Real Time Battle Shogi on Smash Box

At the Hit Box office lately we have been obsessed with a unique game from Japan called Real Time Battle Shogi ("RTBS" for short). It is based off of the classic chess-like board game Shogi, and adds a neat twist: all actions are in real time. This means there's no taking turns and the amount of moves you can make is completely dependent on you... and your controller.



The third best player in the online rankings, Umineko, uses a Smash Box. Above is a tournament performance of his in the first official online tournament. His choice to play Smash Box is not arbitrary, however. He has taken into consideration the needs of the game and how many other controllers interact with it. 


(Judgement of controllers for competitive use in RTBS. "The Strongest: Smash Box.")

Smash Box is determined to be the best controller for Real Time Battle Shogi for a few reasons:

  • Digital Buttons: Due to the sensitive, arcade style buttons, players can press and release directional movement much faster than on a pad or traditional console controller.
  • Diagonals: Being able to get precise diagonal inputs is key for quick movement for a lot of pieces in Shogi. Instead of pressing Up and then Down, or missing the diagonal completely (like can happen on a traditional fight stick), you can simply press Up and Down at the same time since they are separate buttons.
  • WASD: Do to player familiarity with WASD from keyboard gaming, it's considered easier for players in general to convert to a Smash Box for the game compared to the Hit Box, which has the unique position for "Up."
  • Usability: Beyond the direct strengths with RTBS, the Smash Box can be used for many other games on Switch and GameCube/Wii, making the conversion to Smash Box not as limited as traditional fight sticks, since they have tend to have less customization tools and playability in other genres.

Recently, the game has become a certified title with the Japanese Esports Union, and is running competitive events through their RTB Shogi Championship Series. At their first major event, the winner won a Smash Box!

If you are not living in Japan and do not speak Japanese, but want to try RTB Shogi out, here are the steps you have to take:

  • Create a profile on your Switch. Make its location Japan. Use this account to find RTB Shogi in the Nintendo Shop.
  • Purchase a Japanese eShop voucher. You will use its code to purchase the game through the Nintendo Shop on your Switch.
  • Once downloaded, try using a translation app that can translate through the camera in real-time - this will help with tutorials and menu navigation.