Imagine, you are a rising warlord in Japan, you are slowly becoming more powerful and spreading your power across the land. Then on your final battle, you are killed, and your dream is lost. Thankfully though there is an afterlife, unfortunately, the average waiting time is around 920years. But it’s Ok, General Akamoto, AKA you, in all his dead and skeleton glory, is not having any of this, you are a glorious warlord, who was almost the Shogun, you will take over the afterlife, and become the glorious General Akamoto who rules that too. As crazy as this sounds, Skulls of The Shogun Bone-a-Fide Edition pulls this story off fantastic, with great writing and some fantastic gameplay.
Weirdly, this is the first time, and probably last time I will say this, I first played Skulls of the Shogun on my Windows 7 phone device, and it was a great game, a little pricey for a mobile game, but the demo was fun. So for those of you on Window phones, this is probably your killer app at the moment with your lack of apps there. For the rest of you who are getting the Bone-a-Fide Edition, you are getting a lot of new content, including a new mini-campaign, multiplayer maps, and a new character. There are other small additions such as achievements, developer commentary as well, but the list is an impressively large amount that has been added.
What is even better is this little strategy game was inspired by Advance Wars, and you can tell, with the system in play here. You start each of your battles with 3-4 units and 1 commander unit, General Akamoto himself, the goal is simple, to destroy the other team and slowly take over the whole afterlife. As you go through the first few matches you gain followers who pledge there sword to fight. But if you let General get defeated its game over.
Though for those of you who are fans of advance wars there are differences, instead of a grid-based system for example, you will find each unit has a movement range displayed by a circle, and you can n then move your character freely around, plus there are not as many different types of units either unfortunately.
You have four different unit type, the infantry, with a superior defense and the ability to knock back enemies, but have a limited movement range, the cavalry, who are average in attack and defence but have the largest movement range, and finally archers with a long attack range to snipe some undead samurai down. Its a shame to only see three units, there could have been a few more added, would have been good to see spear men maybe who have a bonus against horses, or a shielded unit with a range defense bonus, that could protect other units.
But don’t worry! You can summon more units to fight alongside you, all you have to do is have one of your units haunt a rice paddy (Racial stereotypes ho! ) and then summon a lost soul at an altar. This works pretty well, but be careful it will make your unit vulnerable for one turn as they turn slightly slack-jawed and haunt. Though you won’t be able to just spam units out and dominate the map in that way, some strategy will be needed and taking advantage of your surroundings, Hiding in bushes will lower the chances of being hit, keeping archers hidden is a great way of finishing off approaching enemies. Of course, there is a trick up your sleeve, once you defeat an opponent they will drop there skull, eat three and you become a version of death reincarnate, and also you get extra health, damage and can make two moves instead of one per tern. Allow this to happen to general Akamoto, and you will be destroying your way through a map in no time, plus he looks pretty kick ass whilst doing it.
The gameplay is pretty solid all in all, but what helps this game as well as the great art style, very cartoony but looks great on sharp screens, it looked great on PC and it still looks great on Nintendo Switch, plus little details that the artists have put into the game just set the scene for each level. Honestly, I really enjoyed each of the levels in this game, just for the art style.
Story-wise, I don’t want to go into too much just because it really is an enjoyable story, it’s not groundbreaking or going to make movie spin-off (But if it did god damn it would be awesome). It is one of those stories that just makes you chuckle and appreciate the good writing that went into the game. The game plays amazing on the Nintendo Switch, both Docked and handheld, with no issues that I could find, a well good port.
Skulls of the Shogun is a great little indie game, it is not a massively taxing strategy game but it is highly entertaining regardless, with a charming art style and a fun story this game is one that should be enjoyed as a game more relaxing than others.
If you want a break down of what you get with the Bone-A-Fide Edition I got you covered as well
- A New Mini-Campaign – The Forgotten Isles: A mysterious stranger washes up on the shores of these mystic isles, searching for Akamoto and willing to fight to reach him, if necessary.
- 4 new levels to challenge even die-hard skull-munchers, from the rocky beaches to the fiery volcano of the Forgotten Isles.
- New progression: Your troops carry over in each level of the Forgotten Isles, demanding a long-term strategy new to the Skulls of the Shogun formula.
- Six New Multiplayer Maps: There are 3 two-player maps, 1 three-player map, and 2 four-player maps, all based in the Forgotten Isles. In total there are 36 multiplayer maps included with Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition.
- A Brand-new Monk Character “ The Tanuki: Kicked out of the frozen mountains, the Tanuki brings his boisterous.bells to multiplayer. He’s a master of deceit, and his spells focus on shifting the battlefield around and disrupting enemies plans in the most mischievous way possible.
- Developer Commentary: Go behind the scenes with developer commentary for every single-player level in the game, including The Forgotten Isles.
- New Achievements: seven new achievements are added to Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition.
- New Leaderboards for every level in the single-player campaign, including detailed stats.
- Steam Trading Cards: Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition implements Steam trading cards, so you will earn cards, badges, and emoticons for your Steam profile just by playing.
- New theme song: Underground chiptune DJ, Mega Ran raps over the Skulls intro.
- Earn experience: every battle you fight earns experience to increase your samurai rank. Go from Knock-Kneed-Nobody to Lord O Bones!
- Earn emblems: winning fights earns the player emblems!
- There are 66 emblems available to earn to customize the player’s profile in both single player and multiplayer games. Emblems include the cast of characters as well as emoticons of Skulls of the Shogun spokesman Skully and signature props used to create the world of Skulls of the Shogun.
- Emblems are earned for: winning a game, completing a game, and first win of the day! The player can pick up to three emblems to show off next to their name.
- Emblems can be fused (removing unwanted emblems) to roll for rare emblems
- Duplicate emblems can be forged (combining duplicates) to craft higher-ranking emblems. Emblems begin at Normal and rank up to Bronze, Silver, and Gold.