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Skulls of the Shogun (XBLA/PC) preview

It seems Advance Wars has inspired a whole generation of western game developers, as games inspired by the venerable Wars series continue to be revealed. This preview is based on info at the official site and a 1up.com interview. Skulls of the Shogun will be playable at E3 2010 so look forward to some more coverage tomorrow.

The development team is going for a tactical turn based strategy game similar to Advance Wars. The developers are aiming for an “arcade like experience” with simple and fast paced tactical fun. The focus of the game will be on tactical interaction between a limited variety of units and as little time spent in menus as possible. Like Advance Wars, there’s no customization or unit growth between battles. Attention is being paid to streamlining the UI and making the game fast paced and easy to pick up.

Instead of a grid, units are allowed to free move within a circular radius. Zone of control becomes in effect when two allied units movement radii overlap each other. Buildings can be captured to produce income to purchase spells and new units. You’ll also be able to summon creatures with special abilities. Your ghostly units can advance in rank by killing other enemies and ‘consuming their skulls’. Tasty.

The game seems like a primarily multiplayer affair. The goal of multiplayer battles is to kill the opposing sides general. You’re limited to moving 5 units per turn to keep the pace of battles fast, according to the 1up interview. The simplified nature of the games combat means it’s more likely to be balanced and easy to pick up.

The game has a feudal Japan theme with lots of ghosts floating about. The cities are rice paddies and the factories are temples. The art style is clean and simple and gets its info across well. Skulls of the Shogun is definitely a game to look out for if you’re interested in a fast paced multiplayer TBS game, and hopefully there will be some good single player content in there as well.

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