Game: Cassette Beasts
Genre: RPG, Open World, Creature Collector
System: Steam (Windows & Linux) Also available Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, & Series X|S
Developer | Publisher: Bytten Studio | Raw Fury
Controller Support: Yes
Price: UK £16.79 | US $19.99 | € 19,99
Release Date: April 26th 2023
Review code used with many thanks to Johnny Atom PR.
Growing up in the ’90s, the new hit was monster collecting games. Pokémon, Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh to name a few. Completing the beast collections and testing my encyclopaedia knowledge against my peers brought me closer to this particular gaming genre, and it still appeals to me to this day.
Cassette Beasts encapsulate that feeling of the traditional monster collecting games and spices the visual direction with the technology available to us. Bytten Studio is a small indie team consisting of two developers based in Brighton, UK. With a specialisation in Pixel Art indie games, their portfolio consists of Cassette Beasts and Lenna’s Inception.
Check out the Bytten Studio website here.
Stranded in a New World?
Upon starting, you are quickly transported into the remote world of New Wirral. This world is full of strange beasts called ‘Cassette Beasts’. Upon getting your footing in New Wirral, you are attacked by a Cassette Beast and under the tutelage of Kayleigh. She gives your first Cassette Beast depending on your vibe and shows you that by using the type, you become one with the Cassette Beast transforming into the mysterious creature. It is considered impossible to get back to where you are originally from.
That introduction is more of a tutorial section of the game. As I think with longer story games, discussing major parts of the story is really taking away some of the experience away itself. Which is why I won’t discuss that in this review. The structure of the main story allows you to go at your own pace, and as you get more experienced as a Cassette Beast Ranger, you will be able to engage with citizens of New Wirral and take on Rumours and Side Quests. This will further help you discover more about New Wirral and its inhabitants.
Cassette Beasts Gameplay
Overworld exploration is completely open world as you explore the world of New Wirral with your team of Cassette Beasts. Additionally, you can adventure with a partner. This partner not only helps you in combat, making you stronger, but you will be able to forge a better bond with them and fuse your Cassette Beasts together.
Combat controls are akin to the most traditional turn-based combat systems, an extensive type effectiveness chart and an Ability Point system. However, unlike what is usually the case, a ‘super effective’ hit doesn’t increase the amount of damage your Cassette Beast does to another. Instead, it buffs and de-buffs the monsters, and type-effective moves can also change the ‘type’ of the monster. With this battle system in Cassette Beasts, you can develop a lot of unique strategies just on type effectiveness alone.
Cassette Beasts features an Ability Point system similar to other notable RPGs; the higher the Ability Point cost for the move, usually the more effective it is in combat. Additionally, the Ability Point ‘charges’ can be stored to a max of 5 per your Cassette Beast unless the Fusion ability is active; this increased to 10 Ability Points as it is for two Cassette Beasts combined.
Beautiful Artwork and Catchy Sounds
Visually Cassette Beasts is similar to titles such as Octopath Traveller, Triangle Strategy and Live a Live. A style that is labelled HD-2D by Square Enix using pixel characters in a 3D environment.
The User Interface showed me a wonderful example of fitting the aesthetics of the game with the game. When you save the game, it is visually saved onto a Cassette file. All Cassette Beasts have a cute icon on their Cassette to help you identify each Beast. All character artwork is high resolution. When a character is featured, they are presented with on-screen dialogue along with light animation and selected voice-acted lines.
The music is very catchy, with a mix of the classic battle themes similar to older monster collecting titles to songs with lyrics played in certain circumstances.
Settings and Other Features
I wanted to write a quick section just addressing the settings within this game. Cassette Beasts organises its settings based on features such as Sound and Gameplay to make this adjustment of settings easier to follow. I typically play games with lower sound settings, so when starting a new game, I will visit the game settings on load up. Due to this, I discovered the game allows the adjustment of difficulty, AI difficulty scaling and a speed run mode, allowing flexibility for player difficulty. The adaptability within the game settings allowing the player to create a unique experience which impressed me.
In short, Cassette Beasts is a fantastic game with plenty of charm, great gameplay, and a groovy soundtrack. I could highly recommend it to anyone who loves playing a great game. The narrative aspects should keep a playthrough for about 8 – 18 hours, but those who wish to collect all the monsters and complete all side quests could expect to be playing for up to around 50 hours. There is plenty to do in New Wirral, take the leap of discovery and become a Cassette Beast Ranger!
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up
This looks very cool! I was doing some digging, but can’t find a definitive answer: Does this have multiplayer? Can you trade your cassette beasts with other players?