A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about strategy in this stylish turn-based tactics game set in a fantastical version of feudal Japan. Combat provides players multiple strategic options, forcing them to choose which units to move each turn, how to move them, which enemies to target, and whether to take advantage of certain benefit-conferring elements in the environment rather than push the attack. They'll need to engage in a little trial and error to figure out what works best, and some parts of combat could be explained a bit better, but battles push players to stop and think rather than simply react. Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition encourages players to analyze and evaluate situations and develop their own strategies in cartoonish turn-based combat.
Entertains with violence and crude humor, but encourages strategic thought.
Positive Role Models
Players control a recently deceased warmonger who loves battle and wants revenge on the person who killed him. He thinks only in terms of war and killing his opponents.
Ease of Play
Gameplay is challenging from the start. Players need to think several turns in advance and consider their opponents' potential countermoves to achieve success.
Violence & Scariness
Skeletons hit each other with swords, spears, arrows, and magic attacks, sometimes resulting in small splashes of quickly disappearing blood. Skulls are left behind when skeletons are defeated; players are encouraged to make their skeletal heroes eat them to grow stronger, eventually taking on demonic forms.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters are depicted with bulging bosoms and deep cleavage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition is a downloadable turn-based military strategy game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC. Players assume the role of a recently deceased yet proud battle-obsessed general. Under his command, human skeletons fight each other with swords, spears, and bows, sometimes spilling blood. Characters frequently eat their defeated opponents' skulls to grow stronger. A couple of buxom female characters with deep cleavage are occasionally called upon in battle. It's a challenging game that forces players to think before they act, always in terms of military strategy with an eye to defeating enemies.
Is It Any Good?
This challenging strategy game will give even experienced game generals difficulty as they attempt to dominate the underworld with their unconventional undead forces. The coolest thing about Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition is how it removes the grid found in virtually every turn-based strategy game. Instead of moving a certain number of spaces, units can move anywhere within a circle surrounding them, then continue moving in a shrunken circle after they take their action. This allows for interesting wiggle room when navigating around objects in the environment and does away with the problem of one or two units blocking the rest of your army from reaching and attacking enemies. It takes a few missions to get a feel for it, and some elements related to this innovative style of movement could be a bit better explained during play, but it's highly empowering once you get a feel for it.
The game's unique charm goes far beyond its innovative play mechanics. Hand-drawn units and maps have a personality all their own, and the ridiculously catchy combat music will have you bopping your head during battles and leave you humming it once you stop playing. The smart dialogue is short and frequently funny. Turn-based tactics fans looking for something a bit different could do a lot worse. You'll also find that the bonus content in the Bone-A-Fide Edition is excellent. The newly added Forgotten Isles really stands out, especially thanks to the ramped up challenge to every stage with troops constantly being carried over. This provides a "see how long you can last" flair to each battle. If there was a weak spot within the Bone-A-Fide Edition, it's that the multiplayer seems to be virtually non-existent. That's to be expected for computer players or gamers on some of the older consoles, but you'd hope more people were playing the game on the recently released Switch edition. The missing multiplayer opponents aside, Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition is a great tactical strategy title that's received new life as it conquers a new platform.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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