The last thing I expected to greet me in Bytten Studio’s Pokémon-like Cassette Beasts was a line from a 14th-century poem. And yet here stood Sir Gawain and the Green Knight unabashedly beckoning me on to adventure. This was the first, but not the last time, I thought to myself, “This is a game for me.”
Dreams of epic quests swirling in my head, I crafted the perfect spritely hero, only to watch them fall through a vortex of color and darkness and faceplant into the sand of an unknown shore. So, it’s not the most noble start to my trials. But this first look at the world doesn’t disappoint as the sea shimmers with light bouncing from the waves. It contrasts the pixelated blades of grass and stylized cliffs but emphasizes the art style’s beauty.
I spot civilization in the distance. Wouldn’t you know it, though? Before making it to safety a monster confronts me. This crab-like creature strides up to me wearing an orange cone and a bad attitude. Having just landed nose-first on strange sands, I’m less than eager to confront the creature until a mysterious figure appears and tosses me a mighty weapon: A cassette player.
Using the melodious tool, I transform into a strange creature and join battle. Combat will be familiar to anyone who’s ever picked up a Pokémon title, but everything connects in some clever way to the musical theme. And the similarities don’t stop there. My central goal turns out to be enlisting with the rangers, which means I’ll have to go around challenging the group’s various leaders to get a stamp. There’s even a professor that wants me to capture the land’s unique inhabitants so he can complete his research.
That doesn’t keep the game from being its own, unique experience. The first major difference I discover is, unlike the other monster-catching games, I’m very much not on this journey of my own volition. My well-timed savior turns out to be Kayleigh, who very casually informs me I’m no longer on Earth, and anyone that finds themselves in this alien world is trapped forever.
Another fantastic element in this story harkens back to the unusual welcoming quote. I quickly get caught up with a weakened, but still immensely powerful force named Morgante who calls out to Mordread and laments defeat at the sword of a foe. Anyone interested in Arthurian legends will recognize the similarity to the figures Mordred and Morgan Le Fay, who typically feature in antagonistic roles.
Now, I’ve got legendary lore on my hands on top of a Pokémon-esque structure. I’m all in. I can’t wait to see where this unusual pairing takes Cassette Beast‘s intriguing story, lyrical motif, and recognizable fights.