Nuggets of awesome is where I try to tell the world that about hidden little awesome things that they don’t usually see. Hidden behind the overly marketed monstrosities are little things that you may or may not know about, but WILL make your day better
It’s called Chop Sushi and it’s a gem/sushi matching puzzler for the iphone. Wait, don’t go away. It’s not awesome because it’s a small little game that is well made and looks purty. It is, and it does, but there’s another reason it is full of win.
Human beings love patterns (so much so that news channels regularly construct narratives out of random things and pretend to BLOW YOUR MIND on a daily basis, but that is way beyond this post), and they love it when a plan comes together, chomp on your cigar, why don’t you? It is very easy to make a charmingly animated little game about matching 3 or more kinds of the same thing on a puzzle board and add some experience/spell things and ape Puzzle Quest and be done with it.
Chop Sushi goes further. You encounter different people with internal demons as you go along, and you must fight those inner demons with different sushi if you are to make them happy. And to make them happy is your goal, for you are the ultimate sushi chef in the world. What’s most interesting is that once defeated, the demons don’t go away; it’s just that the people you spoke with can now live with those demons, bear their burdens. Sushi, and good food, it seems to say isn’t a fight, but very good therapy. To be happy, you don’t have to get rid of your inner demons, you simply have to learn to accept yourself and live with your flaws.
It’s a basic thought which is regretfully rarely found in videogames. Along side the adventure are interludes (cleverly hiding loading of levels) where you, the protagonist Master Chef, swim to different lands, always resting on a rock (the same rock, weirdly enough). Pay attention, and a small blurb explains the changing relationship between the rock and the Master Chef. “Master Chef stood on the rock and they felt a kinship” leads to “Master Chef didn’t notice the rock. Master Chef was the lord of all he saw”. When his ego becomes too big, you must play as the rock and defeat the egotist within Master Chef to show him humility, the final lesson, the game seems to say, that makes a good human being.
Know you’re good, but don’t get too big for your friends. It’s a little blunt, but when was the last time a game was able to convey that in gameplay?
It’s also a pretty good game with interesting new power ups and gameplay twists, and it genuinely looks good. But if you check it out, you will see a small little game that says some very simple things that games rarely do.