By Steve Baltimore / October 7th, 2016
|Title||Touhou: The Scarlet Curiosity|
|Release Date||September 20th, 2016|
I’ve just recently begun to get interested in the Touhou universe. I’m not very good at playing shmups, so it has been a struggle for me to really get into the games thus far. However, I love the characters and lore and I am steadily improving. Then when XSEED Games announced they about would be bringing the indie Action RPG title Touhou: The Scarlet Curiosity to the West, I became very excited. The question is; with this game not being the typical style of the series, is it any good? Let’s find out!
The story follows Remilia Scarlet, a powerful vampire. While some may think immortality is great, it can be quite boring after 500 years. One day she finds a newspaper article about a powerful monster ravaging the countryside. This is just what she needs to add a little excitement to her life. After being unsuccessful in finding this monster, she returns home to find her mansion in ruins. Now she sets out to discover who destroyed her home and figure out the mystery behind the monster sightings.
I really loved the graphic style of Touhou: The Scarlet Curiosity. The lighting and detail in both the playable characters and environments are just simply outstanding. When I say each environment is detailed, I mean even the water looks pretty. The only issue I had is the draw distance on certain stages makes way off objects appear a bit out of focus. The game runs at a smooth 60 FPS most of the time, but this does dip on certain parts of a few stages and when there are tons of enemies or projectiles on the screen. This is not a bad dip and is no way game breaking.
In the sound department the sound effects are all pretty standard fare; your typical attack noises and electric sounds of beam type attacks. There is nothing wrong with any of them, but they in no way stand out. However, the soundtrack is simply amazing. All the tracks have an Eastern flair with a bit of techno thrown in the mix. This is one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time. I enjoyed every track and they fit each stage perfectly.
Touhou: The Scarlet Curiosity plays very differently than other Touhou titles since it is an Action RPG. The two playable gals have slightly different moves, and you’ll want to choose the one that fits your play style best. The basic controls, however, are the same for each. You have one attack button, a jump button and two special attack buttons. These are all mapped to the face buttons on the PlayStation 4 controller. You will also have one Magic Attack that is mapped to R1, which are room clearing special attacks and they look totally bad ass when executed. Your special moves will consume your skills gauge as you use them, and this will regenerate automatically and you can find equipment that will speed up the process. You magic meter will need to be filled to execute a magical attack and this meter will replenish as enemies are defeated.
Each map is explored from a top down perspective. Like with most games of this type, you will be wandering about a lot slashing at enemies with various attacks. Some stages have minor platforming elements added in, but with your characters being able to float a bit when they jump, these sections are very easy to handle. What truly makes this game so unique is the fact they actually put some of the bullet hell aspects from the shmups into it. Some enemies will fire tons of projectiles at you. You can attempt to dodge them, jump over them, or use a well timed special move to evade them. I never thought this would be fun in a game like this and I was so wrong. The boss battles is where this really shined. These encounters were epic in scope and scale and there were bullets flying everywhere! I had so much fun learning new tricks and figuring out the best way to use my special moves to my advantage.
The gals gain experience and level up just like in any other Action RPG. Though they do have very different play styles, Remilia is a close range fighter and the cutest damn vampire ever! Her skills do tons of damage and she is probably better suited for beginners than Sakuya. Her attacks are just a powerful, but as they are done from different ranges and require a bit more finesse to use properly. There is also a ton of different equipment you can find as well. Lots of the items will have the same name, but you need to be sure to check each one since they can give you very different effects. Some will boost your attacks more, while others may give a huge HP bonus or better item drop rates. There is also a shop where you can unload unwanted items and maybe purchase something better. Though most of the time I had rare items that were better than what was being offered.
I got so much more than I expected from this $20 budget title. It has one of the best combat systems I’ve seen in a game like this in a long time. I had so much fun playing this game. The 15 hours I spent with it just flew by! There are a few graphical issues and some minor framerate slowdowns, but it doesn’t slow this game down from being one the best in the genre I’ve seen in a while. If you are a Touhou fan, this game is a must have. I would also have no trouble recommending this game to fans of Action RPGS as well. This one is simply a fun ride from start to finish and should not be missed.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Action RPGFlandere ScarletRemilia ScarletTouhouXSEED Games