Light and Shadow
The good old age of couch gaming has seen a resurgence in recent years with the appearance of multiplayer arena brawlers such as TowerFall Ascension, Duck Game and Nidhogg, just to name a few. One of such arena brawlers was the 2015’s Black and White Bushido, released only on Steam back then to some praise due to its original stealth-em-up gameplay. Fast-forward two whole years and now we have the console version of Black and White Bushido being released on PlayStation 4, but is its blade sharp or blunt?
Black and White Bushido’s premise is quite basic; you choose one of four characters and either black or white and your goal is to defeat the enemies, be it a friend or an AI-controlled bot, of the opposite colour. Said colours are tied to the main mechanic of the game as the predominant colours in Black & White Bushido are… well, black and white. Thanks to this you’re able to blend in with the background as long as it’s the same colour as your character. This simple, yet, interesting mechanic makes for some intense 4-player chaos, especially with friends as you pay attention to their movement while trying to stay hidden in your own colour until the time is right to strike them down.
To mix things up a bit you can pick up and use a variety of items scattered in every stage, be it deadly shurikens, pesky spikes that’ll cause you to leave a trace of blood or smoke bombs that let you teleport from one point to another. The game contains three, for the most part, self-explanatory gameplay modes; Deathmatch, Flag Capture and Challenge Mode. In Challenge Mode you’re pitted against an onslaught of AI-controlled enemies and your objective is to survive while capturing flags to gain points while also keeping an eye on an optional objectives list as completing it will kill every single enemy on screen at that time.
Each of the three previously mentioned modes can be played in any of the seven stages that the game offers.
In terms of presentation, we have a very slick look overall with a minimalistic design across the board, from the UI to the backgrounds and character designs we have a very clean and slick presentation. The music is your typical oriental style that’s very reminiscent of old samurai movies but hardly memorable, it gets the job done and that’s about it.
Games of this genre are clearly intended to be enjoyed with other people but we still feel the need to point out that the single player isn’t very fun as there’s really only one true single player mode (Challenge Mode) and because bots only have a default difficulty setting and their AI is laughably terrible at times.
In regards to the new network play mode, unfortunately during our time with the game there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of people online, hopefully the player base will be able to grow over time but for people who usually play by themselves or with random people online these aren’t great news.
It’s also worth pointing out that the game contains a full trophy list with a platinum trophy that’s quite fun and easy to achieve.
In the end, Black & White Bushido’s simple core gameplay mixed with the innovative mechanics works really well and will surely be able to keep you and a group of friends busy slicing and dicing each other for a while. If you’re planning to play it by yourself or with random people online, though, you’d be better off waiting for a bit longer to see if the player base grows as right now there aren’t a whole lot of people online and the enemy AI isn’t the brightest either.
SGR SCORE: 7/10