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Chop Sushi!

For: Mobile   Also on: iPhone

The chef's special

Product: Chop Sushi | Developer: Universomo | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 451KB | Version: Europe
Chop Sushi Mobile, thumbnail 1
The one and only time I've indulged in Japanese cuisine was when a friend took me to a rather dodgy all-you-can-eat establishment. He spent the rest of the evening yacking over a toilet bowl. Since then, I've never felt compelled to rekindle my relationship with sushi.

Until now.

Luckily, Chop Sushi! isn't the kind of prospect to make you sick, but it might tickle your funny bone. This is an unapologetically zany take on Japanese culture, dressing up an addictive puzzler in some of the most bizarrely astounding clothes you'll ever come across. No game you'll ever play will have a nuttier plot than this.

While the game's protagonist is a chef searching for recipes fit enough to chase away everyone's personal demons (quite curiously, you'll find yourself dealing with folk who've had affairs, betrayed their friends, or simply don't think their igloo is big enough), in terms of play, Chop Sushi! is all about matching up groups of three or more sushi pieces on a 7x7 grid.

Each of these grids come packed with four different kinds of sushi, some bright green wasabi, and various other bites for you to sample, all of which rely on you matching them up in groups of three or more.

Taking turns against said demons, you use a pair of chopsticks to manipulate the board, picking up the pieces and moving them to the edge of a row or column - and that's only if it results, either directly or indirectly, in a match-up.

Every time you move a piece, of course, those next in line shuffle along to fill up the space, meaning it's possible to match up one, two or three groups in one go. But while this kind of match-three play might seem more than a little familiar to puzzle fans, chase away those yawns, because Chop Sushi! is so beautifully paced and structured that any sense of deja vu is rapidly erased.

Instead of scoring points, it’s your job to whittle down your opponent's starting total before he hacks away at your own. Matching up the green wasabi is, initially, the only way to eat into your rival's score, but following 'recipes' - set groups of sushi pieces the game sets you to clear - in the tougher battles can really tilt the balance of play in your favour, halving your foe's score or giving you an extra go or two.

These recipes are counteracted by 'traps', activated in exactly the same way, but penalising rather than rewarding the player.

It's this yin-yang feeling running in the background that piles the pressure on every move you make. Piecing together a few wasabi might knock your rival's score down a couple of hundred, but would it be better to play the long game and take that demon out in one swoop by dropping a recipe on them?

Of course, the fact that this isn't a solo affair means you can't afford to merely focus on your own strategies - those demons have plans of their own. But even when you fall flat on your face, the desire to have just one more crack at expelling that demon makes Chop Sushi! the kind of match-three puzzler that lingers on the palate.

Dropping this epic match of minds into such a wacky world sets up a series of harmonious contradictions. Chop Sushi! manages to be bright, bold and full of character, yet also tight and tenacious.

Even if you've had your fair share of match-three puzzlers over the years, this is one tasty treat it's worth making room for.
Chop Sushi!
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 26 March 2009
Utterly gorgeous and so addictive it should be illegal. Chop Sushi! has very little to do with Japanese cuisine, but is instead a subtle twist on the average shape-matching puzzler, adding step after step to build to a scintillatingly hectic climax
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