Skulls of the Shogun
|Skulls of the Shogun|
Microsoft Studios (Xbox 360, Windows Phone)
Skulls of the Shogun is a turn-based tactics video game developed by 17-BIT. The game is inspired by Advance Wars and features turn-based combat between undead samurai. Skulls of the Shogun was originally planned for a 2012 release on Xbox Live Arcade and Windows 8. Eventually it was released for Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, and Windows Phone on January 30, 2013.
In June 2013, 17-BIT released Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-a-Fide Edition on Steam for Windows XP (SP 3) and up, with 4 new campaign levels, a new character, new multiplayer levels and progression system, and developer's commentary. In May 2014, Skulls of the Shogun was released for OS X and Linux as part of a Humble Bundle. In October 2014, the game was released on Ouya. In June 2015, the game was released on PlayStation 4.
In feudal Japan General Akamoto stands on the verge of becoming Shogun. However, in his moment of triumph he is stabbed and killed by an unknown assailant. Arriving in the land of the dead, Akamoto learns that he must wait centuries before he can be judged worthy to enter the afterlife. Unwilling to wait he rallies other discontent Samurai and makes to enter the afterlife by force. Battling the forces of the Shogun of the Dead, the ruler of the afterlife, he finds that they are taking orders from an impostor claiming to be him. He is shocked to discover it is none other than his lieutenant, Kurokawa, who reveals that it was he who killed Akamoto. Kurokawa, despite dying after Akamoto (having tripped and fallen on a spear) arrived in the after life before him, stealing his identity and the position that had been reserved for him by the Shogun.
Akamoto battles the Shogun's Generals through the four regions of the afterlife, as well as meeting the gods of each region: General Romeoka and the goddess Sakura, whom he is infatuated with, in the land of Eternal Blossoms. The ill-tempered and foul-mouthed Ikkaku and the chaotic Lightning god Raiden in the Land of Summer. And the wise General Higure and Wind God Fujin, in the Land of the Golden Harvest. Unlike the others Higure recognizes Akamoto for who he is and attempts to guide him, warning of a greater danger. Defeating them Akamoto enters Kurokawa's region, the Land of Frozen Fortunes.
Confronting Kurokawa it is revealed that he and the Ice Goddess Yuki plan to usurp the Shogun(the danger Higure warned of), and that Yuki slowed Akamoto's arrival, allowing Kurokawa to arrive and steal his identity. Akamoto defeats them and the Shogun arrives, revealing that he knew of their treachery and had been using them to test Akamoto. Punishing the two the Shogun explains that he intends to make Akamoto his successor challenging him to defeat him and take his place. After his defeat the Shogun passes the title onto Akamoto, revealing the eternity of misery it entails: being hated, plotted against, and enduring countless meetings. The Shogun prepares to happily pass on, but is grabbed by Akamoto. Saying that he'll need help, he eats his skull absorbing his power and becoming the new Shogun.
In the bonus Forbidden Isle levels, the player takes control of an unnamed Samurai. Recently arrived to the land of the dead the Samurai, a lieutenant of Akamoto in life, begins looking for him. Tresspasing on the island the Samurai is forced to fight through the island's guard, led by Kurokawa, whom Akamoto has charged with watching over the region. Defeating Kurokawa the Samurai pushes on to find Akamoto, who has lost his way to the bureaucratic side of the Shogun position. Meeting Akamoto the Samurai reveals himself to actually be his wife Yoko, having entered the Samurai afterlife after leading her late husband's army and becoming a warrior. Akamoto is relieved that she is not a rival out to take his position, however she continues their battle, believing he has grown too relaxed and needs a challenge(as well as punish his entering a relationship with Sakura). The two reconcile mid battle agreeing not to fight any longer.
Reviews for Skulls of the Shogun have been positive, and the Xbox 360 version currently has an 81% Metascore on the aggregated site Metacritic. Rob Kershaw at The Digital Fix gave the game 8/10, praising its accessible but challenging gameplay, whilst also noting that it was occasionally difficult to distinguish between the different units on the battlefield.
- Davison, John (2010-06-29). "Skulls of the Shogun First Look". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- Davies, Martin (2011-01-19). "Skulls of the Shogun Preview". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- McWhertor, Michael (2010-09-20). "Skulls of the Shogun Hands-on: The Art of Advance War". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- "Skulls of the Shogun Cross-Platform Play". YouTube. 2012-12-17.
- Metacritic. 19 August 2013
- The Digital Fix - Skulls of the Shogun Review. 27 February 2013.