Black and White Bushido impressions
I think Black & White Bushido must have slipped me by. The local multiplayer title snuck onto the scene towards the tail end of last year, and while I’d seen it at a few events, Razzed was the first time I got a chance to play it.
It’s something special, though, and in just a few short rounds it quickly established itself as my game of the, admittedly weaker than usual, Rezzed event.
Black and White Bushido is an arena brawler. There are two teams of samurai, one comprised of light, another of shadow. There are a variety of game objectives, but ultimately it comes down to just one thing: murder the other team.
This team based murder comes in both 1 v 1 and 2 v 2 flavours, and to accomplish your murderous aim you have a katana and a handful of ninja gadgets - caltrops, throwing stars and smoke bombs. At first glance it’s reminiscent of Towerfall, the beloved indie brawler, but in practice it’s actually a game all of its own, the sword duels originally appearing simple as you and your enemy thrust at each other, amateurishly.
Soon, you’ll start to learn how to bounce off the walls and to deflect the opponents sword with your own. The duels get more complicated.
This complexity is the heart of the game, and it’s incredibly rewarding. There’s a chaos to the fights, but giving in to it gets you killed. The first time you face off against a pair of samurai and kill the both of them untouched is a pivotal moment, and suddenly you’ll be totally invested in the game.
It looks wonderful too, the light and shadow on the screen matches the team colours, and the slower you move, the more you’ll blend into the background - if you’re on a matching colour. Stand completely still and you’ll be invisible, making you immobile, but also putting you in a perfect position to ambush an unwary opponent.
Throughout the battle, a kill in a certain location might change it the lighting, exposing your perfect hiding spot by lighting up the entire area. The balance of power flows with the lighting; fighting in your own colour means your opponent can’t hide, while you can immediately vanish if the fight starts to turn against you.
The fights are so brutal, so immediately violent, that the colour behind you doesn’t determine the victor, it’s just a series of advantages.
I didn’t realise this at the time, but the game is by GroundShatter, the maker’s of another local multiplayer brawler, Skyscrappers. Groundshatter have form here, and Black and White Bushido seems to be keeping with their tradition.
It’s a fascinating game, and the fact you can get your hands on it now is a major boon. If you’ve got people nearby to play this with you, give it a blast, and then let us know what you think.