the code of honour and morals developed by the Japanese samurai.
With the obvious ‘what does Bushido even mean?’ out of the way, this Black and White Switch eShop entry can be seen as a considerably more simplistic samurai-based alternative to Super Smash Bros.
There’s no signature moves at play here; no falling off the side of the stage, and certainly no Final Smashes. No, as you’d expect from a game where you play as one of an assortment of ninjas, the killing is done in the blink of an eye – a one-hit KO every time. With a deathmatch allowing up to four players, CPUs, an amendable points-to-win count and 2D screens with hovering platforms on which to do battle, it does all sound very Smash Bros, but there’s a crucial element which has this game stand on its own pedestal – the black and white.
That’s because you can choose whether your character represents the light or the dark before entering battle, and then its colour will be set accordingly to either white or black respectively. That colour will allow you to blend into the matching areas of the battlefield, which morphs between colours and alters its terrain throughout a match.
As a result, this is a game which mixes old-fashioned brawling with blending-in tactics for stealthy kills. The white character is illuminated on the black backgrounds, and vice-versa, so being on the defensive means sticking to your own colour as much as you can, then trying to catch your opponent unawares if they get too close.
There’s a lot of buttons on the instruction screen for what is quite a simplistic brawler. The key things to know are that the B button is for jumping, Y is for launching an attack and A uses items, while X captures flags when you’re playing that mode, which is the only alternative to the simple deathmatch. There’s also a taunt button which costs you your ability to blend to the background, so it’s not one for the tactically-astute players.
Some of the weapons are pretty clever, with the one which lets you drop spikes on the floor particularly ingenious as when an opponent walks over them, they’ll be cut and spurt blood from their legs, acting to nullify their camouflage as they try to blend in with matching backgrounds and making them easy to spot. Other weapons include an apparition, which you’ll have to lay down in one spot before activating again somewhere else for a quick warp either to get out of trouble or to launch an unsuspected attack. Then there’s the throwing stars, particularly handy for thrusting in the direction of enemies and not requiring you to leave the sanctity of your own colour background in the meantime.
So, this is decent fun as a cheap alternative to Smash Bros if you have some friends with you. But that’s only the case for a short time. With just two gameplay modes – deathmatch and capture the flag – this is very light on content, and as such quickly runs out of things to offer. The black and white mechanic is clever, for sure, but that’s really Black and White Bushido’s only unique selling point, and it’s not quite enough to justify hours of playtime. You’ll likely spend around an hour brawling with friends here, and then be unlikely to return again for a long time.
Black and White Bushido £9.99
Black and White Bushido has a clever USP but lacks the depth that would keep players coming back. It’s not going to hold your attention for too long.