To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what Skulls of the Shogun was when I first played it. All I knew is that there’s a cartoony art style reminiscent of Castle Crashers and that’s about it. Five minutes in, I found out it’s a turn-based tactical strategy game in which you play as the almost-Shogun Akamoto and his loyal troops.
The game begins with a cutscene in which Akamoto stands victoriously over a field of deceased enemies. Seconds later, he is stabbed in the back by one remaining soldier. Without really knowing what’s going on, Akamoto is whisked off to the Underworld, a Purgatory of sorts. There he starts a rebellion and decides to fight his way to the “Gates of the Afterlife” along with other undead samurai.
Like I said, this game is turn based which means when I’ve used up all my actions, the turn will be passed on to the enemy team. Unlike, other strategy games, there is no grid here. Rather, each soldier has a white circle surrounding them that marks their boundaries. When your turn starts, you have a certain amount of orders you can give to your troops. Each soldier has one action per turn. Whether this means attacking the opposing team, picking up health, or haunting rice paddies to get points, the action is used up and that character can’t be ordered again until the next round. There is an exception to this, though. Eating fallen enemies’ skulls gives your character health. Eat three skulls and you’ll become a demon, capable of taking two actions per round.
The best part of the game, in my opinion, is the humor. While there’s no actual dialogue, there is a grunting noise made by a character followed by a speech balloon. The game’s so funny because it can go from totally serious, to outright hysterical. As much as I love the humor and originality of the single player, it’s really just a tutorial for the multiplayer. The multiplayer has all the same rules as the campaign, except you can’t fast-forward your enemy’s turn. Even though there’s cross-platform play between the PC, Windows Phone, and Xbox 360, it’s hard to find a match.
Make no mistake. Skulls of the Shogun is worth it all the way. The humor, gameplay, graphics, and sound are all top-notch. I’d recommend this game to absolutely anyone and that’s that.