Cassette Beasts is a turn-based, open-world monster-catching game by Bytten Studio. After waking up stranded on a mysterious island, you become determined to find a way back home. The catch — the island is inhabited by strange, aggressive creatures, and the only way to overcome them is by using a cassette tape to record and transform into the very beasts that would harm the humans living in the world.
It’s a very weird plot that gets progressively more “WTF” as the game goes on, but it works undeniably well in Cassette Beasts. Whilst the moment-to-moment dialogue isn’t too memorable, the overarching story beats offer a unique brand of creepy intrigue that compelled me to keep coming back for more.
This is due in large part by how your companions drive the main quest lines, NPCs you meet throughout your journey with their own objectives who will keep you company and fight alongside you in battle. Each companion was a distinct and fun inclusion, bringing their own funky cassette beasts to the party that matched their personalities. Which brings me to the monsters and combat mechanics.
Cassette Beasts delivers some delicious monster designs that genuinely make me want to go out and catch ‘em all. From clever pun names to cute aesthetics, each of the base 120 beasts has a charm that makes them irresistible. Some of your monsters can also be “remastered” and upgraded into powerful new forms that were always a treat to look forward to.
Combat is equally delightful, serving up a considerable challenge with a deep set of mechanics that made every encounter engaging and enjoyable. Classic tropes of the genre are reimagined in Cassette Beasts. Type match-ups utilize a “chemistry” system where elements react to cause status effects, requiring strategy to avoid or exploit. Progressing through the story, you can also unlock the Fusion ability. Fusion allows you and your companion to work together and literally fuse your creatures together, crafting a whole new, ultra-powerful beast to take on the tough bosses that reside within the world. When it comes to your cassette beasts’ skills in combat, moves are represented by stickers that can be freely and interchangeably equipped between your creatures, with some thematic restrictions.
For the shiny hunters, Cassette Beasts has “Bootlegs,” unusually colored monsters whose rare color schemes imbue their beasts with new elemental types, making them a worthy addition to your team.
Everything in Cassette Beasts works in synergy to support all of the other systems within the game. Catching monsters unlocks abilities that allow you to better traverse the open world, preventing you from getting too slammed by level differences within its self-paced gameplay loop. The game also brilliantly solves the problem of encountering a beast you want to record that is a lower level by determining its power based on your character’s level instead.
Cassette Beasts features a seamless drop-in, drop-out local co-op mode, which is a fabulous addition that lets you grab a friend anytime to take over the companion role and experience the game together.
For a game with a musical theme, the sound design was on the repetitive side, but the main theme is incredibly catchy, meaning that the music and sounds were noticeable, not annoying.
If you love monster-catching games, I can’t recommend Cassette Beasts enough. It’s mechanically deep with super fun combat, filled to the brim with content and creatures so you’ll always have something to get excited about. A delightful and delicious romp, Cassette Beasts is well worth your time.
Cassette Beasts is available now for $19.99 on Steam and PC Game Pass with an undated release expected on Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, and Nintendo Switch later this year.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Cassette Beasts.