Real Talk By: KJ
Finally one of our highly anticipated indie games has arrived. Skulls of The Shogun is a Strategy game developed by 17 Bit (formerly Haunted Castle Studios), it’s available on Xbox 360 and other various Microsoft platforms. This is the first MS game to feature cross play among 360, Windows Phone, Surface, and Windows 8. Play against your buddies anywhere. They make a move at Home, then take yours at lunch. Players who wish to save their game on the 360 and continue it on the road, will need to re-purchase the game, on each system.
Akamoto was the greatest warrior in the world of the living. He was slain in battle by a sneak attack, and awakens in the underworld. He becomes the leader of his own undead army. Since Akamoto is the General, he is the strongest warrior on the field. He will eventually gain more attacks, thus having more opportunities than any other soldiers at the beginning of battle. You can keep him asleep though. Try not to awaken the general until you really need him. Every round you avoid it, he gains more and more HP. If the general dies, its game over. Other members include: Infantry, Cavalry, Monks, and Archers. Players are allowed five turns in a round, so you really have to be careful how you play.
Movement takes place within a circle. Some characters have more space to move around such as the Cavalry units. While they lack the brute strength of the infantry, their mobility brings much value to a fight. Archers, as expected cannot receive a lot of damage from the opposition, but can really dish it out with their arrows. Monks are earned by making your army haunt statues. Haunting statues leaves that particular character open for an attack, so knowing when to do it is part of the challenge. Its most certainly worth the risk. There’s different monks, some can heal others, shoot long-range attacks, or even send characters off a cliff.
Anyone can get ‘Knocked Back’. You could have one character left on your side, against an opponent with a full deck. If you’re able to push the General into the water (worms style) or off the edge, it’s game over. Other strategies allow players to hide their soldiers in bamboo trees, making it harder to be attacked. When you slay an enemy, their skull will hit the floor. Eat that skull! Doing so not only makes an awesome munching sound effect, but it will give you more health. Eat three skulls with any character, they will turn into a demon, and have the ability to attack a second time. Monks who eat skulls with earn even more special abilities.
The Game constantly autosaves, its great when making a mistake to go back. The computer will make you pay as the story progresses. The campaign (Mistakes included) will take most players 6 hours to complete. Its filled with funny text dialogue and sounds. “I Got money! I can make it rain Rice and Potions!” Its little things that make it worth the dough. The whole presentation is refreshing. Sharp 2D, and Superb battlefields. Some of which contain more hazards than others, understanding the landscape is the main thing players will need to remember.
Skulls of the Shogun is right in the middle of casual, and complex. It’s good for fans of Advance Wars, Worms, and folks who want a more hands on approach to their strategy games. Multiplayer is fun, and you feel like a victory was well-earned. Great playing with people on your friends list, or the couch. Its worth the 15 dollars, and a great addition to the XBLA roster.
Skulls of The Shogun Gets
4.5 Out of Five
+Nice art direction
-Gamers must buy the game several times to play ‘Skulls Anywhere.’
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