Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition Gameplay Review

I'm playing Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition, a turn-based strategy game by 17-BIT.

The game features a humorous story-driven campaign with scripted encounters; you can also challenge humans on the same computer, online in real-time, or using an asynchronous server. You are allowed to issue orders to five units per turn (move and attack) on free-form (no hexes) maps. After you select a unit, a clear movement radius circle is displayed; units that do not move fully before attacking can use remaining movement points to retreat. The user interface is done well, with easy next unit access and flags that show remaining hit points. There are three different unit types with varied attributes: infantry, cavalry, and archers. Shrines can abe haunted to summon monks (or additional units), and their spells use rice collected from captured paddies. The skulls of defeated enemy units can be eaten to heal, and eating three skulls gives an extra action. Adjacent unit will block enemy movement, and units can be knocked back over ledges into chasms. The AI plays the game well enough to provide a challenge, especially if they are given more units to use. Matches (especially skirmish and online) feature too many units for only five moves per side, making it far too easy to exploit enemy weaknesses; games would have been much more tactically interesting with fewer initial units. Still, Skulls of the Shogun is a fine simplified introduction into the world of turn-based strategy games, offering clear mechanics in a memorable setting.