By Steve Baltimore / June 3rd, 2020
|Title||Touhou Mechanical Scrollery|
|Release Date||April 30th, 2020|
When I saw a new Touhou fan game called Touhou Mechanical Scrollery came to Steam, I was immediately amazed at how pretty the graphics were. Touhou games are traditionally top down Shmups, but here we had a shooter that was done in full 3D. Everything seemed highly detailed and there were some really great lighting effects at work here as well, so I decided to check it out. Let’s see if there is more here than pretty graphics.
The story here is told in a Live 2D Visual Style format. Metal Spiders have invaded Gensokyo. Reimu soon discovers the source of these invaders when she tries to pick up a book from Suzunaan, the owner of the book renter store, and discovers her preferred text has been changed into strange passages. Reimu and Marisa will now explore these passages to stop the Metal Creatures from doing any harm to Gensokyo.
The story is decent here, but this title is mostly focused on action. Each book you explore is a chapter in the game and will contain around 9 stages. Some of these stages will have to be unlocked with materials you have gathered from defeating enemies and clearing previous levels. If you perform well on a stage, you will receive a better grade and better spoils at the end. Materials gained from these stages will come in handy when upgrading your weapons as well.
Both Reimu and Marisa have several different weapons you can craft, but you will need some materials and cash. Each of these will not only give you a boost in attack but some include various buffs and an upgraded spell card to get you out of a tight jam. I was pretty impressed that each weapon had a unique look as well. Remiu’s crazy large hammer was just fantastic. It’s pretty easy to gain the materials to craft new weapons, but I do wish the game made it clearer which materials are obtained in each level. In addition to new weapons, players can purchase items from the in-game shop as well. These items have various effects such as restoring health, speed boost and other buffs. You can use these at any time during the stage by simply tapping the start button. This will really be useful when playing the game on any difficulty higher than normal. Just keep in mind you will have to spend cold hard cash to purchase these items and it will cut into how much you have left to spend for crafting weapons.
Gameplay here is pretty straightforward. Select a stage and defeat a set number of enemies. The enemies will always be in the same places and maps will even have them highlighted for you. It will take you some time to get used to the controls. You move your character with the left stick and camera with right like any other 3D game. The biggest difference here is you’re always flying in a 360 world. You can use the top triggers to adjust your height. Holding the button will move you up or down slowly, and tapping them will rapidly move you in a direction. There is a lock on feature here so targeting enemies is usually pretty easy, but there are times when it wants to lock onto everything except what you want to attack. The camera can be a bit quirky at times. This is pretty jarring when it clips under the floor, but I feel like this team will get this fixed down the line.
There are two different ways to fire in Touhou Mechanical Scrollery. The first is to lock onto your foes and unleash a volley of Danmaku all at one time. The second firing mode is pretty much a free aiming mode. Here you will fire shots more rapidly and can target specific parts on these metal monsters. After a few attacks on these parts they will fall off and can be gathered up as resources. There is a bit of a difference in the way Remiu and Marisa fires, so players will have to choose which fits their style best. Each time you fire your shot gauge will decrease. When it is depleted you will have to use your melee attack on some metal baddies in order to fill it back up again. There is also a spell card meter just under the shot gauge. When this is full you can unleash the spell card on your currently equipped weapon. Some of these have more offensive effects while others provide some defense, but they are very useful either way.
While Touhou Mechanical Scrollery is certainly not a perfect game, it shows a lot of promise. The team has optimized the game somewhat, already fixing some of the controller issues and full screen framerate issues. There are still some occasional dips, but with my Ryzen 2600 and RTX 2060KO I didn’t have too much trouble running this all the way up to 1440p. If they get the code running a little better I could probably go up to 4K, but right now it dips just a little too much for my liking. These issues aside, the game looks amazing, and is actually really fun to play. Some may find it a bit repetitive, but I had a lot of fun gathering the materials and upgrading the various weapons. For its asking price of $19.99, if you’re a Touhou fan you should probably jump on this one. You get 8 hours or more of gameplay here, and while the game certainly has some issues, I still think good outweighs the bad. If the team here does further fixes down the line I will likely raise this score, and honestly seeing how far they’ve already come, I think they will.
Game was provided by the publisher for review.