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Cassette Beasts: yo wanna check out my pokérap mixtape


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Took a while, but we've finally hit our first monster that has no remaster forms. If you get Thwackalope in your roster, it stays Thwackalope no matter what. The immediate inspiration for this Air type is the jackalope you've seen in many a midwest Americana diner or tourist gift shop. It's got a few stranger elements to it, like the wings, which borrow more from the German wolpertinger, but the most curious thing is its weapon of choice. Upon reaching maturation, Thwackalopes make themselves a weapon from the environment, with most favoring the metal post found in the ground it was... buried in? Is this actually an undead rabbit come to life in cryptid form? Huh, okay, sure, Thwackalope can be undead, why not. The design is nothing too out there beyond the rebar club though: it's still a wolpertinger but slightly more humanoid. Probably one of the most straightforward "this is just a real cryptid" monsters we've yet covered.

Thwackalope's a melee speedster, nice and simple. It does have the signature move Pole Vault Assault, which is pretty expensive at 7 AP but lands two punchy melee hits on a target, making it perfect for blowing past the last part of a wall. The statline is very similar to Tokusect or Ripterra, roughly midway between the two, and it's got some really wide coverage for both melee moves and utility options, the latter including Fog, Beast Wall, and Déjà Vu. Its stats outside of melee offense and speed are all pretty average, and it has some ranged moves if you really want to have that as a backup option, so it's not hardlocked into the melee rushdown lifestyle, even if it likes it there.
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Today's design is Allseer, a Metal type that makes no bones about exactly what it is supposed to be. This is just straight up a UFO as a catchable monster, and that's a really cool idea that I have some mixed feelings about. The name comes from how Allseer spends most of its time just watching people through its single "eye", but I do want to draw some attention to the design of that eye, and the stripe pattern around the edge of the saucer. Although no mention of it is made in the bestiary, all of the monsters in the Allseer line have some elements that borrow from ancient Egyptian iconography. In Allseer's case they're pretty subtle, but the obvious connection to the conspiracy theory that aliens built the pyramids is there, and these days unless someone goes for the Futurama line and says the aliens were actually inspired by the Egyptians instead of the assumed other way around (which Cassette Beasts could go either way on in my book), I'm going to immediately start glancing askance at them.

Anyway, let's table that as a discussion point. As a monster, Allseer is fine with me. It favors ranged offense and melee defense, and while Metal ranged attacks are both rare and not innately available to Allseer, it can learn them. However, Allseer's moveset leans heavily into the expected Astral type. Its unique signature attack, Wonderful 7, is even Astral type! This move is a bit expensive, but hits decently hard and inflicts a random status effect on the target. If you can get the AP needed to spam it, Wonderful 7 alone can carry you through a bunch of difficult fights, since Berserk, Sleep, and Confusion are all among its ailments it can possibly inflict. It also is one of the few sources of the alien-exclusive Close Encounter move, which you can target someone with to force all their moves to be melee, like the opposite of Clocksley's Spring-Load ability!



Allseer has two possible remasters, but unlike most cases, it's the hidden remaster that comes first in the bestiary. If you remaster it with that Close Encounter move equipped, it emerges from its spacecraft to become Khufo. Named after one of the most notable pharaohs of Egypt, Khufo is a conqueror rather than a negotiator, and uses its staff, apparently forged with "mysterious unearthly technologies", as a weapon. Again, I'm really hoping for the Futurama angle here, because a warmongering alien destroying its foes with tech inspired by a culture it thought was cool is incredibly funny. And as a pure "I Want To Believe" little gray man alien, Khufo is fine, fun even. I'm just tired of conspiracy theories pushing racist ideas is all.

Khufo's claim to fame is being a mixed attacker that can use melee or ranged offenses with equal potency, without sacrificing much in terms of defense. Its melee defense is even a little better than average, and it comes with a few handy support moves as well. Most of these are self-buffs like Déjà Vu, but it also has access to Mind-Meld, which lets it share its moveset with its ally! The advantage of Mind-Meld compared to fusion is obvious, in that you have two people slinging those moves rather than one, and you don't have all your power tied to a single point of failure, but you don't get the benefit of the combined stats that come with fusion. This combination of traits makes Khufo one of the rare monsters that can be useful with almost any partner in the game, whereas more hardline offensive, defensive, or support monsters might have to be more choosy about who they fight alongside.



If you wanted your UFO to stay a UFO, well, we can't do that. From a Traffikrab fan, you have my sympathies. We got the next best thing though: upgrading to the Big Dog of classic UFOs, with Triphinx! Obviously inspired by the classic tripods of The War of the Worlds, Triphinx also manages to capture the Egyptian themes the best without making them too overwrought, with the armor plating reminiscent of the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. I like Allseer a lot, but Triphinx is, like Lobstacle before it, a fully acceptable alternative to an otherwise perfect form.

Its stats pretty much continue the gameplan of Allseer, completely sacrificing any and all melee potential to just have good stats in everything, but especially ranged offense. And as Pokémon has indicated, that kind of single focus on one type of firepower is a strong recipe for success. Triphinx gains some extra moves and coverage, and it even can use Magnet to draw attacks to it if you want to play defensive, but really, if you're playing Triphinx, you have one move you want to use as often as possible, and it's still Wonderful 7. You have the fourth best ranged offense in the game and your only bad stat is one you'll never use, why not just swing with the best weapon you have repeatedly?

I've talked about the ranger captains preferring this or that monster here or there, but today's line is the favorite of probably the most unique of all. Arrivals to New Wirral can come from many different eras or realities or what have you. Kayleigh comes from around the present day, Meredith from a few decades past, Eugene from a slightly distant future. Clee-0 is our furthest future arrival, and she's a highly sophisticated android with incredible odds calculation algorithms. She's also a coin operated waitress for an Egypt-themed casino and she hates that so much. She takes out her anger management issues on the player upon booting with multiple members of the Allseer line, each sporting Gambit as a move. And let me tell you, Triphinx backed by Gambit is scary. Winning against her basically requires an all-out defensive playstyle, because if she gets a chance, she'll blow through your tapes one by one, and you won't have the punch to get past her defenses first.
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One more cryptid for the pile! Braxsuit comes in as an Air type representing the Flatwoods Monster. I was always kind of confused why Braxsuit and its remaster were Air types, considering they're based on a cryptid that's generally considered to be an extraterrestrial. However, similar the Hopskinville goblin that inspired Springheel's line, the Flatwoods Monster is generally believed to be a greatly misinterpreted barn owl. And Braxsuit's own description gives no answers, simply talking about how the creature prides itself on its clean-cut appearance. I guess they're just making it an Air-type with the owl inspiration, distant from Springheel's Beast type but not too out-of-the-ordinary besides. Except the monster itself just looks like a timid office worker, which is a cute direction to take its inspiration.

Not that it actually matters much in practice. Braxsuit's an Air type but with plenty of Astral moves to work with, relying on its speed and the unique self-buff Suit Up to offset its weak defenses. It's comfortable fighting with melee or ranged moves and has an extremely wide movepool, whether its attacks or status effects. Most of the fun tricks we saw from the Alseer line are available to Braxsuit. It's also got a few moves that let it no-sell status effects, like Insomnia to negate Sleep, or Breathing Technique to prevent Berserk.



The remaster here is another one of those "more of the same" remasters that are nice when you know exactly what you're here for and don't need any changes. And I, for one, love that Flapwoods started from "Flatwoods Monster", went through the filter of Braxsuit being an office drone concerned about its appearance, and then dove right back into full-blown alien design. The tie is even still there, but now with everything all floating and segmented, it really starts looking impressive. The face still has the same goofy blank stare of the previous form, which the bestiary describes as "vacant" and "extremely unnerving". Is this another one of those monsters that just stares at you, intently, without ceasing? Those are fun.

Flapwoods does pretty much the same stuff statwise as Braxsuit did in its playstyle as well as its appearance. A very speedy monster, with solid offenses whether melee or ranged, and lots of Astral options and status moves to really round the set out. The most interesting thing about it is that it's picked up Radiation Breath and Radioactive as possible stickers, making it the only Air type with access to those stickers. I wouldn't exactly expect something like this to be radioactive, but I can't say such a thing would surprise me! But yeah, Flapwoods' strongest aspect in fights is its versatility. No matter what it does, it'll come out quick and hit decently hard, and you can't possibly have an answer for every single thing it can do.
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did i do all of that?
I bought this game because of this thread but am absolutely addicted to mainline Pokemon games at the moment, so I haven't gotten to it yet. Thanks for posting about it, though, kept reminding me to buy it lol. I'll come back and read these entries once I've put some time into the game!


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The Catacombs update has gone live today, and with it, a handful of new monsters (and some remasters to existing monsters)! I've gone back and updated Diveal's post if you want to see its new alternate form, and I'll be incorporating the other new remasters as we arrive at them.


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Sand monsters sand monsters sand monsters! Sanzatime, representing the Earth type, is a really fun take on a monster classic. It's still got the whole "appendages formed from sand without a real body" thing going on that's oh-so-classic to the staple, but what sets Sanzatime apart is obviously the cool hourglass parts! Hourglasses are just such a neat device, simple in design and yet so sophisticated, and they're evoked time and again in other designs to excellent effect. Here, the hourglass, while broken, is still considered the core of Sanzatime as an entity, with the sand and its appendages withering away as it loses sand, or growing in power as it gains sand. There's no deserts in New Wirral, though, and Sanzatime is almost entirely seen around the various "spooky" biomes, such as graveyards, ruins, and marshes. So it's kind of got the same poltergeist feel as Pokémon's own sand monster, Sandygast!

Statwise, Sanzatime isn't fast, but it is durable. It's a melee brawler statwise, with Sharp Edges (obviously) and plenty of coverage. It also picks up lots of Glass type moves, fittingly enough. It's well-rounded enough to still be a capable ranged attacker, and it sports some powerful Earth moves, like Crumble and Sandstorm. That latter move is a new one, it hits the entire enemy party and lowers the timers of all of their active effects, making it extremely handy against anything buffing itself to unreasonable heights (especially if they're running Gambit). It's also the only non-canine monster to have access to Dog Years, which only makes sense, really.



When remastering, Sanzatime acquires enough sand to build up an entirely new body, becoming the titanic Fortiwinx! This is a much more archetypal sand monster, set apart by turning the hourglass ends into jagged "gloves" for punching, and getting a gas mask out of nowhere that even looks like it's crying sand. Oh, and can't forget the extra glass becoming jagged dorsal spines, that's cool as hell. My only real issue with Fortiwinx is that the name and bestiary both hint at an inspiration from the archetypal Sandman of Germanic folklore... but that doesn't really come across in the design at all. Fortiwinx is a really cool design, but aside from arguably being a man made out of sand, it doesn't really seem to have... any kind of connection with the Sandman.

At least that gets rectified in its moveset. In addition to bulking up and improving its stats across the board, Fortiwinx branches out into being able to mess around with sleep as a status effect, with Hypnotize on deck and gaining the Insomnia passive to grant it resistance to the same. Note that Hypnotize only has 50% accuracy in Cassette Beasts, comparing unfavorably with every other method of inflicting Sleep in Pokémon. However, Sleep also has more possible counterplay and synergy than it does in Pokémon, where the status effect is so singularly powerful that every conventional metagame restricts its usage sharply. We'll discuss it in more detail when we get to a certain critter later on, but for now, just rest assured that Fortiwinx isn't going to bend the entire meta around itself by existing.
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Summon for hire
My only real issue with Fortiwinx is that the name and bestiary both hint at an inspiration from the archetypal Sandman of Germanic folklore... but that doesn't really come across in the design at all. Fortiwinx is a really cool design, but aside from arguably being a man made out of sand, it doesn't really seem to have... any kind of connection with the Sandman.
FWIW, there's also a connection between the Sandman and gasmasks in the DC comics renditions - both Gaiman's Endless design and the more traditional ones that came before.


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One of the design philosophies Cassette Beasts has for its monsters, which it notes in the modding guide for the game, is to never have an inspiration begin and end at "elemental animal". If the most notable thing about your creature is that it's a real world creature but it has flames/stones/water/electricity adorning it, it needs another pass, something to really set itself apart. Pokémon's best designs also tend to follow this rule, usually by incorporating the biology of the monster into how it interacts with the element in question. So in that vein, we have here another Fire type, Salamagus. It's not just "a lizard that has fire powers", it's a lizard that uses pyromancy to achieve its fire powers! Salamagus has more than a few unique design elements too: the inexplicable fireball halo I could take or leave, but eschewing arms is always a fun design choice, and the big googly-eyes are notable enough that even the bestiary has something to say about them (notably, they are not googly eyes, but fuel pouches to support the fire Salamagus conjures). I'm also a fan of the color scheme, you can never go wrong with yellow/gold highlights on a blue backdrop.

To absolutely nobody's surprise, Salamagus is a ranged attacker through and through. Many of its abilities also have an appropriately magical "random chance" effect to them, with Damage Roll having much higher variance on its damage, and Roll Again letting Salamagus occasionally get a free random move at the end of the round. It has some fun options available to it for support as well, like Mind-Meld, Fire Wall and Sure-Fire. If it has a weakness, though, its a lack of type coverage on offensive moves: it's pretty much all Fire or typeless moves, with a rare couple of outliers like Icicle Dart or the new Magic Tome move.



Before the Catacombs update, Salamagus had only the one remaster available, going to the obvious next step with Pyromeleon. This monster isn't actually originally from Cassette Beasts, as it happens. Bytten Studios' prior game, Lenna's Inception, used a very similar enemy (albeit with a different color scheme) as its Wizzrobe stand-in, with their Pyromeleon warping around and shooting fire at the player at range. Pyromeleon in this game has much the same gameplan, and is described as being able to both breathe and control fire, unparalleled masters of the element. The ember on the tip of their tongue is even their way of flexing on bystanders, it's meant to be a demonstration of their raw mastery. It's pretty much exactly what you'd want as a bigger, better Salamagus, and that rules.

Pyromeleon's claim to fame is its ranged power, tied with Robindam and just ahead of Triphinx as the second highest in the game. It even has some respectable bulk to go with it, sacrificing only its melee offense, making it a clear contender for a meta staple. Its strategy is pretty much the same as Salamagus' before it, of backing its incredible stats with reliable ranged attacks, albeit largely Fire typed ones. Curiously, most of its new acquisitions are support moves, like Guzzle Fuel to steal AP from the target, or Frozen Ground to give a huge speed boost at the cost of accuracy. (And hey, what is Sure-Fire for, right?)



That Magic Tome move I mentioned above? That move is also used to get Salamagus' secret remaster, Adeptile! It goes from Fire to Astral type as it aims to have mastery over all forms of magic, not just fire, and the design is hilarious in a good way. See, it's so focused on the pursuit of knowledge that Adeptile has somehow evolved away all of its body save for its increasingly big-brained head, but it's still self-conscious about that so it uses the giant graduation robe to hide the fact. That's adorable! I love it! Combine with the over-the-top rotorboard complete with feather in cap and you have yourself an all-timer for monster design.

Adeptile trades away the raw power of Pyromeleon for significantly boosted defenses, parking it squarely among the heavyweights of the game (barring its lower HP). It comes with plenty of methods of putting that survivability to use, including Ritual, Nurse, Status Resistance to reduce damage-over-time effects, and Meditate, letting it build up its stats over multiple turns at the cost of self-inflicting Sleep while it does. Sadly, its offensive coverage doesn't increase much, merely gaining Shooting Star in addition to the already-solid Magic Tome for Astral moves, and I kind of figured it would be able to use a bunch of types, but I absolutely accept a tanky support option for Salamagus instead.
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Today's line is gonna be a bit of a wild one, although you wouldn't think it just to look at Muskrateer. The name wears the inspiration for the design on its sleeve, with a swashbuckling rodent astride a noble steed (ripped from a carousel ride). They're apparently notable for challenging any Squireys they encounter to duels, which leads one to think the swordplay is going to remain a central facet of the form even as it remasters, right? Well, just keep that in mind for a while. Like Squirey, Muskrateer starts as Beast type, but remasters to another type later, so the similarity is definitely there.

Muskrateer's got fairly low stats save for its speed and melee offense, but its movepool is just as solid as Squirey's, with Parry Stance and Retribution quickly and easily available to the duelist. It's got a bunch of melee moves to work with and some nice passives it can get, but curiously, it has Plastic as its preferred second typing. Still, this is a statline and archetype we've seen before, it works well, and we'd have no reason to expect Muskrateer to diverge significantly from that, right? ...Right?



WRONGO!!! Or to be more precise, the elements that Muskrateer plays upon to eventually become Ratcousel are still very much there, but they're absolutely not what someone looking at Muskrateer at a surface level would expect. Ratcousel is actually a creative take on the myth of the rat king, where a bunch of rats living in squalor and close proximity end up with their tails bound together. While there are technically documented examples of this behaviour, heavy skepticism on the phenomenon abounds, and amusingly its much more common among squirrels than rats. Regardless, Ratcousel is meant to be a display of what happens when multiple Muskrateers would come together as one entity. That noble steed Muskrateer rides turns out to be much more central than the entire "musketeer" iconography it was playing up the whole time. Now, this isn't a disparagement of Ratcousel's design, I actually quite like it in isolation (and the rats in the base of the ride apparently only open their eyes in death, which is a creepy and neat concept). The issue I have is that I'd expect most people to grab Muskrateer for the swordplay elements, only to be disappointed when it turns out what the line was actually going for.

This divergence also continues into Ratcousel's gameplay, going to a Plastic type with very well-rounded stats in everything BUT speed. It does have a signature attack, Clockwork Mouse, that packs a wallop at a somewhat high AP cost, but its movepool, like Flapwoods, is extremely broad and versatile, letting it have a wide array of options not everyone is equipped to deal with. It won't hit hard, go fast, or take hits well, but it can do all of those things passably, and it has plenty of creative ways to turn the tables on foes, like Copy That, Status Resistance, and Sturdy Armour. But again, if you wanted a rushdown fiend like Tokusect or Ripterra, you may find yourself disappointed by Ratcousel's extreme generalist approach.
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????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Ratcousel is actually a creative take on the myth of the rat king, where a bunch of rats living in squalor and close proximity end up with their tails bound together. While there are technically documented examples of this behaviour, heavy skepticism on the phenomenon abounds, and amusingly its much more common among squirrels than rats.
squirrel king?

Ratcousel is meant to be a display of what happens when multiple Muskrateers would come together as one entity.
So like some kind of "all for one and one for all" situation?


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We've got one of the more unique monsters with today's line, starting with Padpole. At first glance, it's pretty clear what we're looking at here: this is just Cassette Beasts' answer to Lotad, a funny little guy that incorporates lilypads into its design as a thing that's almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a tadpole. I like the very frog-like eyes, and especially like that they take the time to remind us that yo, frogs have long sticky tongues, isn't that WEIRD? It's when you start looking at the bestiary for the inspirations that things get odd with this line. They start referencing all sorts of fae folk that live in the water which I'm not entirely sure the line is really linked to, like the nixie for Padpole. But hey, this can be a nixie, that's fine.

Unsurprisingly, like Diveal before it, Padpole flexes to a separate element from its usual Water typing, namely Plant. Every single Padpole begins play with Plant Resistance, and it doesn't actually have any Water moves in its level-up sticker list, instead using typeless melee moves, Plant-type support moves like Plant Wall and Doc Leaf, and, of course, the Beast type Sticky Tongue attack that has low accuracy but can lower the target's Evasion. It's something of a melee offense/support hybrid in that vein.



Again, Frillypad is just a Cassette Beasts version of Lombre with slightly different inspiration. Still a funny frog monster, now with the lilypad hat curved around its head like some kind of helmet, and with a body that looks almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a frog. Lombre took inspiration from the Japanese kappa, but apparently with Frillypad it's more leaning towards a kelpie, which the bestiary describes as a shapeshifter that most commonly appears as either a horse or a beautiful woman. If you see either of those forms in Frillypad, let me know, though. I don't think Frillypad's design is bad, mind you, just that I think the mythological inspiration was kind of glued on after the design was finalized as the closest thing. Ah well.

Frillypad starts actually getting Water moves in its level-up list, including Fog to protect it from ranged attacks, and the only melee Water move in the game, Boil. That sounds like it'd be a really limited movepool to work with, but remember: typeless stickers are real and strong and your friend. Absolutely nothing stopping Frillypad from packing Bish Bash Bosh, Last Rites, or The Old 1-2. And its still got the melee stat to back that kind of oomph up, plus enough speed to keep up with the pack. If you're using Frillypad, be sure to keep it defended, because it's HP is strictly average and its defenses are low.



I gotta be honest, I'm not sure how to feel about Liligator. Like, Pokémon concluded its similar line with Ludicolo, which is a heavily divergent design that could also be seen as kinda racist, but that at least had the decency to still keep the ball rolling. Liligator's packing more muscle than Frillypad, but the head weirdly went back to the standard lilypad design AND it obscures those cool frog eyes in the process, which makes the whole thing there feel like a lateral move that doesn't really get anywhere. At least the bestiary is on the same page as the design this time, referencing the grindylow as its inspiration, and yeah, that actually makes sense here. It's a strong-as-hell pond monster that looks like it could drag you into a watery grave without trying. Again, the design isn't bad, but this really is just a slightly different Frillypad.

Liligator keeps up the same build and capabilities of its predecessors honed to a razor-sharp point, packing the third-highest melee offense in the game (tied with Ripterra) and having solid HP and speed but not much in the way of other stats. It's actually the monster of choice for another ranger captain, Buffy, who puts that high stat to use with an engine built for AP generation. There's a lot of moves that let you build up loads of AP on your monsters, and if you dedicate your partner to that kind of raw support (with moves like AP Factory to pass all the AP you have to your ally at the end of the round, or AP Steal to stall out your enemy while building up your own power) then yeah, you could potentially have a critter able to swing Last Rites every other turn. You do have to deal with wall-using foes since all that power still only hits a single layer of defense, but it's a strong strategy.
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That Old Chestnut

Been playing this for a minute (beat the main story, and now started doing the Ranger quests), and I have to say I love this game, right down to the world building. One of my many favorite things about New Wirral is that it's basically been around since at least the days of the ancient Greek philosophers, and a huge chunk of 'em found their way here. You even have Diogenes and the barrel he slept nekkid in! Look forward to whatever these folks do in the future. I'd love to see them flesh this out even more!

The problem comes from how fusing with new teammates happens. Kayleigh unlocks fusion with her during the prologue as mentioned. Most other companions, like Meredith, only ask you go clear a single area with them, usually culminating in an Archangel fight where you end up fusing during the showdown. In effect, you complete that partner's personal questline. That's still the same for Eugene, but in his case, his questline involves finding and busting all the vampire(?) bases on New Wirral, a task roughly equivalent to completely defeating Team Rocket in the original Pokémon titles. So you get this bombastic guy with a neat signature tape as soon as you're out of the prologue, but are locked out of one of the basic gameplay mechanics for him until you're like... 60% of the game through at an optimistic estimate. And that really sucks!

Yeah, I noticed that too, and it's definitely a wtf? for me. (on the positive, though, his quest also hosts probably my favorite Archangel in the whole game). I'm also pretty sure I did a couple things out of order, because I found myself way overleveled for a good couple portions of the game. I can appreciate the more open world, but it could probably stand to be balanced a bit more, maybe? Or maybe more of a clear indication of the "proper" order in which to tackle obstacles? Hard for me to say, really.

Only other real complaint so far is that I would've loved to see the team get even more batshit with the Archangels. They're easily a highlight.


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Here's another great example of Cassette Beasts drawing from more Western (specifically European) mythology rather than Japanese. Elfless is exactly what they look like: a funny little Father Christmas (Santa Claus for those of us in the Disparate Territories of the New World) elf with a wooden mask! That mask has a lot of personality both in design and lore, as it's created specifically to hide the true emotions of the Elfless, and they all get together for one day a year to craft new masks according to unsubstantiated rumors. And, naturally, such a fun concept is the first Ice type in the bestiary (excluding Diveberg, which was added in an expansion and is actually #122, whereas Elfless clocks in at #066). It's a great representation of the type and I adore it, even if the only "icy" elements on display are the frozen bauble on its hat and the bluish skin.

Speaking of, Ice is a MUCH more viable type than it is in Pokémon. In Pokémon, Ice has a number of advantageous threats it can encounter, but altogether too many weaknesses to make any Ice-type not already committed to a balls-to-the-wall rushdown style basically useless. As a type in Cassette Beasts, though, Ice is much more viable and inert, probably because it's not basing every part of its character around "how does a single sheet of ice react to all of these threats". Ice's biggest prey is Water, since Water attacks just bulk it up for extra defense, and it can, obviously, freeze any Water types, turning them to Ice type themselves and flinching them, causing them to lose their next action. Likewise, Ice, being just frozen water, is easy prey for Lightning monsters, since it's conductive as all hell. It also chills Air types, lowering their accuracy. As for defense, the only type capable of actually smashing through Ice's defensive stats is Metal this time around, and Fire types just melt Ice into Water types, an even worse matchup for them. Elfless is likely to be the player's first introduction to the type, and as such, it has a solid spread of generalist stats and moves to work with, including Treat to give itself or an ally a random beneficial status effect.



You might be thinking, isn't it a bad idea to constantly hide your emotions for 364 days at a time? And you'd be right, because Elfless' default remaster is the fierce Grampus, a hulking brute armed with a massive candy cane club and the intent to use that on basically anything and everything it encounters. Equal parts Krampus, Grinch, and Yeti, Grampus is the natural final step one would expect of the most vicious kind of creature the Yuletide season has to offer. Curiously, it keeps the wooden mask, but has now painted it to accurately reflect its sour temperament. It's mad as hell and tired of pretending it's not.

Fittingly, Grampus packs a huge amount of bulk, being a beastly melee attacker capable of taking a huge amount of punishment before going down. Not exactly fast, but don't discount Grampus just because of that. It's got a signature move unique to the line, Yule Regret That (how great is that name?), which scores an automatic critical hit if the target has taken any damage before it hits. The move is a little expensive if not used properly though, and Grampus can just use Ice Breaker as an alternative if it's not trying to combo with allies without any issue. It's also capable of using Avalanche to shut down any melee attacks for the turn if it finds itself outpaced and wants to buy time for their buddy to set up.



Odds are good that if you see a fictional elf in a game, your hopes will either be for something like Grampus, leaning into the Christmassy aspect of things, or something like Faerious, to go full Tolkien. Faerious is a secret remaster only available to an Elfless that has been given a toy for its good behaviour (specifically, the Toy Hammer sticker, as a reliable Plastic-type attack). Faerious trades away the wooden mask for a wooden shield, showing its determined expression at all times and using their swordplay as an outlet for their suppressed emotions. I like that they picked the two most likely directions one would want to take a Christmas elf for its split remasters, and while I think Grampus is more my style, Faerious is also pretty cool, trading the icy bauble on its cap for exaggerated icy ears and a sick-looking frost brand of a sword.

Fittingly, while Grampus goes for raw power and bulk, Faerious instead elects to go for high speed, and picks up some coverage (such as Woodcutter for the obvious Plant-type attack) and Parry Stance to put that shield to work. It's also the first monster we've seen to naturally pick up Glitter Bomb, the only Glitter-typed attack move in the game, as part of its star list of moves. This allows Faerious to get into the shenanigans of changing the enemy's typing into something more advantageous, which for Faerious might include working with a Water type buddy to allow it to keep freezing the foe with Heroic Blade, eating half of their turns in the fight!
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Hell yes little mushroom guy. Brushroom is a Plant type (despite that fungi are neither plant nor animal but a secret third thing) that uses the oozing pigments atop their caps for their works of art. The bandana and smock give them an undeniable degree of charm, and it's a creative twist to make the enlarged cap double as the palette holding the various paints it uses. It's a pretty straightforward design in practice, but elegant enough that I find it a goodun all the same.

The real appeal of Brushroom comes from its signature combat gimmick, though. It's able to wield EVERY type of coating/camouflage move in the game, allowing it to freely paint over the types of both itself and its teammates. Furthermore, it has access to the unique and powerful Paint Swipe technique, which consumes whatever coating it currently has to attack the enemy, spreading the coating to them! While it can be used as a status-inflicting support, Brushroom works best when combined with a Camouflage move and a Custom Starter sticker to immediately sling a Paint Swipe at the start of the fight, almost guaranteeing that you'll be fighting something either it or your buddy has a type advantage against.



Brushroom remasters into Fungogh, which basically has the same concept as Brushroom, but taken to a more combat-capable form. In Fungogh's case, that comes with turning into a mustachioed martial artist, wielding its paintbrush like a combat staff and losing the smock for a sash-bearing outfit. I'm a little mixed on having the handheld palette here, because I liked the paint-cap idea Brushroom had going for it, but it's also pretty funny to delicately carry it around like a tray of drinks mid-fight. Regardless, I like Fungogh just as much as Brushroom. If you want a mushroom that is a painter and also a martial artist, this design has you covered in full.

While Brushroom's stats were a tad too generalist to make it really have any good niche, Fungogh leans into being a bulky melee attacker, giving its Paint Swipe attack some serious kick and picking up a bunch of strong melee moves as well. It can comfortably do its gimmick, fight with the toughest, or support its buddy with status effects and walls as needed, and it actually has the stats to make any of these routes a viable option. Mechanically, Fungogh is probably in my top five monsters in the game, which makes it awkward that I tend to main Lobstacle, which has such a similar gameplan with its ability to use any wall it wants.


It certainly doesn't hurt that this line is the signature tape of my favorite partner, Felix. Laid-back and affable, Felix is an artist himself, although his favored medium is zotes. What are zotes, you ask? Well, imagine the artstyle of Golden Age comics, but as applied to advanced zoetropes that can multithread loops and switch between them for layered animations. It's a fun way of highlighting that the characters don't only come from different points in time, but also slightly different realities, and zotes are an especially creative idea for how a more indie artform might look from one of these realities. In any case, Felix just has some very low-key vibes to him that I greatly appreciate, and that plus having the most Johnny of the signature tapes made him an instant pick for my regular traveling partner.

That, and his personal quest, but I'm not spoiling anything about that until we're good and damn ready.
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As fun as pulling inspiration from real-world folklore and mythology can be, it's equally fun to just invent an entirely different monster out of the blue, and that's what we've got for today's line. Boltam is a Lightning type that looks kind of like a monkey, save for the curious orb-shaped head. This metal head is known for its conductivity, which Boltam uses to channel a magnetic field around itself. This field lets it move incredibly quickly, both on the field and in fights, and should you record one, you'll be able to generate your own electromagnetic field to grab on to specific metallic objects or repel off of them as the situation demands. It's a fun power, and a fun little guy to get it from. not really a top ten design for me, but I think it's fine.

Boltam's stats are generally on the low side, save for its speed, which is able to keep up even with fully remastered foes. For the most part, it uses that speed for attacking maneuvers, and it comes with the Broadcast ability to keep it from getting bullied too hard by type disadvantage. The line also has a unique move, Bolt From The Blue, which summons another Boltam into the fray. It's debatable whether you'd want another Boltam around compared to tagging in regional monsters with Call For Help, and Bolt From The Blue doesn't have any higher success chance to recommend it. Still, it has its uses, as we'll cover with its remasters.



Prior to the Catacombs update, this was the only form you'd get for remastering Boltam. Plasmantler goes even more monsterly in this iteration, blending elements of primate and ungulate to striking effect. The head is still the same metal orb, but now the antennae have turned into more jagged horns, and it has a cool hovering ring around its neck as well. It's pretty much exactly what you'd want from a bigger Boltam, honestly. Its magnetic field is now powerful enough that it even works on non-ferrous matter, which sounds hokey at first and becomes more terrifying the more you know about physics. At least a gorilla or a moose just settles for tearing your flesh apart. A Plasmantler could hit you on the atomic level if it got strong enough.

Fortunately for all of our electrons, Plasmantler's stats remain generalist, with only speed and ranged defense being higher than usual. It uses this to great effect by grabbing the aggro-drawing Magnet ability and Lightning Wall, without slacking on getting attacks in its roster. Weirdly, its final move is Iron Filings, a Metal status move that inflicts Conductive on a target. You might recall that's what Lightning does by default to anything it has type advantage on. Well, now it can set that up on anything, and then use Bolt From The Blue, plus its own attacks, to proc that Conductive damage multiple times over. That's the strategy used by Captain Lodestein, who favors Plasmantler as his form of choice. For extra fun, if the Lightning-slingers in question multitarget their moves, every foe they hit trips Conductive again! That is a LOT of potential damage.



If you think the metal head of Boltam was more appealing than its nondescript monster form, good news! The Catacombs update included a fun alternate form that plays into that angle more. When remastering Boltam, you can choose between two aspects of lightning you'd like to embody. Thundering force gets you Plasmantler as before, while incredible speed gets Pinbolt instead! This one loses the mammalian basis almost entirely, instead evoking disembodied parts of a pinball machine all held together by magnetic force. The "flesh" from earlier is now wound around the central spring, save for one hand it uses to fire bolts of magnetic energy from its field. I'm torn between whether this is just a clumsy mashup of stuff, or whether it's actually genius and a fun way to have a monster that references pinball (a game my brother is a huge fan of, so I lean favorably towards it too).

Pinbolt is, naturally, faster than Plasmantler. It also trades away its defenses in favor of ranged offense, including some chance-based stuff like Damage Roll and Roll Again. It also sports Dual Wield, because there's no closer analogue to getting a multiball running, and Icicle Dart as an Ice attack that scales off of Pinbolt's top-ten speed. It's tied with Jormungold for sheer speed, and just ahead of the two closest runner-ups we've covered, Flapwoods and Thwackalope. Pinbolt definitely puts that speed to good use and would be a welcome addition to any team hoping for a quickdraw shooter.
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Today's line is a fun one. Busheye here is pretty much exactly what the name says: bush with eyes. The little antlers, tail, and legs bring to mind an imp using the bush as cover (or maybe the bush is just natural camouflage), and that's exactly what it does in setting. It's an ambush predator that can lay motionless for hours at a time, and is even only visible as a bush on the overworld (ironically something of a tell as there are no non-monster bushes). Occasionally, it dozes off and misses its chance to strike, which is one of those very adorable things you could absolutely see happening in a fairy tale story. Fittingly, the inspiration for Busheye from a mythological standpoint is the eponymous "green man" seen 'round the world as a symbol of spring. Not that I've seen it before, but hey, I get it.

Busheye's stats are, like most base forms, pretty unremarkable. Aside from high HP, its stats are all below average. It's got the moves to make that work, with Doc Leaf and Elemental Wall to stretch the health further, and a few simple attacks, but the true strategy of Busheye doesn't really appear until its first remaster, into...



The first remaster removes the eyes (which is kind of a double-edged sword for the design) and the tail, but defines the horns and legs a little more, and it gains a pair of arms now holding a ghostly torch! No longer strictly an ambush predator, Huntorch instead relies on its excellent tracking skills to pursue its targets from several miles off. This leans into a mythological reference I am familiar with, the Wild Hunt, a group of ghostly hunters that relentlessly chase down their quarry. Huntorch still has that little bit of cute clumsiness to it, as it's known to accidentally ignite itself with the torch from time to time, but personally, I don't think it's an accident.

Because Huntorch is where the line develops its unique move: Bushfire. This flavorful status move sets the user on fire for damage over time, while also changing their typing to Fire and bestowing them with a contact damage buff. The burn isn't a huge deal given the already-established defensive measures of Busheye, and the remaster to Huntorch saw sharp stat boosts to melee offense and speed, supporting a playstyle of walling up, setting regen, igniting, and then putting that contact damage to use on your foe. Huntorch also picks up a number of moves to lean into this risky melee playstyle, including Desperation, Hot Potato, and even New Leaf if you need to reset your tempo, unlikely though it might be.



This concept, both flavorwise and mechanicswise, gets further refined as you hit the final remaster for the line, Hedgeherne! Named for Herne the Hunter, one of the biggest names associated with the Wild Hunt, Hedgeherne has changed out its torch for a hunting horn, and the klutziness of its previous forms for ruthlessness. It's so singularly devoted to hunting its target that it will use that burning horn to set the entire forest alight to corner their quarry! Terrifying! Its form is also graduated even further, with the spindly imp body now fully extruding from the bushy layer, and the head looking almost completely alien with the honeycomb-shaped "face" and the fully grown antlers. This is a monster par excellence.

Hedgeherne complements its existing stats by increasing its ranged offense to match its melee, and bumping up its defenses ever so slightly. This ends up leaving it as a well-rounded generalist, which mostly goes to offense by its ability to use Bushfire in conjunction with the new Burning Passion passive to gain an offense boost whenever it catches fire. It's also got the Splinter passive for an extra layer of contact damage. The entire line, from start to finish, is custom built around its signature gimmick in a way that practically no other monster in Cassette Beasts really pulls off, and it does it very well. From a mechanics standpoint, Hedgeherne is an easy top five, and even its design is pretty cool and unearthly. This line rules!
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Y'all know Geodude, right? Pokémon's cave-dwelling rock monster du jour? Terracooka is the Cassette Beasts answer to Geodude, but instead of being merely a rock with arms and a face (not that I have any complaints about that) we have a little clay dogu figurine with an equally ceramic chef's hat. Dogu are a primarily Japanese phenomenon, but one of those that definitely has enough character to hang out with the more Western folklore entries that populate New Wirral. The chef motif is a little bit of a curveball for Terracooka here, but I think it works well enough that I don't have many complaints (aside from the stark white chef hat kind of clashing with the otherwise-solid color scheme). Naturally, Terracooka spends all its free time practicing new meals, but ingredients are an issue due to location, so most of its meals end up having lots of moss, lichen, or both.

Statwise, Terracooka's a pretty well-rounded Earth type, with low speed and slightly favoring melee. It's got the unique Clay-Fired passive for its line, giving it a defense boost any time Fire moves hit it, and has plenty of access to fiery status effects with moves like Hot Potato and Coal Story. It's also pretty good with walls, picking up both Earth Wall and Crumble, and it'll wield Sandstorm to harass your team long before you ever encounter a Sanzatime. For extra fun, Terracooka joins the exclusive list of monsters able to use Chemical Imbalance, alongside the Brushroom and Malchemy lines, to push a type-advantaged hit with a follow-up attack, and some decent type coverage (Boil, Toxic Stab, Plastic Knife, and Shooting Star being some good examples).



Terracooka remasters into Coaldron, transforming into an entire cooking pot overflowing with delicious broth. Don't go over expecting you can get a free meal though, as it can use that spout in its base like a swiveling turret to fire that scalding broth at its targets directly! The chef's hat has not only changed color to fit the motif a lot better, it's become a stove pipe to let off all the extra smoke and steam, and that's awesome and I love it. It's a fun graduation of what Terracooka was, even if the eyes are significantly less dogu-like.

Fittingly, Coaldron's gameplan is now that of a bulky ranged attacker, comparable to Sirenade but trading some ranged potential for more general defenses. This hurts its type coverage a little bit since most of its best options are melee (it doesn't even get Inflame) but it still has Shooting Star and Bottle Volley for Astral and Glass coverage (not that it needs Glass). Prior to the Catacombs update, though, Coaldron had a serious problem: it didn't get the same cap of 10 AP that every other fully remastered monster did! Which meant that even though it gets Headshot as its final move, it couldn't even use it. Fortunately, this has been rectified, and even before then it did still have AP Refund for a free chance to not spend any AP on an attack. Nowadays, AP Refund is best used to maintain tempo so you don't need to save excessively before firing off that Headshot.
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Stardigrade here is pretty much a normal tardigrade in a spacesuit, which primarily gets away with that kind of lateral move by virtue of the fact that tardigrades are just really dang weird anyway. Seriously, go look up tardigrades, they're WILD. Stardigrade isn't microscopic, and its form is simplified a bit from the usual folded pattern of its biological basis, but behaviourally it's very similar. It spends most of its time asleep in low atmosphere (tardigrades are capable of surviving in the vacuum of space, y'know), descending to New Wirral to feed every so often, and then blasting off into low atmosphere again. Naturally, its an Astral type, and if memory serves it was actually one of the first Astral type critters revealed for the game. Not really a lot to say here: want to have a tardigrade? Here, it's Stardigrade!

Let's go over its gameplay niche before semantic satiation kicks in. Stardigrade has an extremely skewed stat spread, putting almost everything it has into defenses and health. It's the first serious monster to abuse moves like Meditate and Hibernate that self-inflict Sleep, which means I'll be going over how that works now. See, a sleeping monster can still act, technically. It just has a drastically different moveset from usual. Sleeping monsters get three moves: Sleep Talk and Sleep Walk are extremely potent ranged/melee attacks, and Summon Tulpa is like Call For Help but renders whoever shows up permanently Ghostly. The catch is that all of these moves, by default, have exactly 1% accuracy. In Stardigrade's case, it begins play with Focus as a self-buff for accuracy, and it can use Mind-Meld to allow it to access the moveset of its buddy. And, of course, it can use those strong defenses with Provoke or Magnet if you want to stall out for your buddy, too.



The remaster takes a bit of a more "expected" insectoid form with Galagor, moving somewhat away from the original basis of Stardigrade, but that's still technically there. It's still more or less the same creature underneath its cool space armor, with the "core" visible under the glass dome of its helmet. Like Lobstacle or Triphinx before it, what we have here is a perfectly acceptable successor to the previous form, even if the previous form may have been a lot more appealing to certain people. And hey, you can't deny the style here, it's like one of those old arcade shmup enemies here! You could totally imagine swarms of these suckers firing cubes at a Flash Gordon style spaceship, right? Yeah! Also: it's hard to catch, but appreciate how sleepy-looking the "eyes" underneath the glass dome are. Even as a fearsome alienbug, Galagor just wants to nap.

Galagor's stats are mostly standard improvements on what Stardigrade had to offer, complete with being tied for the highest HP in the game and packing defenses to match. It also ratchets up its ranged offense enough to stat competitive, and grabs Shooting Star as a nice staple attack when it's not doing weird sleep-stalling strats. Still really good at those though, and it also learns Breathing Technique to offset the possibility of Berserking from its type disadvantages to Metal or Poison moves. To see the full strats you can pull with Galagor, there's a ranger captain by the name of Zedd, a self-styled "meditator", who builds his team fully around abusing the powers of Meditate and Hibernate, prominently making use of this line. In fact, his partner, in contrast with his own lethargic attitude, exclusively uses some of the Fire type monsters we've seen before, armed with Fire Wall and Sure-Fire to ensure that Galagor and its ilk remain deadly threats even if they aren't awake for it.
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Today's contestant leans into the zeitgeist of "the underlying evil lurking within all Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment Centers". Mascotoy is, as the name says, a mascot costume of a pastel-colored cherub thing, with the cutesy aesthetic offset by the X eyes and the vicious claws, and that's before you get to the fact that this costume has been put through the wringer. Lots of modern horror today does something with this, and even Pokémon's analogue, the Stufful line, takes their cute costume guy down a dark road of the dangers of mistaking a wild animal's threat display for friendliness. With Mascotoy, the flavor here is as close to an actual zombie as you can get without eating brains. It shambles around the abandoned Falldown Mall endlessly and aimlessly, bleeding out its polyester stuffing everywhere it goes. It's stuff that's been done before, perhaps a bit too often, but it's done well enough that I can't say I dislike Mascotoy, just that it's not my thing.

It does help that Mascotoy's combat gameplan extremely leans into the zombie thing with its stat build. It's got the melee offense to make even a single hit a fatal risk, even before remaster, and it can take a whuppin' with its HP and melee defense, but its ranged stats are subpar, and its speed is even worse. It's a Plastic type with the moveset to channel that melee power, including what else but Bite as a convenient flex Beast attack. And if you want to save AP for later moves, it has an assortment of low-AP debuff moves to work with. Just find ways to support it with its low speed, because you won't be outrunning pretty much any opposition.



As with all monsters, this concept gets taken to a bigger, scarier concept when remastered, which is impressive because Mascotoy was already pretty solid on its own. Mascotorn progresses from a zombie as interpreted by a mascot costume to a Resident Evil late-game T-virus horror as interpreted by a mascot costume. Gone are the disarming halo and heart pattern; it's now overflowing with the stuffing that's basically erupting out-of-control from the costume body. Apparently, the stuffing is still growing to an unsustainable level, and will eventually tear the creature to pieces given enough time. In the meantime, its one clawed arm gets even more vicious-looking, and its got some spikes extruding from the polyester mass in the back too. Mascotoy is kind of mid to me, but it had to shamble so Mascotorn could break into an impossible predatory sprint to impale a terrified sightseer. It's good, is what I'm getting at.

Still a slowpoke, though. Mascotorn commits to the bit Mascotoy set up, with melee power on par with muscleheads like Liligator and Ripterra and solid defenses, and speed that struggles to compete with basic enemies. It also picks up the fun Haunt/Ritual combo to really drive home the zombie theme of "it just won't die!", and while they're not in the default set, it's plenty capable of grabbing passives to further extend its longevity, like Sturdy Armor and Status Resistance, or its relentless offense, with Trap Jaw to upgrade its Bite to disable evasion, and Stab in the Dark as a cheap and powerful, but low accuracy, tool of an attack. If you want a bulky melee fighter with emphasis on "bulk", Mascotorn is an excellent pick.
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One of the more blatant references we've seen so far, Binvader here is practically a dead ringer for the iconic Daleks of Doctor Who infamy. The alien here is described as using a combat vehicle, which just so happens to look like a metal garbage can, with the actual critter being some kind of tentacled thing we never actually see in full. This is ground we've already treaded with Allseer's line, but Binvader's got a lot going for it to separate itself, even outside of the aesthetic homage. And since I don't follow Doctor Who and don't really find the design that impressive (I like how its armaments look like poorly-welded-on props though), I'm gonna move straight to that.

Binvader, obviously a Metal type, is best known for its signature move, Binvasion. It's a Fire type ranged attack that only hits as hard as a basic Spit and costs 3 AP, but hits a number of times equal to the number of Binvaders on your team. This sounds unimpressive given the fact that you can only have two party members at once by default, but there's a few ways to pull this number up. First, Binvader also has access to the move Binvitation, which calls for "help from the mothership" to summon another Binvader onto the field. That gives you up to 3. Second, Metal Wall, used by any members of the Binvader line, will create a little drone guy rather than the usual metal post, which is still a Metal Wall for all intents and purposes but also adds to Binvasion's hits. And third, Binvader's remaster also counts towards the number of attacks used, so let's look at them now!



Binterlopers are implied to be higher-ranked than Binvaders, and accordingly given more powerful and mobile combat chassis. I think that's a really clever way of setting the line apart from Daleks: using them as an inspiration for the base form, then going "how would we take our own form and upgrade it" and still coming up with something that fits the bill. Binterloper definitely FEELS like the iconic murderous alien conquerors of British pop culture, but in a much more unique style. It's not my thing, but I definitely appreciate what it's doing here.

Binterloper's got much of the same gameplan as Binvader. Statwise, the line's strengths are melee defense and ranged offense, fittingly enough. Binvader had a few attacks (Bottle Volley for Glass coverage, Energy Shot as typeless, and obviously Binvasion) and the now-Plastic Binterloper picks up Shooting Star to cover Astral as well. It also grabs a few melee moves, but if you're doing Binvasion strats like Captain Skip tries to introduce to the player, what you actually want to focus on is Broadcast (or Echolocation if you can swing it). This lets you summon a Metal Wall drone for every party member, which is especially handy if used after Binvitation so you can have up to six shots. And like... that's a cool strategy and all, but personally? WAY too many moving pieces in that for me to really want to mess with it. Still, if you can get everything lined up, you could have three people all firing off Binvasion, each for six hits... that's not nothing.
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Today we have a pretty simple concept here: a wooden training dummy, brought to life. Twirligig here is about as straightforward a take on the concept as you can get, with only the extra sprig of leaves growing from its head to indicate that it's still alive. It hops and spins around to move around and fight, which is cute, and the partial robe it's got on gives a hint as to the direction the remaster is taking, but really, this design is one of the most blunt as we've seen yet. Twirligig is here if you want to play as a training dummy. I guess there's also kind of a scarecrow vibe going on with the shape here, but I'll be honest, this is one of the first monsters I've seen to just not really have a big draw for me.

I do think it's funny at least that Twirligig is the slowest monster currently in the game, with speed sitting at a pitiful 10. The next slowest of pokes, Stardigrade, sits at 40, and even otherwise lethargic critters like Diveal and Binvader move up to 50. Fortunately, Twirligig doesn't let that deficit go to waste, with immensely jacked up stats in HP and both defenses and a movepool to fit. Unlike the Dandylion line, which stretches its passivity to the extreme with nothing but walls and status/support moves, Twirligig appears to be built around the playstyle of making defeating it an incredibly long and painful process, with early access to Splinter as a contact damage move, plenty of self-buffing defensive moves, and Desperation as its capstone attack to be busted out when it's at critical health.



Twirligig's remaster is pretty cool, though. It's the training dummy concept still, but now taken to the extreme of the dummy fighting back. The name and design clearly lean into a kind of youkai flavor, and I especially like the wicker helmet and the shield full of broken arrows. I do kind of get the idea that Kirikuri was designed first and then it was given an unremastered form with Twirligig though. Still, Kirikuri at least is a neat design, especially for those of you that just can't get enough of the samurai aesthetic. Naturally, it's found almost exclusively in the midgame Cherry Meadow location too, for peak anime.

Kirikuri actually loses ranged defenses when it remasters, but in exchange it sees drastic boosts to speed, melee offense, and even a bit of ranged offense. It can still rely on its old defensive tricks with its significant HP and still-excellent melee defense, but now its moveset leans much more aggressive, with moves like Parry Stance, Quick Smack, Woodcutter, and even the honorable Retribution as ways to push its newfound stats to good use. If you want to flex for type coverage, it has plenty of good melee options as well, with Incinerate, Snow Rush, Toxic Stab, Toy Hammer, and Copper Chop all being reliable choices. Only fitting, really: if you spent your formative years getting hit by every attack that exists, why WOULDN'T you eventually master those same techniques?
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About time we looked at another single-stager, eh? Strangely though, Jellyton here isn't exactly a single-stager per se. Like, mechanically yes, Jellyton cannot remaster to or from any other species. Flavorwise, though, this slime creature comes into existence when a skeletal monster we have yet to encounter falls into a bog and gets trapped there, breaking down most of the composition of the former bone being into a pure slime entity. There's still a few bits of bone in Jellyton though, with the skull suspended in gel and the nasty-looking claws, resulting in a really cool take on a slime monster aiming for a more lithe and lethal look than your average blob or gelatinous cube. It's apparently one of the more popular monsters in the game, and frankly, I don't blame anyone for that. Not quite my thing, but no denying Jellyton's pure cool factor.

Unfortunately for any slime-skeleton fans, the Poison-type Jellyton is one of the tougher monsters to make use of, owing to its unique skillset and stats being at odds with one another. Jellyton has two passives, one entirely unique. The unique Acid Reflex skill gives Jellyton the ability to poison foes with melee contact, meaning that in any fight with Jellyton, your enemy will eventually stack up loads of poison whether they like it or not. However, Jellyton's stat spread is that of a mixed offense build, with loads of speed and ranged offense, a decent amount of melee offense, and strictly average-or-worse defenses, making trading melee blows a risky plan. For the other passive, Jellyton has Liquid Body, preventing them from being Burned (a common threat for Poison types) but rendering any Lightning or Ice attack that hits it a crit, which is a VERY scary tradeoff, especially against monsters like Cat-5 that build off of crits. Still, Jellyton has plenty of options to work with, including Burning Passion if you want to play the Hedgeherne game, but you'll almost certainly need some good defensive support to make it work. And when it works, it works well: Judas, another of the ranger captains, invokes Jellyton alongside some defensive beasts like Blossomaw and Manispear to bring Pokémon's stall strategy to Cassette Beasts.
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Today we're looking at Spirouette, a cute little mollusk that's styled to look like a ballet dancer. It's a really cool design here, with the shell hat apparently housing the bulk of Spirouette's organs, and everything extruding from it just being limbs. Great way to play into the style of wire-thin dancers, and it even comes with a little seaweed cloak for protection from the elements (and style, of course). Now I think about it, this design in full is actually pretty similar to cephalopods, huh? This is, if you want to brutally simplify, a ballet-dancing squid, and if you don't like that concept at least a little bit, you need to seriously reevaluate what brings you happiness in life.

Fittingly, Spirouette's plan as a fighter is based on speed more than any kind of raw power. It's a Water type with high speed and HP, but fairly low stats elsewhere save for ranged offense. However, it has two main ways to still bring the pain, the first of which is access to Icicle Dart as a move. Remember kids, Icicle Dart scales with Speed rather than your offense! So that means that while defensively it's a Water type (and it has a few handy Water moves for support as well, like Fog and Water Coating) offensively it favors Ice (although it does have Torrent as a solid Water attack). It's a pretty solid kit for a monster that relies on speed over power, but its true power doesn't come into play until the remaster.



The design for Regensea here is almost entirely what you'd expect from a bigger, more powerful Spirouette. Instead of the shell, Regensea now has a sea jelly cap, and the seaweed cloak has turned into a regal gown (without arms, because Spirouette didn't have arms either and why add superfluous elements). I do kind of miss the spiral seashell hat though, and Regensea has a much more defined body than Spirouette does, but it's still very much what you were here for with Spirouette, so yeah, Regensea's pretty good too.

Regensea is also one of the best speed-focused fighters in the game, complimenting the usual tool of Icicle Dart with its unique attack Water Dance! It's another move that scales with Speed rather than offense, but it's a melee move rather than ranged, which means between the two, Regensea is a really strong mixed attacker despite not having especially noteworthy melee offense and only having slightly better than average ranged offense. The rest of its moveset is mostly ranged options, and it has especially poor type coverage (only Rapid Fire for Fire) and worst of all: its two Speed-scalar options don't have perfect accuracy. Not that last one is a huge issue, a single Focus can offset that nicely if you're worried, but that's still a turn (or a sticker slot dedicated to Custom Starter) you have to take before you cut loose. Still, being able to hit both defenses at will scaling off of speed to keep up with the end forms of the Springheel line is pretty scary, and Regensea has much better HP than most speedsters do.


This line is the signature tape of yet another partner character, and while I would love to talk about her here and now... I'm gonna have to keep it short for a few reasons. Still, I can hit the basics.

Viola is the earliest character in time to be on your team, or indeed to appear on New Wirral, hailing from the era of Shakespeare with a speaking style to boot. She's got a heroic streak to her like Eugene does, but while he stays close to Harbourtown to protect its citizens from the vampire menace with his bombastic style, Viola instead is pursuing her own mission out in the marshlands to the west, and only appears in the nick of time to save the player from an ambush by a Jellyton swarm. She doesn't join you there, because she's determined to see her personal mission through to the end. Still, once she joins up, you'll find she's determined, defiant and fierce, yet still very willing to help those in need and be a steady friend when you need her. For the rest, though, we'll be waiting until we cover the Archangels.
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Do you require aid.
Oh hey, apparently the Pier of the Unknown DLC hit stores today! I thought it was gonna be the 8th. Well, now you can visit haunted boardwalk carnival zone!


Do you require aid.


Welcome to October, everyone. Here we have the season's reason, a happy little jack-o-lantern guy called Jumpkin. This one is actually just a regular pumpkin that gains sentience after someone applies the slime of a Jellyton to it, making this monster two steps away from a line we have yet to review. (It'll be next week.) Jumpkin is friendly, curious, and constantly moving, like an overexcited kid, and it definitely has the look for it. I especially like the two leaves on top that look like animal ears, they're very charming. If it wasn't so late and well-hidden, one could consider this the mascot of Cassette Beasts given that Bytten Studios has a pumpkin as their logo (and Lenna's Inception had a sentient pumpkin as a possible follower) and its got enough charm for it for sure.

The Plant-type Jumpkin has a number of unique selling points to it. As the bestiary entry mentions, you can ONLY encounter it by going down to Piper Farm lategame and applying Jellyton slime to one of the pumpkins there. Once recorded, you gain the ability to surround yourself with a ball of vines, perfect for climbing up walls. It also has the unique self-buff Pumpkin Pie, which increases both speed and AP generation, so it can very easily fling a bunch of shenanigans around the field in a fight. It's built for those shenanigans statwise, with its HP and speed being its favored stats, and armed with both Trick and Treat (of course) to apply random status effects, good or bad, to anyone in the fight. It also has Jump Scare to cause its foes to flinch, so it can keep your opponent off-balance for your teammate.



And finally, Jumpkin is one of the rare monsters to remaster into different forms based on the time of day. At daytime, it becomes Beanstalker, growing itself a fully ambulatory body out of vines and plant matter, and using that new mobility (and its new axe) to delightedly chase terrified people around. It only stands to reason that a jack-o-lantern would remaster into a scary Halloween style monster, and Beanstalker is a great way to have that concept in play without going too far into actually scary slasher villain territory. I'd argue Ripterra is scarier than Beanstalker is, even. I like that the pumpkin head only has a mouth carved in it, but you can only see two glowing green eyes peering out, by the way. That's a cool visual.

To absolutely nobody's surprise, Beanstalker gains incredible amounts of melee offense on remastering, and it doesn't really lose out on defense or speed as it does, being a little better than most comparable monsters at taking hits in exchange for a bit of power. Naturally, it also has a huge amount of coverage to work with, including Woodcutter, Toxic Stab, Plastic Knife, Silicon Slash or Snow Rush. Pretty straightforward here, and while it can use status shenanigans decently from its time as Jumpkin, it's very much a straightforward "run at the other guy and kill them to pieces" sort of fighter.



At night, Jumpkin remasters into an appropriate new form of Draculeaf! No less malicious than Beanstalker, Draculeaf prefers to play a more insidious game with its prey, posing as a friend initially and then using life-draining roots when they least suspect it. The design here is a little more expected than Beanstalker's, but I do like the ridiculous dead leaf hair and cloak, and the coiled vines underneath, much like Ripterra, hint at a significantly less humanoid form than first appearances let on. I also just really like the concept of having a vampiric pumpkin. It's such a natural concept given the cultural influences of both, and yet this might be the first time I've ever seen it.

Draculeaf's stats are a lot more well-rounded, and while it still has HP and speed as its main specialties, its other stats all hover at a little bit above average. The moveset it gains very much fits its personality, loading up on status effects to inflict on enemies with Leech and Snooze Spore, self-buffs with Déjà Vu and Ritual, and what else but the Vampire passive to leech off of the opponent's healing techniques. Additionally, while its type coverage isn't quite as varied as Beanstalker's, it's more than able to flex to attacking once the time is right, with plenty of solid moves, ranged and melee alike, to deal with a weakened foe.
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Do you require aid.


It's finally time to go over the monster that was the progenitor of the Jellyton (and through them, Jumpkin) monster groups. Pawndead here is interesting for a lot of reasons and I don't know if I can go over all of them, but let's take it piece by piece (ha!). First off, it's a chess-themed monster, so you can expect later members of the line to continue the chess theme (and as much as I appreciate Pokémon's Pawniard line, no, it's not chess themed, they're primarily based off of samurai imagery). Second, it's also an animated statue monster, and I very much love that kind of archetype, especially with monsters like this or the Zelda series' Armos Knights that don't look like robots in old suits of armor. Naturally, Pawndead uses this to ambush its hapless prey, and actually turns itself into granite while at rest to make the disguise complete. And finally, it's also a skeleton monster, which nobody is really surprised by but I do want to highlight how well all three themes flow together into the same design here.

As a monster, Pawndead is a humble Earth type that's generalist in the extreme. Probably the most notable move it has is Fossil, which full heals it if it becomes petrified... but petrification is such a rare status effect it's hard to really make that work. Still, you can pair it up with a buddy that can petrify it to full heal it, and that's not nothing. Pawndead usually prefers to be the helper for its ally, however, with Blood Donation to "sacrifice" itself, AP Donate to pass its AP to a pal, and Earth Coating to turn allies to match its type. Besides that, you also get Damage Roll, in case you wanted to play as a pawn from... I dunno, Monopoly or something. Can't imagine why, but hey.



Every chess piece is interesting in its own way, but for the second-tier remaster, Pawndead elects to go for a bishop with the excellently-named Skelevangelist. This one's starting to go for more of the "magic robot" flavor of animated statue, not just with its hovering and the floating ring around it (a hula hoop?) but with its whispered chanting, which intensifies whenever it starts using its telekinesis. The ribs poking out the back of the robe look a little weird, making Skelevangelist look a bit like a flute, but still, it's a solid mid-level form for the line. Plus, if you think about it, this also covers the whole thematic angle of a "lich" here, and that's cool.

Its stats pick up across the field ever so slightly, and it gets a bunch of new moves that play into the whole undead priest thing. Beast Wall to make bone barriers, Ritual and Life Absorb to delay the inevitable, Call For Help, and finally, Last Rites, the melee counterpart to Headshot as a big chunky attack that costs 10 AP. That last one's kind of out there, especially as a support-leaning monster like Skelevangelist won't usually have the AP to spare on a move like that. However, there's still one more remaster to go, and this one's a split choice.



For Skelevangelist's remaster, you have another stat choice. Melee offense gets you Kingrave, which has the same lovely blend of skeleton/statue/chess monster the entire line has seen throughout, and it now sports a stylish gold crown (covering where its eyes would be and seemingly merging with its jaw that's so rad) and a regal red cape. It also looks pleasingly dense, and the bestiary makes a point of how it slowly grinds along the ground, probably with that stock "stone against stone" grinding noise you're all familiar with right now. Just a really cool ancient king kind of deal we've got going on here. I will say that the scepter is a little plain for what's going on here, and I'd at least like to see it topped with a golden skull, but that's more about the scepter than Kingrave itself.

Speaking of, Kingrave really earns that melee offense title. Out of every monster in the game, Kingrave, right here, has the highest melee offense of them all. NOTHING punches as hard as this thing does. It complements the old Last Rites move of Skelevangelist with the reliable area attack Bish Bash Bosh, and excels at putting itself out of harms way, with Haunt to render it ghostly, Delegate to pass its status effects, good or bad, to its ally, and Vengeful Curse to make anyone that DOES defeat it rue the day with a plethora of terrible status effects slung their way. Fittingly, to excel with Kingrave, you'll need to devote its teammate to defending it as much as possible, because it didn't raise any of its stats from the remaster except melee offense (and a bit of ranged offense, so it can flex if it has to). This is actually the signature tape my nephew uses when playing, and he's got a stylish Glass bootleg!



Fittingly, you can instead lean towards speed to remaster Skelevangelist into a Queenyx. I like Kingrave a bit more because of that cool facemask/jaw/crown thing it has going on, but Queenyx has a much more traditional "evil skull" going on that I really can't deny has some flair. Unlike Kingrave, Queenyx glides silently and swiftly across the ground, and pesters its foes at range using that bauble it's holding, charging it with elemental energy. I like that it kinda looks like a gunpowder bomb, just gilded up.

Queenyx's moves and stats are something of a mirror to Kingrave, sporting high speed (on par with Bulletino, the fastest thing we've seen yet) and respectable HP, although none of its other stats improve. As such, it mostly plays like Regensea does, using its speed to quickly set up its advantages (including Déjà Vu and what else but Gambit) and beat down enemies at speeds they can only react to, not intercept. Again, Queenyx wants a partner that can protect it while it lays waste to the enemy team, it's just a different kind of destruction than Kingrave's slower hammerblows. Wild Queenyx are some of the scariest random encounters in the game, because if you can't drop them in one turn, then they're gonna Gambit, and then they're going to beat you to death. For more on Queenyx's Gambit (and fun ways to subvert it), you can encounter the ranger captain Penny Dreadful, who uses this as her signature monster!
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Do you require aid.


Today we've got a really creative line here. Burnace is, just like the name says, a little animated industrial furnace! No legs, so it has to drag itself around with its arms wherever it goes, and I do like that they make a point of highlighting that. Pokémon has a lot of critters, especially early on, that have irregular bodies that don't indicate how they'd actually move, so it's nice to see Burnace just up-front say "yeah it's gotta crawl around". I also like that Burnace doesn't really have a clear "face", with the ports near the base of the chimney probably being the closest thing to eyes it could have. It's also a really creative take on industrialism as a monster theme, most things that do that tend to come from mecha style games and sport loads of black-and-yellow hazard stripes and bright orange. Sticking to slate grey seems dull on the surface but really works here, I think.

Burnace is a Fire-type that's built for lasting defenses above all else. Its moveset is all offensive with the exception of the AP-depleting Guzzle Fuel, but its ranged offense is average and its melee offense is vestigial, as is its speed. However, it CAN pick up a bunch of helpful moves to automate its attacks, with Automation being a quick grab from its level-up roster, and Chemical Imbalance adding even more fun if it gets type advantage. Naturally, it can use the new Gasoline Spray move from the Pier of the Unknown DLC to really give it a niche, rendering enemies susceptible to extra-strength burning whenever they're hit by one of its many Fire moves. And, of course, you have a bunch of different stickers for if you want it to feel like a different kind of industrial behemoth, with camouflage/coating for Metal, Lightning, and Plastic all easily doable.



Burnace sees a pretty drastic change when it remasters to Smogmagog (which is really fun to say out loud, try it!) while still retaining much of the same overall vibes. The shoulder chimneys are still there, and its arms have gone from scrabbling claws to massive chunky fists. The lack-of-a-face is now represented by awesome zigzags atop the main cooling tower, which now looks a lot more like the one you'd see on a nuclear power plant. The only sour spot is that not only did Smogmagog gain legs, they're almost hilariously at odds with the rest of the design, being spindly little things that absolutely could not support all this weight. There is some cool flavor in the bestiary, by the way: everything you see here is actually just Smogmagog's "shell"! The actual creature is the fire inside, and as long as that fire has even a single ember left, Smogmagog will keep fighting no matter how wrecked that outer shell is. That's cool as hell!

It's also reflected in its stats, as Smogmagog packs the highest melee defense in the game, and the third-highest ranged defense. It's still very slow, but its non-defense stats are all pretty passable, and it retains its focus on single-minded industrial assault. Adding to its repertoire of passive stickers that activate moves for free is the rare Critical Mass sticker, allowing a free followup attack if it lands a crit. It also picks up Shield Bash and is one of the best monsters in the game for using it. Oh, and it also gets Magnet, forcing enemies to throw all their offenses at it, and do you remember how Smogmagog is Fire type? All that type advantaged hits are going to do is extinguish its offenses, which Smogmagog doesn't care about. Well, unless you're attacking with Astral, but do you really want to bring an Astral type against something that can hit you with Radiation Breath?
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