Friday, November 2, 2012

Sushi Castle

Oh man, it's Final Fantasy VII all over again.
Sushi Castle is another rogue-like game created by MilkstoneStudios and released on July 7th 2012. Milkstone Studios currently list twenty different games on their website that they have released for the Xbox Indie Game Arcade, many of which are really good. On their website they claim that Sushi Castle is heavily inspired by the PC game Binding of Isaac. How does Sushi Castle compare to it, and other games in the rogue-like genre?

Oh, gooey brain monsters that leave behind a trail of filth that
causes damage. How original.
The graphics of the game are colorful and crisp. One of the things that I really appreciate is being able to play this without having to worry about turning the graphics down so the game doesn’t run slow, something that is a common problem with Binding of Isaac. Another thing I really like is the interface on the right side of the screen that shows your stats. This keeps you from having to pause the game or bring up a menu to find out what your stats are at. I feel like the character design is a little uninspired though. I found myself sometimes fighting multiple version of the same looking enemy with simple color palette swaps. I understand that the game is supposed to be about Ninjas, but there’s lots of Japanese mythology that could’ve been drawn upon to create a bigger variety of enemies. I guess sometimes you can have too many ninjas.

Ninja zombies! Or mystic zombies! Or homeless people!
The game play is exactly like Binding of Isaac. You run around in a randomly generated Zelda-esque dungeon collecting items that boost your stats or change your weapons. One of the differences in this is that while in Binding of Isaac you can only shoot up, down, left, and right, in Sushi Castle you can shoot in the diagonal directions as well. This actually makes the game somewhat easier, especially when faced with enemies who can only fire in the original four directions. The game also controls exceptionally well, and really makes me wish that Binding of Isaac offered this option too.

Oh look! A fat ninja! Those ninja stars should bounce right off him.
That's how fat works, right?
The game has a lot of items that you can find, but not near the massive amount to be discovered in the Binding of Isaac. Another problem I find with the game is a lot of items, enemies, and bosses seem to be ripped straight for Binding of Isaac. I understand Sushi Castle is inspired by Binding of Isaac, but it almost seems like they recreated the things they found in Binding of Isaac and didn’t put much work into making these things their own. As you progress through the game this becomes less of a problem, as the enemies in the later levels of the dungeon actually are quite different than what you find in Binding of Isaac. However, this is a game you replay over and over and over again, so you spend far more time in the first few levels than you do in the last. Once again, it makes the first chunk of the game feel uninspired, and I just wish more effort would’ve been put into trying to differentiate themselves from Binding of Isaac instead of just trying to be clear where they drew their inspiration from. When you get to a boss for the first time and it has the same exact attack pattern as a boss in Binding of Isaac, as a player I was left with a feeling of “Been there, done that.”

THE PROBLEM: The bosses period. THE SOLUTION: Your giant tampon.
Binding of Isaac is one of my favorite games, and the due to past experiences with publishing a game on the console market, Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl have been hesitant to release it on that platform. They have only recently begun to discus that avenue, and my only worry is that Sushi Castle with seem like an inferior game once that is released. If Milkstone Studios makes another one, I really hope they put more effort into making the game as different as possible from Binding of Isaac. They game could also use a slew of more items, enemies, and bosses, along with lots of secrets for players to find and explore. The large amount of things to do and find in the game is one of the things that make it so fun, as each play through should be vastly different from the last.

Otherwise, if you don’t have a computer I HIGHLY recommend this game. If you can play it without being able to look through the lenses of Binding of Isaac, you will have a LOT of fun with this game, because it is very good. And it’s only 80 MSP. You’re going to get a lot of entertainment out of that dollar, and Milkstone Studios has a great track record for their games, so we need to support them so they can continue to put out great games.


  1. This looks great. And I never even heard of it.

    1. Yeah, I really hope with the next generation Xbox console does a better job of advertising the Indie Games. Currently, unless you're checking out indie game blogs or dev websites or just the marketplace on the xbox, there's no real way to know that these games are coming out.

      It would be nice if they had somebody working for Microsoft who would just... I don't know, post some weekly update thing about the top five indie games to come out each week. I'm sure they have some unpaid, overworked intern that would be willing to do it for them.