Sharpen your swords and grab your Japanese dictionary because we are taking a look at ‘Black & White Bushido’, the first console title from Good Catch. Bushido, which according to a quick google search, means the way of the warrior, is a fast paced PVP focused, 2D platform Brawler with some great ideas thrown into the mix. Think Hide & Seek meets Smash Brothers Melee with an artistic, minimalist aesthetic and a beautiful Japanese setting. With the incredible addition of a light and shadow mechanic, Good Catch has created something truly unique. So grab that coffee, kick back and get ready for our Black and White Bushido review.
One of the things that I most appreciate about Good Catch is that it took a great idea and made it work exceptionally well. One of the unique aspects of ‘Black and White Bushido is that it takes the Smash Brothers formula fo platform arena combat and runs in a new direction. Bushido introduces you to the familiar aspects of an arena brawler such as unique levels, pickups and platforming combat and throws in a light and shadow mechanic that completely changes how the brawler functions.
As mentioned earlier, ‘Bushido’ adds a hide and seek element that really challenges how we typically engage in a brawler. Gone are the health bars and button combo mashing and instead we find a basic one hit, one kill combat system. On the surface, this seemed very simple and almost disappointing until I realized what combat is really all about.
A match sees the White Team and the Shadow Team face off with the characters simply being a silhouette in their team’s shade. Each map is draped in corresponding shades with each changing position regularly throughout the match If played well this can leave players hidden from view. Movement reveals your location but with the option to stealth walk through the map, you can truly become invisible. As one can imagine this greatly changes how you engage in combat. It also makes Bushido more about setting up the kills and executing them well than simply button mashing.
Combat becomes fast and hectic but also strategic and requires forethought to really excel at the game. Throw in some simple pickups (throwing stars, smoke bombs, and traps) and combat becomes a truly great and unique experience. With four players local PVP. my buddies and I spent a lot of time slashing, jumping and shouting at one another as we worked our way to victory.
Like most brawlers, ‘Black and White Bushido’ shines when played with others. It feels like it was built from the ground up with local PVP in mind. In fact, the original PC version currently only supports local PVP with the team planning to add online multiplayer to all platforms when the console version is released. With this in mind, one area that ‘Bushido’ isn’t as strong in is the single player experience. It currently feels more like an afterthought, with bot AI being extremely basic and no difficulty setting to at least crank up the challenge. Good Catch did introduce a mode specific to the single player experience called ‘Challenge Mode’ but with the bot AI in its current state, it feels a little bit lacking both in challenge and variety.
The only other critique I have with the game is that in its current state it seems to be lacking in both maps and modes. With only two modes, CTF and DeathMatch, and only five maps, it gets a bit repetitive after awhile; especially if you’re playing solo. If this is the final state of the game with no plans for content updates I worry about the longevity of the title. If Good Catch can build on this solid foundation with more modes and maps I really feel that this game could have some staying power. The multiplayer experience really is some of the most fun I’ve had in an arena brawler in quite some time. Good Catch set out to build a unique arena brawler and they succeeded.
Final Thoughts on our Black and White Bushido Review
If you’re looking for a unique multiplayer arena brawler ‘Black & White Bushido’ will deliver. It offers a unique enough take on the genre to set itself apart. With its simple controls and minimalist style, it is easy to pick up and enjoy. My only real concern is the lackluster single player (which to be fair really wasn’t their focus) and lack of content for the console release. With a console release date of May 17th and at a 10.00 price tag, You’ll more than likely get your money’s worth if you decide to pick it up.
Note: Our review was completed on the PS4 with a code provided by PR.