Cassette Beasts: Pier of the Unknown review

by on October 16, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

October 4, 2023


When Cassette Beasts first released earlier in the year, I was blown away with how much the game evolved the monster collecting genre and allowed the player to explore an open world in the process. The combat had some really clever elements too, and (despite a few technical issues) I was happy to declare it the best monster collecting game I’d ever played. It’s easy to imagine after all this praise why I’d be excited to play the new DLC Pier of the Unknown, but that made the disappointment all the more devastating.

Upon jumping back into an early save where I hadn’t quite finished the main story, I was told by a text pop up that a chat with the barista at the coffee shop would begin my journey to The Pier of the Unknown. Sure enough, she guided me to a mysterious rowboat that had appeared on the beach recently, which ended up steering me to a pier in the middle of the ocean.

As you can probably imagine, an abandoned pier is a pretty creepy place to end up, but upon meeting up with a lovely clown called Gwen who’s trying to bring this place of family fun back to life it felt like it had the potential to be a lovely new location for the citizens of New Wirral. With three attractions in need of repair, my task was simple: repair them. So off I went.

A screenshot of Cassette Beasts: Pier of the Unknown

As someone who grew up in a British seaside town, I’m no stranger to the bright lights and tacky sideshow attractions of a pier. You can tell the Brighton based developers were inspired by real world piers, with wacky fun houses and spooky ghost trains to explore. In theory it’s a great location for a video game expansion, but the issues don’t take long to rear their ugly heads.

The main problem with The Pier of the Unknown is how much of a focus there is on platforming. In each of the attractions that need fixing you’ll be presented with things like alternating platforms, platforms that disappear after a few seconds, and rotating logs. The trouble is: Cassette Beasts is simply not a platformer. Sure, you can jump, dash, and glide, but having to use these abilities to make your way through precision platforming sessions is incredibly frustrating. The controls just aren’t tight platforming controls, and while that’s fine for a turn based RPG, it isn’t for these carnival-themed jumping challenges.

At the end of each of the pier attractions there’s a boss to fight, and these bosses are similarly otherworldly and sinister to the unnerving 3D bosses of the main game. Each boss fight in the base game of Cassette Beasts was totally unique, and required you to learn the right way to deal with their powerful abilities. When I fought the first boss of The Pier of the Unknown I thought the same could be said here, but upon meeting the next two bosses it became apparent that they mostly share the same abilities. The total runtime of this DLC is only a few hours too, and repeating practically the same boss fight multiple times in that short stretch of time just wasn’t what I wanted.

A screenshot of Cassette Beasts: Pier of the Unknown

The positive side of The Pier of the Unknown DLC is that it introduces twelve new Cassette Beasts to the roster, some of which are pretty damn good. My personal favourite was Charlequin, a little jester beast with the ability to change types multiple times in a fight. Any Cassette Beast you capture in the DLC can be taken back to the main campaign too, so you have a few new options when making the ultimate team of goofy monsters.

When I first played Cassette Beasts pre-release, my one issue with the game was one of performance. A very choppy framerate and lots of stuttering greeted me every time I settled in for a session, but ultimately as I played the game fully on the Steam Deck, and anticipated some patches could change things drastically, I tried not to focus too much on this negative. Now, despite being fully verified on Steam Deck, Cassette Beasts still really struggles with performance issues and it does detract from the experience. I’ve heard similar issues exist on consoles too, which is such a shame as the game itself is fantastic. Because The Pier of the Unknown is removed from the rest of the game the performance in that area is actually a little more stable, but even so it still isn’t good enough.

The Pier of the Unknown is sadly a whole lot less enjoyable than the main campaign of Cassette Beasts, with a lot of fiddly platforming and repetitive boss fights detracting from the engaging turn-based monster battling. If you’re really desperate to add a few more beasts to your collection then the new additions might make up for the rest of this disappointing side content, but it kind of made me wish I hadn’t come back to this game I otherwise adore.


A great location for the new content
Still has that wonderful combat
Some cool new beasts to collect and train


Involves a lot of iffy platforming
Bosses repeat themselves
Doesn't last long
The game still has significant performance issues

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Cassette Beasts The Pier of the Unknown just can't compete with the main campaign, thanks to lots of iffy platforming and repetitive bosses.