Sushi Ben

Review: Sushi Ben

Sushi Ben, the new VR title that recently launched on PS VR2, and Meta Quest last year, uses virtual reality in some really clever ways. From manga panels that pop out during cutscenes to gameplay that uses the medium well, Sushi Ben is endlessly charming and fun. While the ending of the game does leave you craving for more, it’s a fun ride that had me smiling during the entire adventure.

Sunny Seaside Adventures With Sushi Ben

Sushi Ben starts with your character arriving at the seaside town of Kotobuki Town. You’re quickly caught up in the battle between a local sushi shop and the land sharks that are out to bulldoze the entire town, hoping to turn the town into a resort. Ben, the young man running the shop, refuses to give in to them to hold on to the legacy his father and his teacher started, who has mysteriously disappeared. What follows is a quest to restore the shop’s supply lines, bring more guests to make it more popular, and drive the land sharks out of town.

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The narrative in Sushi Ben isn’t entirely new, but it is told well, mainly supported by the colourful cast of characters calling Kotobuki Town home. From the masculine-looking rice field farmer Gen, who not so secretly adores cute animals and is entirely supportive, to the stoic shrine keeper Ryourin, each townsperson is charming, fun to get to know, and needs some help. The voice cast is stellar, with each performance adding depth and dimension to their respective character. The meal that follows after completing their quests is a nice way to cap off the day, sharing some delicious-looking sushi over some light conversation. The land sharks and main antagonists remind me a lot of the Pokémon’s Team Rocket, bumbling and ridiculous, but you can’t bring yourself to hate them because of the performances and writing.

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The townspeople are also the primary sources of adventure, with each having a similar gameplay loop of needing assistance to end with a meal together at the sushi shop. Aided by the ever-dependable and adorable Hyakumaru, a floating frog spirit who can take the form of the tool needed. The activities are simple but engaging, from fishing to bug catching to taking photos around town. The variety of activities is excellent, with the ping-pong battles being some of my favourites. Some, like using a hammer and chisel to sculpt, were not used enough, given how interesting they are. The fishing is also great, as each character has different likes and preferences regarding the sushi they like. After completing the story, you can return to some of these activities for more fun and games.

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Manga Popout Power

The pop-out panels that introduce the characters adding flashbacks or more expression, are some of my favourite things about Sushi Ben. It makes you feel like you’re playing an interactive manga or living through an episode of a cozy anime. They animate and add a lot to each cut scene, which is usually just characters talking, but because of the added panels, each feels full of character and life. The entire art style is excellent, reminiscent of Mega Man Legends, feeling retro and brand new. Kotobuki Town is gorgeous and fun to adventure in, with beautiful views as the sun sets.

Sushi Ben took me about 5 hours to complete the narrative, with more chill vibes available afterward. It’s also a fun and easy platinum without any missable trophies. My biggest issue with Sushi Ben is that it ends on a big cliffhanger, with unresolved plot threads and promises of more. It feels like chapter one of a story rather than a complete narrative, leaving a want for more by its end due to the unresolved core conflict. It also runs incredibly well on PS VR2 with no technical issues whatsoever.

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Verdict

Sushi Ben is an enjoyable, charming, and beautiful experience. The minigames are engaging, the manga panels feel right in your face, and the voice work and art style are all incredibly well done, and it kept a smile plastered to my face throughout its entire run time. I hope we get more soon because the unfinished story left me craving more.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PS VR2

Sushi Ben
Review: Sushi Ben
Summary
Sushi Ben is an incredibly charming VR adventure, with fun mini games, fantastic characters, and an awesome art style. While the narrative is fun, it does feel unresolved by game's ending.
Liked
Awesome art style
Memorable characters
Fun mini games
Didn't Like
Narrative feels unresolved
8