Developer: Aqua Style
Platforms: PS Vita, PS4
Tested on: PS4
Touhou Genso Wanderer – Review
Roguelike games are getting more and more popular but for some they might remain quite frustrating that you lose everything when you die or give up. As reaction, the roguelite genre was born and Touhou Genso Wanderer implemented this. This title might actually ring a bell as it has been around for quite a while. You’ll be able to return to play with Reimu, which was the star protagonist for Touhou Projects. Are you ready for a new adventure with this sassy girl?
At the beginning of the game, you witness a rather disturbing scene. Our damsel in this game, Reimu Hakurei from the Hakurei shrine, snuck out of her home and went to the Human village for some fun. When she left it was quite sunny but all of the sudden, it started raining cats and dogs. She tried to get to the shrine but had to make a stop in Kourindo. The owner, Rinnosuke, was rather happy to have a customer until he saw who stumbled inside. To kill some time, she started browsing the store until she noticed the item he was holding. The Golden Sphere has the ability to mesmerize people and Reimu was certainly one of them. She was naturally drawn to it but when she tried to touch it, Rinnosuke decided otherwise. After some struggling, she’s finally able to give it a nudge but that wasn’t the best idea.
The storm became more severe and when Rinnosuke tried to pick up his artefact, something happened. There was a huge flash of light, blinding everyone. Everything seemed okay, until Reimu laid her eyes on Rinnosuke. Something looked different about him and her suspicion was rather correct. He started rambling stuff about creating a tower and even challenged our sassy girl. She wasn’t able to defeat her assailant and fled the scene. Afterwards, it seems that there is more amiss than firstly thought and our brave shrine maiden goes on a mission to solve the incident.
As this is a roguelike RPG, it is only natural that there is a big chunk of story involved. This game has quite some references to the previous game, which might get you a bit confused if you didn’t play it. At any rate, the rather salty comments and witty liners are quite pleasing and will make you giggle now and then.
We were able to test the game on the PS4 and it packs quite a punch. There are several different styles implemented, giving you something pleasing for the eye. While you’re wandering the dungeons, everything is obviously smaller as you’re having a top-down overview. It is quite natural that there are less details on this type of surroundings, the developers did their best to maintain a high quality. This means that, even when you’re venturing some contested area, you’ll see more than enough details on the characters and monsters which is quite appealing as the cute anime-style is maintained.
When you’re not battling or walking around in your shrine, you’ll be presented with quite some other elements. For instance, the conversations are done in a 2D anime-drawn style which matches the rest of the graphics. The expressions change depending on how the conversation is going, which is always fun to watch. Another plus is that, next to the more static way of conversing, there are small intermezzos now and then to emphasize certain emotions. For instance, when Futo is determined to become the best first sage ever, the normal flow of the talk is interrupted by a different view to accentuate her motivation. It’s great to see that there are so many different types of graphics implemented, yet they all tend to work together like a charm. The mixture of these visuals gives you a nice change of pace and is one of the biggest assets of the game.
The music and sound effects are present but don’t really stand out in comparison with the graphics. First of all, the available soundtrack fits the game completely, as you’ll hear tracks with quite some Japanese influences. It surely is well-made but it feels like something is lacking. Yes, you’ll notice the soothing tunes when you’re wandering in your peaceful shrine of the more pumped-up sounds if battle is inevitable, but it’s not like it’s going to blow you away. The same goes for the effects, as you’ll hear your incantations and spellcasting but it’s kind of pale in comparison with other games. It feels like it misses a bit of punch now and then. Voice acting wise, this is something different. The available voices fit the characters quite well and will suck you into the world of anime. Expect some rather high-pitched Japanese vocals though.
Touhou Genso Wanderer is a roguelite RPG where you need to venture in several dungeons to advance the story. Your road is rather long and you’ll be venturing these labyrinths quite often. The leveling system is as can be expected of a game such as this. Every time you enter a new dungeon, fail in battle or give up while venturing, your level is reset and you will start from one again. This might sound strange, but the equipment you’re using also gains experience and this will remain even after death. This gives you a head-start at the start of the dungeon. Even more, the stats and visuals will change of your gear, which surely is a nice feature. Failure, both by dying or giving up, on the other hand has more repercussions though. Not only your level gets reset, you will also lose all the collected money.
As your venturing several dungeons it is quite important that you learn the tricks of the trade. For instance, you can move and attack in all directions but keep in mind that your enemies can do the same. Some of these mobs are sleeping, while others are ready for action. This game has turn-based system where you can perform one action before your enemy can react. You can equip various weaponry you can find, and of course swing away. Next to normal attacks, you also have some Danmakus. Before you can trigger these special attacks, you’ll need an amount of power. This can be found by killing enemies or finding some lying on the ground. When you have enough firepower, just choose the one you want to use and fire away. This is quite useful when there are multiple enemies around you and you can all bash them with a shield. Also, you can find certain items that give you the possibility to unleash a devastating attack or luring the enemies away. These can actually save your life when you’re in a tight spot. This also counts for the talismans. You can place this on the ground and when enemies step on them, an effect will occur.
Fighting and venturing dungeons is always fun, but you need to keep your Tummy in mind. This meter depletes by running around and it’s quite important to keep this in mind. If your Tummy is empty, you will lose energy points and eventually die. Of course, the field has some food here and there but not all of them are so edible. Also, enemies can lay out traps and if you step into certain ones, your nommies can actually get affected and spoil. This can be stopped by placing these items into gaps. Each of these gaps have an effect as well so keep this in mind. These voids also can get full, so you can’t stock everything in there.
If you’re wondering if you’ll be all alone, don’t worry. You can take a companion with you, following you in every move you do, if you wish so of course. There are four strategies to pick from and you can choose to have your partner explore the dungeon or proactively engage combat with enemies. One of the other perks is that you can upgrade your equipment with Nito Fusion. Before you’re able to perform a merge, you’ll need points which can be found in the battlefield. You can combine everything to get better stats, giving you that extra nudge in battle.
Touhou Genso Wanderer is a roguelite game that will take you on an adventure with Reimu to save the world yet again. You’ll be venturing several dungeons, enjoying the scenery. The graphics are one of the most important aspects of the game and will keep you attracted. Music wise you won’t get knocked off your feet but it does give some extra to the experience. There are quite some things the game has to offer gameplay wise though and you might have some troubles to get through the first hours as it isn’t that easy but it is quite rewarding to press on and overcome the many trials the game throws at you.