Web-based casual games are incredibly popular, and that makes complete sense. Here are quick little games that you can play for a few minutes and then turn off when the boss comes by to check up on you. They are also quite addictive, and a well made little game can easily turn into something you want to spend a whole lot more time with. Why not then take the concept behind one of these games, expand it, and sell it as a cartridge/disc for a home or portable gaming system?
In point of fact, that's exactly what SouthPeaks's Sushi Go-Round is. Currently available for both the Nintendo Wii and the DS, the game is a larger version of Miniclip's Sushi Go-Round web game. Whereas the web game had eight recipes, one restaurant, six levels, the Wii version contains 10 recipes, five restaurants, and 40 levels. There are differences beyond that as well, but perhaps before discussing them we should take a step back and talk about what the game is for those uninitiated.
Sushi Go-Round features you, the player, as a young man trying to impress a girl, a girl who likes sushi. Armed with that knowledge what can you possibly do but open a sushi restaurant (anything to impress a girl, right)? That information is all imparted in the opening, after which the game proper opens. As it is essentially just an expanded version of a flash game, the idea itself is pretty simple – people sit down at your sushi bar, you hand them a menu, they order, and you make what they want. This is all accomplished with click little point-and-click moves. There is a recipe book which tells you how to make the 10 possible sushi orders that customers request, and you simply click on the appropriate items which moves them to the sushi mat. Once all the ingredients are on the mat, a flick of the Wii remote moves them to the conveyor belt so that they can travel to the customer. Easy, right?
At first, it is, but eventually not so much. The fact that there are only 10 possible dishes to order makes it pretty simple to memorize the recipes – truly an essential thing to do if you are to succeed – means that multiple people will often order the same dish. Much of your success in the game is based upon customer's happiness and that is dependent upon your getting food to them quickly. However, all the food travels down the same conveyor belt from left to right, so if the person all the way to the right of the screen orders something and two people to the left of the screen order the same thing, the people on the left snag the food before the guy on the right ever gets it. Naturally, the customer on the right becomes upset, and while it would make sense for them to get angry at the other customers, that isn't what happens. No, it's your fault that other customers have snagged their food, and you have no choice but to ply the customer with sake, which doesn't work long-term.
That's a frustrating limitation – almost as frustrating as the fact that once you add an ingredient to your sushi mat you can't remove it. Mistakenly click the rice twice instead of once a complicated order and the dish is ruined, not only that but you still have to send it to the conveyor belt and watch your disaster as it passes in front of all your customers uneaten.
The game is made more complicated than just serving up dishes with the addition of other elements. Your restaurant will run out of ingredients and you'll have to order them – don't plan far enough in advance with your ordering and you'll be forced to pay extra for rush delivery, a massive cost increase early on in the game. There are also bosses that you'll have to keep happy in order to keep progressing. All in all, there's a lot going on in the game, a lot more than the web version of the title, which makes it really good that you can save your game and come back later.
What you are not going to find here in Sushi Go-Round are outstanding graphics or excellent sound, in fact, the music can become downright annoying after a very short amount of time. There are however some modes beyond the basic story mode, including allowing you to challenge a friend, time attack, and then some which slightly modify gameplay by doing things like keeping the day running forever or not letting you serve certain dishes.
If you have played any of the web iterations of games in the genre and enjoy them but hunger for something slightly deeper, Sushi Go-Round for the Wii might just be the ticket. It's not free, as many web-based games are, but it's not a full-priced title either.
Sushi Go-Round is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Alcohol Reference. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS.