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 (319 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
17 of 25 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 17, 2014
Slick presentation, easy controls, deep gameplay, and a fun sense of humor.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 18
Using the interface with a mouse just ruins this game, it was obviously designed for a touch screen. Your cursor is a massive clumsy pointer that makes it extremely difficult to select and move units that are close together. Getting your units in a proper formation is an exercise in frustration, but managable if that was the only problem.

Making any moves takes extra clicks because of the limitations of a touch screen first interface. For example, hovering over units to see their hp doesn't work, you must left-click to select each of them individually to see hp and then click back on the unit you were planning on using (once to select it, once to "activate" it, and a third time to make it actually do anything) These things were solved in the 90s and so the controls feel similar to a bad console port.

If you have a windows 8 touchscreen tablet and like games like advance wars this would be great, otherwise avoid it unless you're willing to wrestle with your mouse.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 22
I somehow acquired this game through some sort of bundle and decided to give it a shot. I have to say that I was immediately impressed from the start. The art-style, while cartoonish, is eye-catching and flowed very well. Games that feature turn-based combat are most certainly not a new concept, but the idea of eating the skulls of your enemies to heal and level up is certainly different. Moving characters around with the mouse does admittedly take some getting used to. I wouldn't go as far as to say that this is the best turn-based strategy game I've ever played, but I am hard-pressed to find any major faults with it. Certainly grab it during a sale or in a bundle (like I did) if you can.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqDyuHDU6b4
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8 of 16 people (50%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2014
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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88 of 99 people (89%) 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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39 of 42 people (93%) 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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40 of 46 people (87%) 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 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
38.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 9, 2014
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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17 of 20 people (85%) found this review helpful
72.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 26, 2014
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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22 of 29 people (76%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2013
Craving another turn-based strategy game? Don't mind tongue-in-cheek undead shogun fighting each other? Then Skulls of the Shogun is for you.
A comical, cartoony turn-based strategy game with surprising depth and strategy, not to mention quite a bit of humour. Satisfying kills follow the required strategic thinking.
Nice!
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
24.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2014
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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20 of 29 people (69%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 6, 2013
This game is FUN and so funny,
the story is ok for the Indie Turn-Base strategy game.
The graphic look good.
The music is also nice to listen and enjoy with it.
The gameplay are fast and simple with good tactics.

I can recommend this game to anyone.
Both TB Strategy and new comer.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
21.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 12, 2013
This is one of the most enjoyable turn-based strategy games I've ever played. It's colorful, charasmatc, has a great sense of humor, beautiful art, and most importantly, has just the right amount of depth where it's not too complicated nor too simple. This is a great game for people who are new to the genre, as the game does a really good job of teaching you how all the units, resources, and systems work, yet it still gives you the freedom to figure out things on your own, and get that deep feeling of satisfaction that the genre is well known for.

The game works equally well with a gamepad and mouse/keyboard, and the campaign took me a good 18 hours to get through. There is also online and local multiplayer which I haven't dabbled with yet. Overall, this is one of the more underrated games I've played this year. A great turn-based strategy game for noobs and vets alike.
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
29.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 3, 2014
Set in ancient japan the skulls of the shogun beckons the player to take hold of a shogun backstabbed by one of his subordinates during a battle aiming to seek revenge after being reincarnated in the afterlife. The gameplay consists of a relatively simple but unique turned-based combat system where the player and the AI each take turns commanding their units in a round to either move, attack, or perform other actions until they run out of moves (5 per side). The player wins if he/she can kill all of enemy units or the enemy general, but must protect his/her own general in the process. Three types of basic units are available from start including infantry, cavalry, and archer where they can be utilised to work together for maximum effect in a scenario. Multiple strategies come into play during each scenario which is unique in their own way such as preventing enemy units from counterattacking when they are being attacked, or positioning one's units properly before the end of a round to minimise the damage received during AI's turn--can be accomplished by either running out of enemy's movement range or hide in a bush which can grant a 20% chance for an attack to miss. The gameplay can become stale were it not for golden skulls challenges and the succinct degree of humour present in the game which, surprisingly, can be quite amusing and definitely goes a long way in making the gameplay experience more satisfying. There are also xp for levelling up and emblems you receive at end of each scenario depending on your performance but otherwise they do not have a direct impact on your gameplay, if at all, whether you are level 1 or 10 you do not possess any distinct advantage whatsoever aside from having bestowed a different title each level. The emblems are purely for asthetic purposes to show off your dedication or time committed to the game, notwithstanding the amount of repetitive grinding just to be able to collect all the rare/very rare emblems either through gameplay or combining them to hopefully obtain the ones you want and then upgrading all or most of them to Gold rank.

There is a multiplayer component in addition to the single-player campaign as well. However, the matchmaking lobby is usually empty majority of times and hence one would have to encompass a gross amount of patience in order to possibly find a mattch courtesy of the ability of the game to continuously search for opponents in the background whilst you wreak havoc in traditional campaign mode or casually browse through the leaderboards and emblems you have amassed. Despite the near non-existence of an online community, I find the single-player campaign infinitely enjoyable on its own and that alone is enough to make this game remarkably innovative and is a refreshing change from the traditional, stagnant TBS mechanisms
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
15.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 14, 2013
Casual but enjoyable turn-based strategy with enough unit and mechanics variety to save it from super-generic status. The unfortunate truth about nearly all indie multiplayer games is that they are DoA or shortly thereafter -- unless you know people who play I doubt you'll find many online versus games. However, clocking in at ten or so hours, the single player campaign is lengthy enough to justify a purchase... just ask Bruticis.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 28, 2014
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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19 of 33 people (58%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 17, 2013
Funny and deep, Skulls of the Shogun is a deceptively shallow take on turn-based tactics. It's has a lot to offer for new players and veterans alike.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 13, 2014
I just loved this game. The game design is simple and charming yet realy deep.
The campagne is good and the multi is even better.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
14.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 25, 2014
I'm gonna be honest here, the first time I heard about Skulls of the Shogun I thought it was some spin-off Total War Shogun only to soon know that these two games had nothing to do with each other. The game starts off with a cutscene of you (General Akamoto) being stabbed in the back and going to the land of the dead and this is where the story starts. In the land of the dead you uncover a plot against the Shogun of the Head by facing various generals, one on each "sector", per say until you eventually face the Shogun of the Dead himself. Even though at first the story might not seem that appealing to some people, the game dialogue, which is text based, is extremely funny throughout the entire game and I do think that this is one of the main reasons why I enjoyed Skulls of the Shogun so much. The game features both online and local multiplayer along with a single player campaign. Having only played the campaign I can say that it is divided a number of sectors, one for each season more specifically and each one of this sectors has various levels, usually 4, and each sector/season has a different general and a different army that you will face. The more you progress the more the game slowly teaches you how to use newly acquired units, most of those tips are not actually shove into your face by some text popping on the screen but instead you're units will sometimes talk with each others, or the enemy, between turns thus making some sweet funny transition from one turn to another. The animations are somewhat lacking in my honest opinion but I think the game gets away with it just because I really like the art style and the way they've done the 2D sprites along with the backgrounds and the map design, the cartoony look certainly adds alot of charm to it. I actually didn't payed much attention to the in game music and I think part of it it's because I didn't find it to be that good and maybe even abit repetitive. Gameplay wise this is actually where I found most enjoyement and where the game really shows how good it actually is. Essentially the game is a turn based combat game with some minor twists, each turn you are granted the ability to use or summon 5 units. At first each unit is only granted one action per turn, capturing structures, attacking enemies or eating skulls but in the meantime your general can perform 2 actions per turn and if you lose your general you lose. There are a few things you need to keep in mind while playing Skulls of the Shogun such as, eating skulls heals your units and increases their maximum HP and after eating 3 skulls they will become "possessed" which makes them stronger units, placing two units close enough to each other will create a "spirit wall" around them which will prevent them from getting knockbacked by enemy melee attacks and reduces incoming damage and you also need to take in consideration the fact that there's rice fields which you can capture that will grant you rice and heal your unit placed there each round, rice can be used to use certain spells with different types of monks (monks are what you could call "mages") and to summon units if you happen to have captured a temple. Monks can be summoned by capturing shrines and there's a specific shrine for each monk along with a shrine that acts as some sort of tower which attack enemies within range at the end of each turn. You also need to take into consideration the unit placement and the terrain, some levels will have abysses and ice on the floor, ice will increase the knockback on a unit that is not protected by a spirit wall and if you manage to knockback someone to an abyss or from higher ground they will get instantly killed no matter how many HP they had previously, this is actually one of the key strategies to progress in various levels. The unit variety is fairly simple, you have your infantry, which are close range, your cavalry which have a bigger range than the infantry but take more damage and of course you have archers which can attack from afar. There's also of course, as I mentioned earlier monks, one is a healing monk, another is a fire monk which plays the same role as an archer and you also have some sort of crow monk which instead of attacking can use wind to push enemies away or friendly units closer to resources. And at last you have your general which is the key unit of the game, if you kill your enemy general you win and if you lose your general you lose. The campaign can take around 13 hours to beat depending on your performance and on the difficulty you're playing and is extremely enjoyable, they actually released a little campaign which is called "Forgotten Isles" if I recall correctly which adds some levels to the single player campaign but in this add-on you keep the units and the rice you have at end of a level and you bring them with you to the next level thus making it somewhat harder, I actually didn't beated this add-on because I didn't really felt it was actually important to the story, even though it has some, and I thought it was actually made to more hardcore fans of the game. That being said, if you enjoy turn based combat games with some resource management you can't go wrong with Skulls of the Shogun, 17-BIT really surprised me with this one and I still hope for a sequel. It is too damn good.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2013
A nice looking and easy to understand strategy game. It's a lot like advaned wars only with a silly undead twist. Very fun and worth the low price tag.
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