I recall the first time that I discovered Skulls of the Shogun. The developers (17-Bit) were being interviewed about their new project which was soon to be released on Xbox Live Arcade. I can recall seeing the cartoon like artwork and fluid movement of the characters as they took turns to out maneuver their enemies. Unfortunately, Skulls of the Shogun had dropped off my radar until earlier this year when it came up in my Steam Discovery Queue.
Skulls of the Shogun is set during the feudal period of Japanese history and stars the fictional General Akamoto. Upon arriving on the boat of the dead, he quickly discovers that he must wait entire centuries to be judged as a true Samurai. In addition to this insult, he uncovers the fact that someone else has been impersonating him. This impostor has claimed General Akamoto’s rightful position serving as the right hand for the Shogun of the Dead.
The gameplay in Skulls of the Shogun is fairly simple. This game is a turn-based strategy game that borrows heavily from Intelligent Systems’ Advanced Wars Series. You first begin building your army a few units at a time as you progress through the story. Each unit under your control has its strengths and weaknesses when battling different opposing unit types. It is with strategic positioning of units using their limited movement and actions each turn where you see the most success. Your units can consume the skulls of fallen enemies to add additional hit points and eventually transform themselves into Demons. These Demons are a super powered version of the unit that they started out as. In addition, a Demon possesses the added ability to take an extra action each round.
The samurai outfits and architecture that they replicated works perfectly for the period.
The Skulls of the Shogun is full of well-done art. The artists involved with this project had a vsingle style in mind. This unique art style is a cartoon version of Ukiyo-e; which was a popular art style in Japan from the 1600s to the late 1800s. The samurai outfits and architecture that they replicated works perfectly for the period. Unremarkably, the music has a distinctly Asian feel to it, however, it is not anything that grabs me personally.
In summary, Skulls of the Shogun is a good game. I really enjoyed my time with General Akamoto, his soldiers, and monks. If you enjoy turn-based strategy games and would like to try something different, I would recommend this game. You can pick up Skulls of the Shogun on Steam for $9.99. It performed very well at 1080p on my Dell XPS 13 laptop running Linux. This laptop has an i5-5300U processor with an Intel HD 5500 graphics card which is by no means a gaming GPU.