Here's 16 minutes of gameplay from a new Pokemon-inspired 'monster collecting RPG' coming to Steam later this month

Bytten Studio and Raw Fury have dropped a new video showcasing 16 minutes of Cassette Beasts, an open-world "monster collecting RPG" that's slated to come out later this month.

Cassette Beasts was inspired by monster-focused RPGs the developers played when they were kids, the most obvious of which is probably Pokemon. But rather than capturing and "training" monsters to fight on their behalf (which quite frankly I've always thought was a little weird), players in Cassette Beasts transform into monsters themselves by using recordings of the island's creatures, made with old-fashioned tape recorders. Battles are turn-based and use action points to determine what abilities can be brought to bear, while a "chemistry system" can inflict status effects of different sorts, like using water to dampen a fire-based enemy's attacks.

Players can combine with their partners—either a member of the NPC cast or another human in two-player local co-op—to create powerful "Fusion form" monsters. But the strength of the fusion depends on the strength of the bond between you and your partner, "so it's important to nurture your friendships," Bytten Studio's Jay Baylis says in the video. 

Romance is an option too, although there's no gameplay benefit to it—it's just "cute," according to the developers. But not everyone on the island is friendly: Some of the people you run into will help you out, but others will be hostile: "After all, you're not the only one with a cassette player around here," Baylis says.

Monster-collecting games like Pokemon are the obvious influence here, but Cassette Beasts also takes inspiration from "British culture, 1980s New Wave fashion aesthetics, and even Arthurian legends," which is quite a combination. And while it looks very retro, it's set in a 3D world with platforming and physics-based movement: "You can glide over big gaps and even place boxes to create your own shortcuts," Baylis says.

The video starts with narrated gameplay from fairly early in Cassette Beasts, and then shifts to a venture into a derelict shopping mall, an area of the game that hasn't previously been revealed. The segment showcases battles, exploration, puzzles, and the way players will interact with the game's 3D environments, and to my eye it looks quite good—there's a lot going on.

You can try it for yourself right now if you'd like, courtesy of the demo that's available on Steam and the Microsoft Store. It'll take you through the opening bits of the game, up to the point where the main quest kicks off—a search for Archangels who have the secret to escaping the game's strange island world and returning home. That won't necessarily be the end of things, though: Cassette Beasts also promises post-game content including optional bosses, rematches, and new series of "Ranger" quests that will introduce new monsters and characters, and tell a new story about the origin of "Rogue Fusions."

Cassette Beasts is set to launch on April 26 on Steam, the Microsoft Store, and PC Game Pass, and will follow on consoles later in the spring. You can dive deeper into what it's all about at

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.