now! Grab as many as you can in one go!
: But you only have 7 seconds to link plates. After that, they'll slip through your fingers.
: The goal is to link and eat as many plates as you can within that 7 seconds. Try it!

So we have to practice linking plates again, but this time there's actual sushi on them. I guess the only new concepts introduced here is that you only have 7 seconds to link plates and that it's not what's on the plate that determines if you can link it or not, but the of color of plate which means we can link plates with egg sushi and cucumber rolls just fine. We'll explore how the different types of sushi play a role in battle later. For now let's just get through this tutorial.

As for the 7 seconds rule...

You'll notice as you're grabbing plates that the blue rim around your current position with start to blink and turn red signaling you're running out of time, and if you take too long you'll lose all the plates you grabbed. Losing plates in a game like this is not something you want to do too often. In case you're wondering what happens if you hit the end of a lane and haven't moved to another in time, you don't lose the plates you've linked but you stop linking plates and get whatever you grabbed. For example, I linked 3 plates and hit the edge of the middle lane, so my combo ends but I get the three plates. Anyways we eat some sushi and the tutorial ends.

♪ BGM: Sushi For All♫

: Wow... Thank you. Sushi is so amazing that I think I might cry!
: Yep! There I go!
: Tears of joy, huh? Humans are so strange!
: Quiet, you sushi spout!
: What'd you call me?!
: Hmm... That's an interesting jacket.

: You like it? My dad gave it to me when I was a kid.
: From your dad, is it?
: Yeah, but he and my mom disappeared right after the Struggles started...
: That is unfortunate. But seeing you eat has convinced me of one thing.

You got a weird thingy

What is this? Some kind of gear? There's no hole in the center. Does it do anything or is this some kind of knick knack?

: What is it?
: Haha... That would be telling. But I think you'll find a use for it.

What!? You can't just hand me something and not tell me what it does! How is that useful?!

: This all seems kinda fishy. Who are you REALLY?

Well it can't be fishy, there's no fish in this world.

: If you must know... I'm a traveling sushi striker.
: I've never heard of that.
: They pledge with sushi sprites and summon sushi's awesome powers. Some of that means doing battle with sushi, so they're called sushi strikers!
: There are not many nowadays with access to sushi.
: Don't you think that's a shame? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could have sushi, regardless of circumstance?
: Whoa! That's a tall order!
: Maybe so, but I'm achieving it in my travels, one person at a time.

Could I interest you in reading my Sushi Literature? Though I gotta admit, these sushi sprites seems like a good answer to world hunger. Now if only there were other food sprites.

: Hey, so... Franklin...
: Yes, Musashi?
: You should come to my village next! The other orphans are going hungry! I wanna see their faces when they get to try sushi too!
: Then that can be my next stop. Let's go spread the good word of sushi!
: Yay! Thanks, Franklin!

Video: Tutorial 2 - Combat

: Woohoo! Just a little further to the village!
: Careful. Don't overexcite yourself and get a cramp.

♪ BGM: Looming Threat♫

: I don't know, but you should find somewhere to hide.

Whoa! Really really big man. It's like he fell straight out of a wrestling promo.

: Well, what a surprise. An Imperial General personally leading the hunt for me?
: My reps precede me, Huh? Well, ain't that something!

This dude looks like he's getting ready to pelvic thrust into Franklin; and then he does so. I'm not lying see for yourself.

You got that right. You can probably tell I'm trying to avoid using portraits for Kodiak as he's just that big of a man that his portraits might as well be a 80x80 shot of his pecs.

: Hand over that Ara-o and nobody has to get bruised!
: Alas... I won't be parting with Ara-o until I've fulfilled my dream. Besides which, I doubt he would want to leave me anyway.
: Yeah! I'm with Franklin! Whatever your Empire wants me to do, I want none of it!
: Of course. You could have made this easy, flab-brains, but we can do it the other way.
: Go for it, men! Hit 'em hard!

The screen goes dark and then some quick flashes of white accompanied by what sounds like Franklin getting beaten up.

OH NO MY ANIME BOY! I thought these guys were suppose to fight with sushi!

: Hah! What'd you expect?!
: Franklin! Are you OK?!
: Huh? Who's the kid?
: M-Musashi... You're just in time! You must use my power! Make a stand against the Empire!
: You want ME to fight THEM? How?!

What do you expect me to do? Kodiak could easily put me in a headlock and slam me into oblivion!

: Well, if I have to! Bring it on!

♪ BGM: Battle VS Soldier♫

Not pictured is that Kodiak's sprite is wearing overalls and has a mallet, so we can confirm that some sushi sprites have a sense of fashion.

: Hey, what's this "attacking with plates" stuff about? How do I do that?
: Just like before, link at least two plates of the same color! That's the first step...

Alright, time to get serious. So the sushi field has had a few things added since we were last here. For starters, there is now a side of the arena for your opponent which comes with its own sushi lanes.

In the center of the arena is a special lane named the 'Shared Lane' and as its name implies both strikers can link sushi from that lane. It can come in handy when you need to keep a combo going, but it's first come first served so be careful. Another cool thing about the shared lane is that both teams' first sushi sprite influences what kind of sushi shows up on this lane, which is why there are sushi that will not show up on our side of the field like Inari Sushi, orange slices, and strawberries.

At the end of each side is a little table that I will dub 'The Stack Table'. Here is where all you plate stacks go, and it can hold up to five stacks at one time. So let's go ahead and fill all five slots with plates.

While watching the video, you might see a glowing plate from time to time; well that's a special plate that spawns when you link 7 plates or more. The great thing about it is that it can link with anything. (It also provides a damage bonus and plate protection, but we'll talk about that later.)

So now we have all the slots on the stack table filled and I have a sixth on the way and you're probably wondering what gonna happen when I finish collecting plates. Well, what happens is that the new stack will move all the other stacks one slot to the right and the right most stack will be thrown at the opponent for damage. This is known as an 'autoshot'.

: It's easy! Once the table is full of plates, they'll shoot off automatically! Although, that's not the only way to attack.
: After eating sushi, touch a stack of plates and slide it upward to throw it!

So to manually throw a stack, you need to either touch the stack you want and swipe up, or use the left stick to have Musashi stand in front of the stack you want to throw and hit the X button. Using the left stick method is a bit fiddly because you'll snap back to the center after a second so that can lead to you sometimes throwing the wrong stack.

: There you go! You can shoot plates stacked on the table whenever you want! Hit the enemy with stacks of the same-colored plates for a superpowerful combo!

Ah right, you'll want to—

: Yeah, yeah, so you figured out how to shoot plates. Too bad it won't help!

Aw crap...

♪ BGM: Lost a Match♫

Not exactly how I imagined our first sushi battle to go down. With our heroine defeated, what fate lies for Franklin and Musashi? Tune in next time to find out!

Before we go, let's examine all the new stuff we experienced today.

New Sushi Sprites

#079: Ara-o
Secret: A pure fighter with serious attention to detail.
Skill: ???

#029 Wani-o
Secret: Creates a vacuum when it takes a breath
Skill: Buff Buffet: Allows user to link any plates regardless of color!

New Sushi

#001 Cucumber Roll
The soft squish of the rice is but a prelude to the cucumber's crisp, satisfying crunch.

#002 Egg
Seductive slices of a layered-egg omelet rest ever delicately atop fluffy rice pillows.

#009 Creamy Shrimp
A bouquet of tender shrimp cuddled up next to a loving dollop of mayonnaise.

#015 Pineapple
A gentle, tender sweetness beckons from within its slightly sour acidity.