Joystiq says "...we found Skulls of the Shogun to be an absolutely enjoyable experience – so much so that we gave it a perfect score." It's fast-paced turn-based strategy inspired by Advance Wars, and supercharged with fighting-game flare!
User reviews: Very Positive (267 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 29, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"A stylish turn-based strategy game with some interesting mechanics. Certainly different enough to be worthy of a try."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

"Fast, compact and yet consistently thoughtful, there's nothing else quite like Skulls of the Shogun - and, for me, it earns its place amongst the genre's greats. "
9/10 – Eurogamer

"Skulls of the Shogun encapsulates whatever essence puts Castle Crashers at the top of the XBLA charts year after year, and does so without infringing on that game's intellectual property or overall vibe."
5/5 – Joystiq

"Equal parts quirky and complex, it only comes to prove that the glory days of this often forgotten genre aren’t quite gone."
8.6/10 – Gametrailers

Steam Big Picture

About This Game

Joystiq says "...we found Skulls of the Shogun to be an absolutely enjoyable experience – so much so that we gave it a perfect score." It's fast-paced turn-based strategy inspired by Advance Wars, and supercharged with fighting-game flare! Enter the Samurai Afterlife and join forces with vibrant ghost-samurai warriors, magical animal monks, and mustachioed samurai generals. And now Skulls of the Shogun tastes even better in the Bone-a-Fide Edition, which adds a brand-new episode, the new Tanuki Monk, and a heaping helping of new features!

Key Features

  • A fast-paced, arcade-inspired blend of arcade action and turn-based strategy!
  • Rub shoulders with the colorful denizens of the Afterlife and power up your army to deadly demons!
  • Rampage through 24 levels in an epic single-player campaign!
  • Confound opponents with the all-new Tanuki Monk unit!
  • Gain experience and fuse emblems with an all-new player progression system!
  • Battle up to 4 players at once on spectacular multiplayer maps, both locally and online (realtime and turn-based asynchronous modes)!
  • Power your way through an all-new episode, which features persistent troops and the mischievous new Tanuki Monk!
  • Get inside our heads with all-new Developer Commentary!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP + Service Pack 3
    • Processor: Intel Celeron 440 2.0GHz / AMD Athlon 64 3300+
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 2.0 graphics card, Nvidia GeForce 7300 / ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 or better
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 600 MB HD space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8, 32/64-bit
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ support (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB HD space
    Minimum:
    • OS: glibc 2.15+, 32/64-bit. S3TC support is NOT required.
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ support (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB HD space
Helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
24.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
Simple and fun strategy game. The humor can be a little hit and miss, but all in all I had a really good time while playing it. It outstays it's welcome just a tiny, little bit towards the end, because the strategy elements are really simple and gets somewhat repetitive because of that, but the game is saved by its best humor bits and the relatively short time you have to set aside to beat it. Definitely worth the asking price. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
Definetly recommended.

Pros:
- Funny
- Challenging
- Original gameplay. Not a typical 'grid'-like turn based game.
- Originel setting. You're a dead shogun samurai.
- Nicelly balanced units & actions: sometimes you have to choose between eating a skull to heal, haunting a shrine to summon extra units or just try to whack an enemy unit over a ledge. So lots of possibilities & different outcomes to each game.

Cons:
- None, really. Besides that one level seems ridiculously hard. But there's always the possibility to lower the difficulty to 'casual'
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 23
So, a bunch of the games I've been posting about lately have not been (in my opinion) "great". This is not at all true of Skulls of the Shogun. This highly polished turn-based tactics/strategy game isn't overly complex (it's got a great tutorial), but remains deep enough to be satisfying for higher-level play, with additional rewards for particularly skilled play.

And I'm totally uninterested in playing it right now.

While I can't say that I'm a huge aficionado of the genre (tactics and/or strategy), I have enjoyed games of this type in the past, and while I would generally consider myself to be "not very good" at strategy/tactics, I think it's important to challenge myself from time-to-time. But right now I'm just not in the mood, so this game will go into the pile labeled "revisit" (a designation for games that I either wish to replay, or games that I didn't feel like playing but think that I should try again later).

I would certainly recommend this game, however, and It's available on many platforms (PC/Mac/Linux, some—but not all—Sony/Microsoft consoles, as well as iOS).
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
A short, lighthearted, simple tactical game with a pleasant art style.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
15.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 29
Lovely and fun game. Not hard but not even boring. Reccomended if you like the genre.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
Very cool campaign. glad i got this in a bundle
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
32.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
Skulls of the Shogun is an excellent SRPG. I'm hooked from my first session !
PROS
- very accessible and well crafted
- interesting strategy elements
- campaign with very good level design of each scenario
- secondary objectives to make the game more challenging
- gamepad support

CONS
- minor visibility issue on group of units, maybe missing a strategic view
- movement mechanic is a bit counter-intuitive
- a little too easy and only 2 options for the difficulty : normal or casual
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 17
Slick presentation, easy controls, deep gameplay, and a fun sense of humor.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 5
The heartfelt struggle of one man, trying to reach out to the world and only finding rejection. Falling deeper and deeper into depression.

Oh wait that is just Jesse trying to get us to play this game, my bad.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
36.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 24
A really amazing turn-based strategy game that removed the grid/hex system to be more dynamic and fluid! The campaign along is well worth the full price! I can't recommend it enough to Turn-based strategy fans!!

Pros:
+great gameplay mechanics +the story and dialogues are very funny +great visual +controller support
+multiplayer and challenges

Cons:
- occasionally, the manual will disappear upon taking a screenshot; a restart can fix the problem
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Good game with great graphics and a fantastic style utterly spoiled by ridiculous and thoroughly annoying controls/interface. It should be a crime to port games from mobile to pc without properly sitting down and working out a new control scheme that works well for the PC.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 1
Lots of fun and a few laughs plus some tough gut wrenching decisions waits you at every turn with this Cartoony Turned-Based Tactical Stratety game.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 28
It's the closest thing to advance wars you can get on steam or any modern console for that matter. Also you power up by eating the skulls of your enemies. ♥♥♥♥ is ♥♥♥♥ing metal.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
Aw, this game is so charming! It got my great-great-grandmother into playing TBS. She also bought a Samurai sword to re-enact battle scenes.
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6 of 12 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 15
"demon form,SON!
double the actions,double the fun!
WAHAHA!"

10/10
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81 of 88 people (92%) found this review helpful
23.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 5, 2013
After playing through the full (post early access) release, the verdict is in and I can confidently say that Skulls of the Shogun is a winner. This quirky turn-based strategy game seems simple at first, but there are actually some surprisingly deep levels of nuance and complexity beneath the surface. You play as a Japanese swordsman General who is trying to reclaim his stolen identity in the afterlife. The art style is very unique and really well done. The cast of characters and story are also very cool. The dialogue, in particular, is a highlight. I wasn't expecting much from that aspect of a seemingly simple strategy game, but I was pleasantly surprised at how funny and entertaining it was.

So the aesthetic portions of the game are definitely good, but what of the actual gameplay, you ask? In short, it's pretty damn good. Gameplay is turn based, but on each turn you have 5 "orders" that can be performed. Your team is comprised of various types of units (warriors, cavalry, archers), each of which has their own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of moving on tiles like other strategy games, the actions in this game are more free-roaming. Units are able to move anywhere they want, within a certain radius, and are also able to continue moving after performing an action, which adds to the level of strategy involved. One of your main goals is to eat the skulls of defeated opponents, which restores health. However, if a unit is able to eat 3 skulls, they transform into a Demon, which enables them to perform 2 actions per turn, which is a huge advantage. Gameplay becomes a delicate balancing act of attacking, positioning and staying alive long enough to power up.

Outside of these main elements, there are a number of other nuances (summoning monks with special powers, forming spirit walls, environmental hazards, deciding when to bring your general into battle, and more) that add many layers of complexity to the basic strategy. Every level seems to provide some new elements to learn or deal with, and this keeps the main campaign fresh from start to finish. There's no padding at all. The main campaign lasts several hours (more if you play on a higher difficulty or attempt to complete the set of special goals for each level) and is worth the price of admission alone. In addition, the game also features online, local and asynchronous multiplayer matches. So there is plenty of content here for both casual and competitive types.

All in all, this game is solid and brings some really cool twists to the turn-based strategy genre. If you are into that type of thing, pick this one up. And if not, well, this could be the game that makes you a fan. Check it out.
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38 of 40 people (95%) found this review helpful
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2013
Skulls of Shogun is a surprisingly great game of 2013 for me. With the rise in popularity of Turn Based Strategy (TBS) games, It can be difficult for Skulls of Shogun to stood out among the other quality TBS games such as XCOM, Civilization V, and so on.

Still, with its quirky art style and fairly witty humor that is set in Samurai's afterlife, Skulls of Shogun features a well designed and carefully balanced mechanics, I find Skulls of Shogun to be very enjoyable game to play. At the same time, the game tries to introduce a gridless movement system where your unit's movement range is denoted by a white circle with a fixed radius, I find this innovation to a decent change that works well to be an alternative to the typical grid system found in a lot of TBS games. Combining with the cross platform compatibility with iOS, one could even play this game on the go. While Skulls of Shogun looks like a mobile port, it felt more like a PC game with reasonable amount of depth despite having a rather small unit roster. Each unit has its own unique role that can be useful in the right hands. Personally, I find the PC version's UI to be pretty decent and mouse friendly while it is equally playable on a touch screen.

If you like Turn Based Strategy, give Skulls of Shogun a go if you have the chance. You could find yourself putting a couple of hours into this indie gem.
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38 of 43 people (88%) found this review helpful
25.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 14, 2013
Skulls of the Shogun is a turn based strategy game with a surprising amount of tactical depth. Units are varied - samurai, cavalry, archers and four types of magic using monks - all with different strengths and weaknesses. Positioning of units is important, because they can counter attack in certain situations, and can also be knocked off ledges for an instant kill. Eating the skulls of dead enemies regains health and increases max health, while controlling rice gardens and shrines lets you summon extra units. The game is challenging, because on most levels you are outnumbered and surrounded, but at the same time well balanced, because each side can only move 5 units per turn. However, any unit that eats three skulls unlocks an extra attack per turn. The game has a wacky sense of humour, particularly with its amusing text only dialogue and animation style. The singleplayer campaign is quite long and very stable. Definitely worth checking out.
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
72.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 26
Unfortunately, little do the bulk of TBS addicts know about this rare gem bringing a nice change of pace. Many consider it as a spiritual successor of Advance Wars, and it is in many ways yet by being a truly unique experience in the even rarer ''cartoony TBS'' sub genre. Don't get it wrong: despite its ( marvelous ) cartoony construct & hilarious dialogues ( really ), Skulls of the Shogun also shines via a lenghty campaign of well drawn maps.

Overall strategy and multiple tactics may seem basic, but ways to win versus enemies ( AI or multiplayer ) require the full attention of veteran players as well. It's not perfect on crowded bottlenecks when trying to command orders, some little glitch here and there, though nothing to alter an otherwise joyful turn based combat.

Pros: vivid cartoony construct and turn based combat mixed pretty well; lenghty campaign and multiplayer modes; hilarious dialogues; great audio track.

Cons: ordering units when crowded like sardines; some questionable unit range versus obstacle placement.

Bottom line: Highly recommended. ''OSHUDA''
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
38.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
Skulls of the Shogun is another indie turn based tactics game. This is a fun game to play because the levels are short and packed with action and tough decision making. It’s also easy to learn and play because there is no hex counting, no charts, and no tables. It has special objectives for completionists including a time attack trial and a developer commentary for all 20 levels.

I like this game because individual levels are short. The long levels can be 30 minutes but you can easily finish most within 15. Skulls doesn’t waste time with load outs or gear management. The only thing you need to manage is your troops and your rice (a currency to buy units). You manage your units with five orders each turn. Activating a unit takes an order. Most decisions are simple yet tough. Do you deal damage? Do you take crucial economy or troop producing buildings? Do you eat skulls to upgrade your troops? Do you provide other units protection from knock back?

Many turn based tactics games rely on special attack and armor types. In Skulls you won’t need to memorize the latest version of rock-paper-scissors. Attacks are easy to understand. Units deal damage and armor subtracts it. No long time investments studying maximum efficiency. Though it is a tactics game and so if hyper efficient decision making is what you like then you’ll be glad to know that each level is scored, even including leaderboards. Each level also has alternate secondary objectives such as winning without losing any units.

On the negative side I think knock back while intuitive often felt a bit fuzzy. An attack that I thought for sure would knock an opponent over an edge just barely hangs on and vice versa. Also while it’s fun that individual levels are short it would have been nice to have more than 20 levels to play through. Because it’s possible to play through the game in less than ten hours that means Skulls relies a lot on it’s great replayability.

Due to it's campaign length I think the $14.99 asking price might be a bit much but this is definitely a great purchase at $10.
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