Do you love cats? Sushi? Computer games? Adorable animation? Chances are that you like at least one of these things; Sushi Cat and its three sequels from Armor Games will indulge your desire for all four. The game features a round, blue, sushi-loving cat who can only succeed in his quests for love and happiness by gaining weight. He does this by eating as much sushi as possible through a series of pinball games. Most of the sushi simply count toward achieving a full belly, but some pieces provide special abilities or other bonuses, such as an extra turn for the level or soy sauce bombs that allow you to collect all the sushi within the explosion’s reach.
Despite the game’s simplicity (the game requires only the ability to click your mouse strategically), I’ve played it on and off for a year now and still enjoy the experience. While I enjoy some hacking and slashing and shooting, sometimes it’s nice to let a game just make you happy. There’s plenty of opportunity for improvement in the game, as there is a certain amount of strategy involved and a lot of sushi to eat, but it’s easy enough to play if you are just looking for a relaxing way to pass the time.
Up until recently, I thought there were only three Sushi Cats: Sushi Cat, Sushi Cat 2, and Sushi Cat: The Honeymoon. Then I discovered Sushi Cat 2: The Great Purrade, which is less polished in terms of graphics and mechanics than the other games but almost makes up for it with added weirdness (the Nyan cat sushi gulp, for example). There’s no need to play the games in order, as they all function perfectly well as stand-alones, but I would recommend playing The Great Purrade after one of the others, as it doesn’t show the beloved furball at his best. The most sophisticated versions would probably be Sushi Cat 2 and Sushi Cat: The Honeymoon.
The game isn’t perfect. Glitches related to excessive feline chubbiness can result in an endlessly-bouncing cat on some levels (in which case restarting the level is the only solution), and regardless of your pinball skills, the unpredictability of Sushi Cat’s bouncing often makes collecting ALL the sushi nigh-on impossible (a problem for the obsessive-compulsive among us, myself included). That said, the game makes up for these flaws with a delicious premise and bizarrely cute costumes for your character if you eat enough golden sushi. The game also isn’t trying to push a lot of barriers—Sushi Cat’s wife is pink, and arguments could be made about cultural appropriation (particularly with some of Sushi Cat’s costumes, cute as they are). The makers of the game seem to have only positive intentions, however, and there is something to be said for such a food-positive and plump-positive game. Fatness is Sushi Cat’s superpower.
Sushi Cat is appropriate for all ages and arguably fun for all ages as well. Those who like their games to always include blood and guts may find Sushi Cat’s mostly pastel palette and relentless cuteness boring, but others may find themselves fixated on getting that last piece of sushi in the corner behind a Japanese lantern or bicycle wheel. All four games consistently receive high ratings from players, and I still smile back at the Sushi-meter when its sad, hungry face perks up upon achieving a full belly.
Four rotund kitties out of 5.