It doesn’t matter if you’re…
Game: Black and White Bushido
Developer: Good Catch Games
Publisher: Green Man Gaming Publishing, Good Catch Games
Reviewed on: PS4 (Review Code Provided)
Couch multiplayer is a thing that seems to be making a comeback; from the popularity of mainstream titles like Smash Bros and Mario Kart to the more niche offerings such as Gang Beasts or Niddhogg, it’s always been the perfect way to lose friends over videogames. Developer Good Catch Games have entered into the fray bringing their 2015 PC release Black and White Bushido to PS4 and XBox One, delivering the goods with mixed results.
Black and White Bushido is a fairly straightforward concept. Playing out like a stripped-back Smash Bros, up to four players are dropped into a single screen arena with a number of platforms. The players control one of a number of avatars influenced by Japanese warriors, from Samurai to Ninjas to Monks, and have to use their katana’s to slice and dice the opposition either for a set number of kills or until the time runs out; there’s also a capture the flag mode for greater teamplay. In addition to the basic weapon there are also a number of items that can spawn into the arena to spice things up a bit; shuriken will give you a projectile, smoke bombs will allow you short range teleport while caltrops can be dropped on the floor to deal some minor damage.
Where the game gets really interesting is how it factors in the “black and white” element (no, not a Michael Jackson cameo…). Visually, Black and White Bushido is quite a striking game. The graphics do exactly what they say on the tin and are presented in a black and white faux ink drawn style. While selecting their avatar, players also choose whether they want to play on the Dark or Light team and that dictates the colour of their character in the game. Each arena then has a lighting system that casts a mixture of shadow and light, black or white; while stationary or moving slowly in an area that matches their characters colour, players become hidden, blending in with the scenery and allowing them to sneak up on their enemy to deal a killing blow. The catch is that this light is constantly shifting so there is a risk and reward mechanic in play here that lingering in hiding for too long could be your undoing. Interestingly there is a third tone in the game’s palette; red. Red is obviously the characters blood and is liberally splashed around when players are killed. However, the aforementioned caltrops play with this; stepping on caltrops will cause bleeding which will give away your position should you be hiding in shadows, as will dropping from a ledge, with the noise represented by a flash under your characters feet. The hiding mechanic is smartly executed and can lead to some tense combat.
That, however, is pretty much all there is to Black and White Bushido. There is an online mode however there were never any servers available during our review playthrough to test how well that holds up, as well as a single player challenge mode which tasks you with holding out against some pretty weak AI opponents while performing different goals. We did have some cracking local multiplayer, however, and found that the game is well suited to having your mates round and consuming your favourite snacks and beverages while lopping each other in half. At an affordable £7.99 price point, it’s certainly worth adding to your collection if you regularly game with your mates.
Black and White Bushido is an interesting arena brawler with a smart colour mechanic to add some tactics to its action. It’s not, however, worth a single player experience with poor AI and shallow challenges, but as a multiplayer game it brings a ton of fun that just might help you lose some friends along the way.