Black and White Bushido is the amazing 2D arena brawler from developers Good Catch Games. It’s so good that our photographer actually bought a Steam copy minutes after playing it – High praise indeed! So how did the meeting go? well, just like the ninjas we are, we snuck up on on the stand, and from the shadows, we grabbed Ben Powell-Jones (Head of creative at Good Catch) and dragged him off into the night! In reality, we stood around looking rather uncomfortable until he became free to and give us a hands-on of their game.
So What is Bushido all about? At its core, it’s a frantic area brawler that seamlessly blends all-out action with simple stealth tactics, I know what you’re thinking – that’s a strange concept? Well, yes, but it really does work. Based around the concept of melee fighting samurai’s, one side white, one side black, you have to hack and slash your way to victory. But it’s not all just button mashing action, with the background constantly switching from black to white, it’s a hectic battle to stay hidden. Once you appear in the opposite coloured area it’s pretty much all over, as you suddenly become the biggest, most obvious target on the screen.
Playing through the standard deathmatch scenario was a lot of fun, even if I did continually lose to my button bashing friend. With fluid movements and easy to manoeuvre areas, the game has an exciting speed to it that keeps you playing, and although we only played it with 2 players, it’s easy to see how infuriatingly busy it will be with 4 players. Death comes swiftly, especially from the shadows!
The basic controls were easy to pick up, yet surprisingly hard to master as I kept finding out. Yes, bashing buttons do work, but with a little practice, and perhaps a hint of luck, stealth play in this game will play a massive part in deciding the outcome, especially in the capture the flag mode. This is a different beast entirely, holding the flag for as long as possible has a rather nasty passive effect. This effect causes the screen too slowly become more of your teams colour, and less the enemies. More of your colour means more places to hide and as you’ve guessed it, more places to hide means more horrendous bloody death for the opposing team.
During our little hands-on, we asked Ben a few questions about the concept and the changes from the steam launch to the console version. And as with all developers, he was eager to discuss the game with us:
The game works well because of the melee aspects of the characters, was there any plans to include a ranged character?
It was thought about, as were a lot of other ideas in the office, however, the balance of the game just didn’t work. The game works as it is because each character is the same, it’s only a cosmetic change. However, when you look at the characters people make an unconscious decision on who they will play as because of what they think they will be like, for example, you look at the character with the hammer and assume he hits harder as he has a really big hammer or the female and assume shes quick and nimble. Fact is they are identical, it’s just the character costumes that are different. With that in mind, including a ranged character just wouldn’t work because they would, in fact, have different stats to the others. We wanted a 1 hit 1 kill mechanic, and we just couldnt achieve that with a ranged character.
There is now an online mode, how does that work and why has it been included now?
Originally the game was a local only but one of the main questions we got asked was will there be an online mode, so we included it. Local games are a bit of a niche market and we just didn’t realise just how much, especially when coming to console
The game is out for Xbox One, PS4 and Steam, do you have any plans to release on other platforms?
We have done a little bit of investigating into a Switch version, now that doesn’t mean we will or it will happen, but we have looked into just how complicated it would be to port the game to the Nintendo Switch.
The switch is a perfect platform for this genre of game, local party games are what Nintendo does best.
Overall it was a fun game and one that works best with others. Although there is a single player challenge mode, the interest and indeed longevity in Black and White bushido stems from dominating your friends!