I put off playing Cassette Beasts for a little while because I was worried it was going to be some sort of rhythm game based on the name, and the pictures of the monsters I saw on the store page looked really weird but once I started playing it, I was hooked.
Like Pokémon, you collect a series of monsters that you use to fight other monsters. In this game you transform into recorded copies of monsters instead of sending out your captured animals but it mostly feels the same. The large majority of encounters are 2v2 style fights, with a fun mechanic where any 2 monsters can fuse together, joining stats, types and move-sets into one along with getting a new sprite combing aspects of both monsters; which can dramatically turn the tide of an encounter. Fusing also turns on a great song that I look forward to hearing whenever I click that button.
Abilties on your monsters are easily swappable around between any monster that is compatible (usually via type). These abilties can either be offensive moves, buffs, debuffs or passive abilities. You can stack copies of an ability if you want to; I had a “ripterra” with multiple “pre-emptive strike” passive abilities that could take out some monsters before the first round even began. Monsters can also come in “Remix” variants, which is the same monster but with a different typing. These seem rare enough that it is an exciting encounter to find one without being too rare that you will never see one.
The soundtrack is awesome. My 5 year old son will hum some of the more common tunes and my wife says she can’t get some of the songs out of her head. The song for the main town can get a bit repetitive since you’ll be hearing it a lot but it’s a great song so its not the biggest complaint.
As someone who has played most of the Pokémon games since the initial GameBoy releases, I had a pleasant surprise at actually losing some encounters. In Pokémon I could often just use a single monster to fight every single encounter regardless of type match ups throughout the entire game, but that can become very difficult in Cassette Beasts, since not only do type matchups deal increased or decreased damage, but they cause additional status effects. Attacking a fire monster with a plastic move will give the opponent an evasion buff for example.
I have beaten the main story and am still working through completing my collection of all the various monsters and going through some of the post-game quests.
8/10 - A very solid monster collection / fighting game with a great soundtrack to back it up