skulls-of-the-shogun
Metacritic (PC): 72/100
Metacritic (Xbox): 81/100
Metacritic (iOS): 93/100
Release: Jan 2013
Reviewed on: iOS

Skulls of the Shogun

Site Score
8.0
Good: Lots of unique mechanics – Simple, funny and enjoyable
Bad: Gameplay won’t absorb you
User Score
7.5
(8 votes)
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Skulls of the Shogun is a casual take on the turn based tactic genre with some interesting mechanics to create a simple but very fun adventure both in single player and multiplayer modes.

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Launched across Xbox, Windows and eventually making its way to mobile the game can be enjoyed across all these devices thanks to some of its design decisions supporting the multi-platform experience. The game itself is set in feudal Japan as you help General Akamoto defeat his lieutenant in the afterlife who has stolen his identity and thus claimed his rightful place in the afterlife. It’s a story that very slowly unravels through each level but is more of a backdrop than the main reason to play the game.

What will attract you to the game is the combat and mechanics which capture what the genre is about but modifies and mostly simplifies them. This starts from the ground up with a small number of unit types to call on in battle (infantry, cavalry, archer and 4 unique types of monks). The leader of these units is General Akamoto himself who has great battle prowess but his death will result in defeat.

Each turn players are given 5 moves which must be used between their army to move and attack. Unlike other games that might use a square or hex based map movement in Skulls of the Shogun is much more fluent with no grid present at all, using a movement circle instead. This allows you to move units much more freely and makes the control ideal for PC (WASD or click), Xbox controller and touch devices.

Interesting mechanics don’t stop at movement though in Skulls of Shogun though with haunting, monks, skulls and spirit walls adding to the unique adventure. Haunting is used to generate resources by capturing rice paddocks and then spending them at shrines for the special monk units that bring unique spells to the battlefield.

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Meanwhile skulls allow you to buff your troops by eating the skulls of slain of enemies or they can stand together to create a spirit wall and boost defences. While it seems like there are lots of mechanics at play it never feels overwhelming and provides just enough options for players to consider during each turn.

For the gamer that likes strategy games this stylish and uniquely satisfying tactical game is a delight that you must play.

Summary:

  • A simplified tactical adventure.
  • Fight for your rightful place in the afterlife.
  • Many different mechanics at play in each battle.
  • Play alone or against others through the multiplayer options.
  • Available on a large number of platforms.

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Skulls of the Shogun, 7.5 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

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