Cassette Beasts review for PC, Switch, Xbox

Platform: Switch
Also on: Switch, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Publisher: Raw Fury
Developer: Bytten Studio
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I don?t want to say that Cassette Beasts is a Pok?mon clone, but the first thing I did when writing this review was I went and I copied the word ?Pok?mon? since I?ve never bothered to remember how to write ??? with an accent on it. Even without knowing exactly what I planned on writing about Cassette Beasts, I had a feeling I?d be using that reference a lot.

To be fair, Cassette Beasts is more than just a copy of Pok?mon. It?s kind of like Pok?mon filtered through a hipster lens, with an ?80s colour scheme (which is to say, a fair amount of pastels), a world whose look is heavily influenced by retro games, and music that skews a little more towards indie rock than your standard monster collecting game.

In fact, it?s the music element that helps Cassette Beasts set itself apart from other Pok?mon imitators like Coromon or Nexomon. Where those games (and others like them) don?t stray too much from their biggest influence, Cassette Beasts takes an idea ? essentially, ?What if Pok?mon were built around collecting old-school tapes?? ? and runs with it.

Consequently, you don?t just have a world in which music plays a very important part, you capture monsters by recording them on an audio cassette tape. When you go into turn-based battles, your options ? whether it?s fighting, fleeing, using an item, or recording the opposing monsters ? are laid out like the buttons on an old Walkman. Even some of the items you pick up are built around music, like the way you heal monsters by respooling the tapes. It?s clear that developers Bytten Studio had a clear vision of how they wanted this world to look and act, and to their enormous credit, they followed through on it.

Mind you, there?s no getting around the fact that the end result still feels like Pok?mon ? albeit a much cooler version of the game. The monsters look like the sort of thing Game Freak would?ve created, and the same goes for their names ? things like Traffikrab (a hermit crab with a traffic cone shell), Zombleat (a zombie sheep), and Puppercut (a dog with boxing gloves). What?s more, the gameplay is exactly what we?ve seen in Pok?mon going back to their exception. There are tweaks to the formula here and there (for example, you can fuse your collected tapes with a partner to create more powerful monsters), but generally speaking, this is what you?d expect when you hear the phrase Pok?mon clone.

I don?t want to leave the impression that I dislike Cassette Beasts, though, because I don?t ? not in the least. Cassette Beasts may borrow pretty heavily from Pok?mon, but there are enough fun twists on the basic ideas that it manages to carve out an identity that?s all its own.

Raw Fury provided us with a Cassette Beasts PC code for review purposes.

Grade: B+