The elevator pitch for Cassette Beasts, a forthcoming indie game, can’t fit on a single line. A lo-fi monster-hunting game clearly inspired by Pokémon? Or, oh, oh, how about a top-down role-playing game with gorgeous pixel art and killer music? Surely it’s something distinguished by being awash in ‘80s vibes? The answer to all of the above is simply, “Yes.”
Cassette Beasts, developed by the U.K.-based Bytten Studio and published by Raw Fury, just zipped on my radar faster than your favorite cassette tape unspooled all over the floor. For about 17 seconds, your first taste of Cassette Beasts might seem like a meal you’ve eaten a thousand times. Then it promptly swerves. Here’s a trailer:
Your eyes did not deceive you. Much of Cassette Beasts revolves around capturing monsters, Pokémon-style. But in battle, you don’t let those monsters loose to wage miniature proxy turn-based wars in your name—no, you transform into them. How freakin’ metal is that?
To be fair, Cassette Beasts appears to feature all of the indie game bona fides that appeal to my particular set of tastes. The song in that trailer is going directly into my Spotify library the second it’s released as a single. Plot-wise, based on pre-release materials provided by Raw Fury, there’s some ado about the unassailable power of friendship. And that’s to say nothing of the art. Of course this game is beautiful. Bytten, whose staffers have contributed work to games like Stardew Valley and Wargroove, is no stranger to striking pixel art. The studio’s debut game, Lenna’s Inception, released last year, features a similar if somewhat less eye-popping art style.
A minute and 20 seconds of hands-off impressions curated by a marketing team is by no means enough time to judge a game. But sometimes you just get a sense for which games might stick out among a seriously crowded field. I’ve got a good feeling about Cassette Beasts, and am sincerely looking forward to seeing more.
Cassette Beasts doesn’t currently have a release date, but is slated for release on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. When it comes out, it’ll be straight onto Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s games-on-demand service.