Review: Sushi Go! (iOS)
|Release Date||September 2016|
Developer: Lummox Labs
Genre: Card Game, Board Games
Michael Busheikin of Lummox Labs brings us the digital representation of Sushi Go! Michael worked on other digital tabletop GameWright implementations, such as Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert.
Lummox Labs’ first game, Noodles, was a Starbucks Pick of the Week, and was a huge success with over 300,000 downloads.
The game is about mix and matching sushi, so there are no content suggestions.
Sushi Go! is a game about creating the best combinations of cute little sushi, and amassing the largest amount of points among your foes. By doing so, you are crowned the winner and greatest sushi chef.
Sushi Go! is played over three rounds and focuses on a quick mechanic called card drafting. Similar to a booster draft in Magic: The Gathering, each player is given a hand of sushi, and each must select one to play. Once each person reveals their sushi, their hand goes to the player on their left, and they receive a new hand of sushi from the player on their right. This continues until all sushi are played. Players are scored for their collections of sushi, and then each player discards their played sushi and receives a brand new hand. Play proceeds like this for three rounds total, and and the player with the highest score wins.
To score points, you need to collect specific sets of sushi. For example, by playing three sashimi, you will score ten points. That’s a big deal. Unfortunately, if you only collected two by the end of the round, you get no points. Sad face. Maybe you are collecting maki rolls? Each maki has a different value. Some are worth one, and some are worth three. At the end of the round, the player who collected the most maki gets six points, with second place receiving three points. Anyone who missed second place receives no points.
It might not seem so from the cute little sushi flying around the screen, but Sushi Go! is a cutthroat experience. Of course, there are other sushi to play that net you immediate points, but in order to succeed, you have to be mindful of what sushi other players are collecting. Even more important is remembering what sushi are still left in the other players’ hands. This helps you to plan your strategy.
As you’ve seen in my review for Sushi Go Party!, I’m a pretty big fan of GameWright’s sushi franchise from designer Phil-Walker Harding. In fact, I have to stop myself from gushing on and on about how amazing Sushi Go Party! is, because this is a review for a Sushi Go! iOS game.
So, while I drastically prefer the sequel, I wholeheartedly endorse this digital implementation of the original game.
Typically, I don’t like additional things outside of the original scope of a game. In other words, I don’t like house rules for games, and I like things to be played the way the designer/artist intended. However, instead of taking the easy way out and recreating cards on-screen, Lummox Labs did the work of creating an interesting atmosphere for the games.
The game is played in a sushi kitchen. Players choose sushi presented by a delightful, pink octopus, who gives you subtle nudges to finish your turn. Players can select from various interesting character avatars. Thought bubbles, colors, music, sound effects, sushi artwork, animation—all of it screams presentation from the original card game, and I’m very glad with how it has turned out.
Sushi Go! loads quick. Within ten seconds, you can jump into a game against computer opponents. In my experience, these AI are not too intelligent, and can be knocked around fairly easily. However, the game shines with multiple human players. It’s quite fun to poke your buddies and remind them to play their sushi so you can finish crushing them with your pudding majority.
Sushi Go! also hosts an easy-to-learn tutorial to help new players quickly adjust to the game. Not that there is too much complication with the game in the first place, but I think this will be helpful to some who lack familiarity with modern hobby gaming. Lummox Labs also has included several quality of life features, like one-tap clicking to play sushi, or muting the background music.
Altogether, I find the iOS implementation of Sushi Go! to be everything you expect it to be. It plays quickly, it lets you connect and play with your friends, and it stays faithful to the original card game. Priced cheaply, this one is a winner, and I very much recommend it. In fact, if you like this one, I would love to suggest more physical card games you can pick up to play with your friends.
I was a beta tester for Sushi Go! on iOS. I’ve seen the game at its buggiest, and now at its most polished state.
Photos courtesy of Lummox Labs
The Bottom Line
Sushi Go! on iOS is everything you want in a digital tabletop game. It’s fun, easy-to-learn, and plays in about ten minutes.