Hide and Seek, a game we have all played it at one time or another and it can either be a childish game of see how long it can take a kid to count to ten whilst their friends all hide in a nearby bush or when it comes to video games, a tense game of stealth and cunning. Black and White Bushido takes the latter to a whole new level and lethal price to be paid for the loser in a new arena brawler out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Black and White Bushido takes some very simply sounding concepts and gameplay mechanics and brings them all together with one very intriguing gimmick. That gimmick is that each of the playable maps are mad up of light and shadow areas that characters from either the Light or the Shadow sides can completely blend in with and become invisible. Sneaky huh?
I was surprised by just how well this rather simply concept actually works, adding a new gameplay twist to what should really be a simple hack n slash jumpy jump title. Black and White Bushido puts the forces of Light against the forces of Shadow with four character types pitted against each other across seven maps, with the seventh locked out to begin with. Players can choose between a classic Samurai, a guy with a big hammer, a female sword wielder and deadly Spear user. Depending on which side you elect to fight for, the fighters will be of that colour, Light represented by White and Shadow by Black.
The maps players do battle on are bathed in shadow and light, with complete areas of the map covered in that colour. This allows players to completely blend in with the area of the map that matches their colour. Though movement will reveal their outline for a brief moment, by standing completely still, the player model will vanish like a chameleon into the background. This will require your opponent to search and hunt you down based on the last position they spotted you, relying on movement to give away where you are. It truly does become a deadly cat and mouse game of hide and seek. What makes it more tense is that it only takes a single strike from your weapon to kill your opponent, reveal yourself too early and it could be the last thing you do…until you respawn of course.
A nice touch comes into play when the areas of light and shadow change throughout the match, forcing players to move into new areas and due to changing without warning, will instantly reveal players if caught in the change. That moment can be rather annoying after going full on Ninja in your hiding skills only to have the entire background change colour forcing you to quickly move to the new shaded areas before your opponent can catch up to you and end your mortal existence with their weapon. The action is fast and frantic but this gameplay twist can be a devilish element to the fighting by forcing the battle to constantly move around the map in order to stay safe and plot a player’s next attack.
The game has both online and offline options with the offline feature three game modes from the classic Deathmatch and Capture the Flag to a challenge mode where the player must complete the objective given by the mode whilst tackling waves of AI bots. Online is limited to only Deathmatch and Capture the flag, and sadly I struggled to really get into the online due to problems finding opponents since the game released last week. It is a real shame that this game was not part of a PS Plus or Games with Gold offer to really give the playerbase a chance to grow from the off. Where I found this game really came alive was through local play between friends. This really is a fun party game for up to four friends, teaming up and putting their Ninja stealth stabby stab skills to the test. With the fast action and full on sneaky bar steward style of fighting, it is perfect for creating perfect piles of salt between even the strongest of friends.
Though the challenge of bots grows thin after a while and staring at large white areas of the map can be a little hard on the eyes after a long session with the game, Black and White Bushido is a fun title best played with friends. It is a shame that the online has yet to really come alive but it is certainly interesting enough to invest some time with especially in local play with a friend.