When navigating in the digital selves of the XBLA we rarely notice a strategy title worth of our attention. Indie devs 17Bit wanted to change that working for more than 3 years in developing Skulls of the Shogun, a mix of sorcery and strategy where players meet and join forces with vibrant ghost-samurai warriors, magical animal-monks, and samurai generals on the way to capture the Skulls of the Shogun.

What sets apart the game from the competition is that this is one of the first Windows 8 games to feature asynchronous gaming between consoles, smartphones, tablets and Pcs. “After three and a half years, Skulls of the Shogun is finally ready to be released,” said 17-BIT Founder and CEO, Jake Kazdal when the game launched on January 30th. “We’re ecstatic we could bring Skulls to all four of Microsoft’s platforms, and bring them all together with cross-platform functionality. We appreciate the excitement and patience by all the Skulls of the Shogun fans, and we here at 17-BIT believe the wait will be well worth it.”

17Bit has stated that the biggest influence of Skulls of the Shogun came from Intelligent Systems ‘ Advance Wars, one of the best Turn-based tactics games of all times which has an average score of 92/100 on Metacritic, based on 28 critic reviews, and an average score of 93% on GameRankings, based on 41 critic reviews. The influence can clearly be felt – in the imaginative level scenarios and well-balanced units but Skulls of the Shogun is by no means a clone.

Sound and Vision

The distinctive cell shaded graphics of Skulls of the Shogun have been influenced by anime cartoons of the previous decade. The characters are little warriors with big skull heads, which gives the game a distinctive look while the environments are one of the most colourful and joyful you’ve seen in a game. The light mood the game depicts carries over into the enchanting music that makes you feel as if you’re in a classic kung-fu movie with wind and string instruments flowing along with an uptempo beat. While the voice acting is just a bunch of garbled words, the sound effects do a wonderful job portraying the combat and exaggerated deaths of enemies. What might tire you a bit is that the game’s main musical theme is repeated a lot of times in the game.