Ironically creating cursed energy.

Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash is a third-person-perspective fighting game based on an anime I don’t watch. Just so we’re all on the same page here.

It’s fine.

The characters run at each other inside of the battlefield—which is defined by a light blue shield—centered around scenes from the show. In fact, the story mode of play makes a big deal out of recreating scenes from the series, but in a way that assumes you know who these characters are and are excited about fighting with them, or against them.

For me, it was all kind of a blur as they dramatically introduced “Blizz-blam, Princess of the Seven Keys of Fintoozler” as my next opponent.

The story revolves around a high school student who eats a cursed finger (maybe), and this is bad, but then the one dude who’s supposed to kill him (maybe?) decides that because he’s so good at the punching that they shouldn’t kill him, he should kill monsters. Honestly, I made a lot of use out of the “skip” option when the story part came up. I’m old now, and my interest in games based on shows about teen boys punching things is at its nadir.

The story mode of Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash isn’t hard at all. After finishing the tutorial and moving on to more missions, I completed almost every level I played with an “S” rank, simply by mashing buttons. Early on there are challenges where you have to pull off combos solo or with your AI partner, and these were, well, mostly annoying because I had no idea how to do it. Honestly, this was the hardest part of the game: I’d have defeated the enemy several times, but the level won’t end until you pull off a particular combo/event, which is troublesome because the game doesn’t do a great job of explaining how to to pull them off.

In terms of tone, the game reminds me of the teen kids I see in parking lots with skateboards, swearing to their friends that this time, they’re going to pull the trick off. No, this time.

And of course, it comes with the standard health/mana meter. Oh no, sorry I’ve just been handed a note which reads that it’s not “mana,” it’s “cursed energy,” presumably from this finger he ate? I think?

Oh right, playing with partners. I gather this is part of the show, because when you finally manage to pull it off, it’s pretty cool. There’s also a Fire Emblem-esque metric where, if characters fight together, they can increase their relationship/trust levels. You can also unlock and purchase (using an in-game currency you earn by fighting) new outfits, poses, and weapons.

And if you’re a person who enjoys this show/game and knows other people who do, you can fight in multiplayer battles.

Look, I watch anime, I know that this show is popular. Hell, they made a game out of it and it got ported to America. I have no doubt that there are a lot of people who are very excited to play a fighting game set in this world.

But if you’re not, there’s very little to recommend. It’s not a Street Fighter where the insanity of the characters is part of the charm. (A Hollywood Star fighting a four-armed demon? That’s just going to attract my interest.) All of these characters dress in black school uniforms, and the monsters they fight are just kinda gray blobs. I’m sure the reason they need to fight these blobs is explained in the interstitial scenes, but those go on and on (probably to please the fans). Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered to sit for a slideshow recounting the plot of a show that the game assumes I’ve already seen and am invested in.

So, in summary, Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash is based on a very popular show about a guy who eats a finger and then beats people up. If you’re a fan of this show, you’ll probably like this game. For everyone else, it’s fine.