By Steve Baltimore / October 24th, 2019
|Release Date||September 20th, 2019|
A while back I took a look at Azure Reflections on the PlayStation 4 and Switch consoles. This is a side-scrolling shooter based in the Touhou universe. I thought the game was amazing with its tight controls, great graphics, and a killer soundtrack. I was asked if I could take a look at the PC port of the game as well, and I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to play this bad boy again. There are a couple of new additions here to discuss and we will see how it performs on the PC.
This review will touch upon the story and some of the basic features of the game. If you want more details, just check out my previous review for the PlayStation release. The story here takes place not long after The Red Mist Incident concluded. Red Mist once again flows from the Scarlet Manor, covering the world for some unknown reason. Reimu, Marissa, and Cirno are the first to notice the resurgence of this event. Each of them sets out to discover what sort of scheme Mistress Remilia is planning.
Graphics and sound are on par with other versions of the game. The graphics on the PC version may look a bit cleaner than its console counterparts, but honestly it’s hard for me to tell. The framerate is very steady here, and you can lock it in the options if the game is running too fast. There is an issue where the game runs at the refresh rate of your display so folks with 144HZ panels will have quite a time playing at 144 FPS. Their reflexes will have to be lighting quick! This is a newly added feature, so there could be some bugs with it. I didn’t experience any personally but my panel is on 60HZ. The character models and unlockable statues still look great as well.
The music here is amazing, just like you would expect from a Touhou title. There are remixes of your favorite classic themes. These include Beloved Tomboyish Girl, Septette for the Dead Princess and of course, U.N. Owen was her? There are even alternate versions of these themes that can be enabled in the options screen. The girls are all voiced in Japanese and the cast does a very good job bringing the characters to life.
There have been no changes to the gameplay. You still go through the side-scrolling stages dodging all the bullets you can, blowing up enemies and using your special skills to survive. These skills include the Danmaku Rush, which eats up bullets to become stronger, and of course your handy dandy spell cards. Completing stages will earn cash to buy costume pieces that will give you a variety of buffs to help you slay the hordes of baddies.These upgrades are vital on the harder difficulty levels.There is an additional boss rush mode this time around. You can even face two new bosses at the very end of the rush, and while I won’t spoil who they are, you are your own worst enemy.
The first playable character you have access to is Reimu, but you can unlock Marisa and the strongest fairy Cirno by just completing the story mode. This can be done on any difficulty, but you cannot use a continue before the last stage. There are a couple of features that have been added to the game since my last review as well. One is Ascetic Mode. If you enable this mode you will die with a single hit instead of being staggered like usual. This is for hardcore players looking for a challenge. Doing this mode on Lunatic would be something to behold!
Even on a third run, Azure Reflections is a fantastic package. It’s easy to pick up and play, but offers plenty of challenge thanks to the four difficulty levels. This game is perfect for those just getting into SHMUPs since it offers some training features and will even display your hit box to help you learn to maneuver more effectively. The story mode is kinda short, but each girl has their own unique story and you will want to play each multiple times to get all the unlockables. If you love SHMUPs or Touhou you simply cannot go wrong here for the $24.99 asking price. It’s worth every penny and will keep you entertained for hours.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.