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tomc

Quoth the Raven, Nevermort

Hi everyone, I’ve got two new monsters to show you this week!

Nevermort, the plague-bearer.

Nevermort, the poison-type bird, is a pest common to the south of the island of New Wirral. Nevermort are most feared for their disease-spreading dive-bombing of passersby, and cacophonous squawks, but also pose a minor nuisance on Piper Farm in the west. Regardless, it’s best not to get on their bad side if you don’t want to be outnumbered–they’re known for calling to each other for help when in need!

It must be noted that the Nevermort does not have a beak—rather, it is wearing what appears to be a porcelain plague doctor mask. What face lies beneath the mask is something better left undiscovered.

Allseer, the curious watcher.

Whether the metal-type Allseer is a machine from elsewhere, or a creature native to New Wirral is impossible to tell. Allseer are mostly seen at night, around large bodies of water and dense forests, hovering several meters off the ground. They get their name from their unnerving behaviour, wherein they appear to silently observe passing humans with a single unblinking scarlet “eye”. Their motivations, and their underwater activities, remain a mystery.

That’s all for this week. As always, don’t forget to wishlist Cassette Beasts, join the growing community on our Discord server, and keep up with Cassette Beasts news on Twitter! Catch you all later!

Unwind & Rewind

All good adventurers need time to rest, and what better way to chill out than by sitting down to chat with your companion? In Cassette Beasts, when you need to heal up, you’ll locate a campfire to sit down at, and spend some quality time with your travelling partner!

The campfire spots across New Wirral mark areas that it’s safe to set up camp. At these locations, you’ll get a chance to heal yourself, rewind your tapes, and transfer tapes in and out of storage.

Spending time with your buddy strengthens your relationship with them. Strong friendships create strong fusions, so this is not something to be underestimated. And who knows, maybe it’ll lead to something more… 💕

If you’re excited for Cassette Beasts, make sure to head over to our Steam page and wishlist the game! We hope to have some big announcements coming sooner rather than later, so stay tuned! You can follow us on Twitter, and join our growing Discord community!

Collecting Stickers

Hey folks! Today I’m going to run you through how you’ll be able to configure your monster tapes with new moves and abilities! Scroll down if you’re just here to check out the new beast, Palangolin.

This ‘rare’ version of Shield Bash also puts the target to sleep.

In Cassette Beasts you’ll fight by using your cassette tapes to transform into the monsters you’ve recorded. At first, your tapes won’t have many moves to use in battle, but as you spend more time using them they’ll unlock new ones. If you don’t like the moves a tape gets by default you can always replace them using stickers! A move you don’t want can be peeled off as a sticker, freeing up an empty slot for you to put a different move sticker down!

You’ll get move stickers in a few ways (including by peeling them off of other tapes), but what’s important is that you can always easily peel and apply them to customise your combat abilities. In some ways, finding a good set of stickers is just as important as finding a good set of tapes. Not all stickers are compatible with all tapes of course, so if a particular strategy you have in mind requires certain moves, you may need to take that into consideration when choosing your tapes.

Some stickers provide a passive ability instead of a regular attack. And some stickers affect which branch your tape will take when evolved. So they’re pretty useful things with wide variety of effects!

Occasionally, you’ll come across a sticker marked as ‘Uncommon’ or ‘Rare.’ These stickers come with added randomised attributes that provide bonuses over the regular ‘Common’ version of the sticker, such as increased damage, or a chance to provide a buff, or inflict a debuff.

Here are some more examples (click to zoom):

Smack is a basic attacking move that costs no AP. You’ll use this when you’re saving up AP for your big attacks. In addition, it’s typeless, so here it’s getting the Plastic type from my Traffikrab.

This version of Smack has two uncommon attributes: one that will sometimes let your attack go before others, and one that gives you a higher critical hit rate the more sticker slots you leave empty. Fully upgraded and evolved tapes have up to 8 sticker slots, so this is quite good!

Inflame is a ranged Fire-type attack. This one has two uncommon attributes that work really well together: one increases the damage dealt by critical hits, while the other guarantees a critical hit when you’re at a type advantage (in addition to the usual debuffs type advantaged-attacks inflict).

AP Refund is a passive ability, a kind of move that you don’t use manually, but is triggered automatically by certain conditions. This AP Refund sticker has one uncommon (green) and one rare (blue) attribute. The uncommon attribute increases the chance of AP Refund taking effect after I use another move. The rare one passively increases my Melee Attack stat by 3%. As long as I have the tape and the sticker equipped my Melee Attack stat is higher!

Elemental Wall is a status effect move that a lot of monsters can get access to. It creates a wall in front of the user can block incoming hits for a while. There are various ways of countering walls with type chemistry, multi-hit attacks and so on, but what’s interesting here is its rare attribute: it has a chance to automatically be used (for free) at the start of battle!

And that’s just a taste of the moves and attributes available! So far the game has more than 170 moves with plans for more, and over 60 different kinds of attributes.

Rare and uncommon stickers can be obtained by upgrading your tapes through combat, and from certain chests and merchants. Bootleg monsters have a slightly higher chance of unlocking rare and uncommon stickers when upgraded!

Palangolin

You might have noticed a new monster in the video above. It’s Palangolin, chivalric knight of principles and honour. Palangolins wield striking golden halberds, which they use to defend their allies in the heat of battle.

Palangolin, the heroic paladin pangolin.

Finally, in case you missed them, here are a couple of little videos we’ve tweeted over the last few weeks–including a quick look at the bestiary, and a timelapse of the day-night cycle! And hey, while you’re here, don’t forget to wishlist Cassette Beasts on Steam!

A Fight To The Glitter End

Happy new year everyone! I hope you all managed to get some rest and keep safe over the holidays. Today I want to celebrate the shiny new year by showing you a shiny new visual effect!

Glitter-type bootleg Dandylion transmutes Dominoth.

We introduced Cassette Beasts’ Glitter type back in our Elemental Chemistry post. If you want more info about the types go back and check out that post, but otherwise here’s a quick summary:

There are 14 elemental types in Cassette Beasts, including some you’d expect, such as Fire and Water, and some you wouldn’t, such as Plastic and Glass. Out of all of them, the strangest is Glitter.

Type match-ups in Cassette Beasts produce status effects that can be either buffs or debuffs depending on which type is strong against which. In some cases the status effect can temporarily ‘transmute’ (change) the target’s elemental type. An example is Fire melting Ice-type into Water-type.

The Glitter type is unique in that it transmutes all types to Glitter (and is transmuted by all types). It kind of emulates glitter in real life–once glitter gets onto something everything that thing touches gets covered in glitter too! Tactically, it can be used when your monsters’ types put you at a disadvantage, but can go quite wrong if you get the turn order wrong and are hit with glitter yourself!

There are no natural Glitter-type monsters so your options for making use of Glitter are to obtain the Glitter Bomb attack, or to find and record a rare bootleg monster.

Bootleg monsters are monsters with alternative color schemes, types and movesets. They have a very low spawn rate, so are sort of analogous to ‘shinies’ in other games. Although normally Plant-type, the Dandylion in the GIF above is a Glitter-type bootleg, making it a literally shiny shiny!

Going Underground

Hey folks, here’s a little look at what I’ve been working on since last week: caves! Before I go into much detail though, keep in mind that Cassette Beasts is still under development and anything mentioned here could change before its release.

Side quests in Cassette Beasts can often take you to caves in any part of the island of New Wirral. Caves can be entered at any time though, so if you’re looking for valuable resources, rare monsters, or just new routes and shortcuts across the island, you may want to explore them anyway.

Caves can be found in a lot of places if you’re looking for them.

The contents of caves vary a lot. Some simply contain one of the caches the rangers leave around to encourage exploration. Others contains puzzles to solve, or test your skill with your movement abilities!

But one thing all caves have in common is that they’re inhabited by some quite fearsome monsters. Rogue Fusions–minibosses that are half one monster and half another–can be found here. These ferocious beasts attack on sight, and when they get to the surface can cause drastic weather and ecological disturbances. Part of the reason the rangers were set up in New Wirral was to keep these creatures under control!

Facing down a Plastic/Air type ‘Stardinoth’ miniboss–a fusion of Stardigrade and Dominoth that has an altered type and moveset.

Defeating a rogue fusion splits it into its two component monsters, who will then be able to have a chance at regular monster life.

Rogue fusions are a good source of bootleg monsters to record for your tape collection. Bootlegs have altered colour schemes, types, and movesets. Having one in your party can open up a ton of new battle strategies!

There are several much more substantial dungeons (and bosses!) to find around New Wirral, but we’ll write about those another time.

Several more substantial dungeons are scattered across the island as well.

That’s all we have for now! As always, to keep up with the latest info, follow our studio twitter account and/or join our growing Discord community!

If we don’t find time to post again before the new year, then I hope you all have safe holidays and a happy new year!

New Wirral Park

Development on Cassette Beasts has been going really well! Today I want to show you some gameplay footage of New Wirral Park. So here’s Jay expertly dodging all the monsters and sneaking past NPCs!

New Wirral Park is the first major open area you come to after the game’s opening, with connections leading off to several others. We’re drawing inspiration from Breath of the Wild in the world design–there are many ways through each area and multiple ways to solve each puzzle.

There aren’t any flat surfaces you can see here that you can’t somehow get to and walk on, but sometimes you’ll need special abilities! These abilities can be obtained by recording certain monsters to tape. In the video you can see the Mothwing Glide ability and Electromagnetism. The rest we’ll show another time!

Townsfolk whisper rumours and speculate about something large buried under New Wirral Park. The Dandylions in the park must be guarding something, after all…

Harbourtown Outskirts

New Wirral’s rangers keep this gate locked to keep monsters out of Harbourtown. But it’s been fairly quiet for a few days now!

Vinyl

On an unrelated note, we’ve teamed up with Black Screen Records on their free vinyl Sounds of Summer 2020. You’ll be able to listen to the full version our Cassette Beasts reveal trailer song “Same Old Story,” along with 13 other indie game tracks!

Cassette Beasts

Hi folks! It’s Tom and Jay of Bytten Studio here! You might have seen our previous release as a studio: Lenna’s Inception–a procedurally-generated action-adventure RPG, with a branching narrative and two complete art styles. Other games we’ve worked on include Stardew Valley, Starbound and Wargroove!

Today we’re revealing our new project: Cassette Beasts. This has been in the works since late last year–keeping it quiet all this time has been quite a challenge to say the least! So without further ado…

Grab your cassette player, it’s time to transform!

Collect awesome monster forms to use during turn-based battles in our indie open-world RPG. Combine any two monster forms using Cassette Beasts’ Fusion System to create unique and powerful new ones!

Welcome to New Wirral, a remote island inhabited by creatures you’ve only dreamed of, nightmares you hopefully haven’t, and a cast of brave folks who use cassette tapes to transform for battle. To find a way home you’ll need to explore every inch of the island, and record monsters to tape to gain their abilities!

Transform into monsters using… retro cassette tapes?!
Faced with the constant threat of monster attacks, the residents of Harbourtown, New Wirral choose to fight fire with fire. Record a monster to tape, then play it back to take on its form for battle!

Fuse monster forms
Getting close to your companion has benefits–while transformed you can combine your strengths to gain the upper handle in battle! Any two monster forms can be fused to produce unique, fully-animated new fusion forms.

Explore a rich open world
Certain monster abilities can be used in human form. You’ll need these to help you get around, solve puzzles, and locate dungeons. Glide, fly, swim, climb, dash, go invisible, or turn magnetic!

Travel alongside a diverse cast of human companions
Never fight alone! Form bonds, spend time together, and help your selected partner complete personal goals to become a better team. The strength of your relationship determines how well you’re able to fuse!

Master a deep battle system
Take advantage of elemental chemistry to apply extra buffs or debuffs alongside your attack, or even alter your opponent’s elemental type!

🌟 Coming to Windows & Linux! Consoles TBC 🌟
Price & Release Date: TBA

Cassette Beasts is something of a dream game for us. We can’t wait to share it with you all! 🙂

We’re currently looking for funding and publishing partners. If you’re as excited about Cassette Beasts as we are, you can help spread the word by sharing this post!

PS. For anyone wondering if this announcement changes it–the 1.1 update we announced for Lenna’s Inception is still on the way.

Fusion

Fusion is our headline feature for Cassette Beasts. It’s something that is so rarely available in the monster-collecting genre, but frequently requested by the fanbase! There are so many pieces of awesome Pokémon fusion fan art out there…

To get a feel for how Cassette Beasts’ fusions look, and what sort of variety you get out of just 6 basic monsters, check out our interactive online demo. In the final game we estimate there will be 120 basic monsters, which gives us a total of 120², or 14,400, unique fusions. If you include all of the bootlegs as well–rare monsters with alternative palettes, types and learnsets–the total comes to… a lot more: 2.8 million. (Caveat: specific numbers are quite likely to change before release!)

Springbomb
Pomrattle

Big numbers are all well and good, but what does fusion actually mean to the gameplay?

Fusion works like a temporary evolution during battle. After transforming your player character and companion into monsters, you can fuse them into a single battler! For the remainder of the battle (or until you un-fuse) the two characters work as one, with dual typing, combined stats, and access to both sets of moves.

Fusion works in tandem with several other systems in the game:

  • Relationships
  • Action points
  • Procedural bosses

Relationships

When you battle in Cassette Beasts, you’re not fighting alone. There are several companion characters you can meet and travel with. By completing personal tasks for your companion you can improve your relationship with them. The strength of your relationship determines whether you can fuse, and how strong your fusion is!

In fact, Fusion Power, the most powerful attack in the game, can only be used by maxing out your relationship and then fusing. Fusion Power’s exact effects vary depending on which two monsters you’ve combined.

Stardibomb

Action points

In a lot of turn-based RPGs, attacks cost a certain amount of a resource to use. This resource is often called something like stamina, MP or PP. Designers use these costs to encourage you to do some tactical decision making. Spamming your highest-power attack every time is boring, after all! Unfortunately, the designers are not always successful at achieving this.

In Pokémon, PP doesn’t matter at all unless you’re in a long dungeon or facing the Elite Four. Even then, recent games are so generous with Ethers and Elixirs that you don’t ever have to worry about running out of PP. During the story, it’s pointless to use anything other than your highest-power damaging moves.

Games with MP systems often run into this too. Eventually you level up enough that your MP limit or your MP regeneration rate is so high that you never need to use anything other than your highest power spell. Instead of giving you more options and more challenging tactical decisions, the game effectively takes options away as you progress because using anything other than your highest-power attack is pointless.

To work around this, some developers add cooldowns on top of MP or PP systems, but IMHO this is inelegant. It can be needlessly tiresome to plan several turns ahead when you have to consider cooldowns as well as points.

Dandykrab

For Cassette Beasts, we’re taking inspiration from board games–we’ve chosen a variation on Action Points.

Battle starts with every character on 0 AP. At the start of each round everyone gains 2 AP (up to their maximum). Then, they can all choose one move to use that turn. Each move costs a certain amount of AP: lower-power attacks are cheap (or free), while high-power ones can cost as much as 10 AP.

Every turn you’re faced with the decision of whether to save or spend your AP. Balanced around AP like this, every move in the game has its place in the battle system. There are no useless moves, because the weaker, cheaper moves let you save up AP for your big attacks.

A legitimate criticism of AP systems is that they can make battles slow. This would be a major problem for a game that bombards the player with repetitive random encounters, but that’s not our intent anyhow.

So anyway, when you’re fused you gain the same total amount of AP (i.e. 4 AP) each turn. However since it’s all on one character now, you build up points towards your most powerful attacks quicker.

Fusing lets you unleash more powerful attacks sooner. It’s such a little thing, but it makes a huge change to the feeling of fusion battles!

Procedural bosses

The player character is not the only one who can use fusion–certain NPCs can as well! And one plan we have for late- and post-game content involves creating boss fights out of fused monsters.

(We have pretty wild ideas for non-procedural bosses too. If you’ve played our other game Lenna’s Inception and liked the bosses there, you won’t be disappointed!)

Springgrade

Anyway, that’s all I want to share for now. Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share this post if you enjoyed it! ❤︎