The story of Skulls of the Shogun takes us to medieval Japan where the celebration of a great army general's latest conquest is cut short when he is brought down by a shadowy figure. General Akamoto finds himself awakening on a boat to the shores of the netherworld before he even realizes what is going on. This is where he decides to fight back against the armies of the underworld with the assistance of his own loyal subjects that had served the great general while they were still living. Akamoto will have to take down an imposter general, track down his betrayer in the underworld and battle his way through hordes of undead armies on his way to becoming the Shogun of the Dead. Plenty of humor and bizarre characters keep the mood light and keep you interested in a storyline that manages to remain fun through its duration despite offering the biggest plot twist early in the game. The single player campaign isn't jut tagged on in Skulls of the Shogun, and many players will be spending more time attempting to unlock all of the special gold skulls in the campaign than in multiplayer sessions.
After you've completed the 20 stages in the single player campaign, there's still plenty to do and see in Skulls of the Shogun. Multiplayer can be played either online or offline in free-for-all deathmatch for up to four players or team deathmatch for four players and comes with three ways to play: player match custom games, ranked matches or the all new Skulls Anywhere mode that allows players to enjoy the action across different Microsoft devices. Skulls Anywhere allows one player to take their turn and then send it to the other players and vice versa until one player comes out victorious. In addition, your save file for the campaign can be saved to Microsoft Cloud storage to be played on other Microsoft devices on the go or on Windows 8 PC. The game's presentation also features a fantastic art design that is fondly reminiscent of Castle Crashers and other vibrant worlds of today's downloadable generation, and a catchy theme song doesn't hurt either. With so many reasons to play and so many ways to play, it's hard not to recommend Skulls of the Shogun. Just make sure you're willing to put in multiple hours to learn the intricacies of the battle system, or you may become frustrated before you summon your first demon into battle. It's time to eat some skulls!
Skulls of the Shogun is now available for Xbox LIVE Arcade, Windows 8 PC, Microsoft Surface & Windows Phone and can be purchased for 1200 Microsoft Points or $14.99. Skulls of the Shogun is rated T by the ESRB for Blood, Suggestive Themes & Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Skulls of the Shogun website.
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platforms: Xbox LIVE Arcade (reviewed), Windows 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone
Release Date: January 30, 2013