By Steve Baltimore / January 8th, 2019
|Release Date||November 29th, 2019|
|Platform||Switch, PlayStation 4|
|Age Rating||E for Everyone – Fantasy Violence|
As most of you know, I am a pretty big fan of Touhou, so anytime a decent looking Touhou game comes along, I’m most likely going to check it. Gensokyo Defenders came to the Switch right before the holidays, and with the craziness of the season, I’m finally getting a chance to write up this review. This is a Tower Defense game which is pretty much out of my element, so we’ll see just how noob friendly this bad boy is, and if it’s any good in the process.
The story follows everyone’s favorite fairy, Cirno, as she once again sets out to prove she is in fact the cutest… err, the strongest! This draws the famous Tengu reporter, Aya, into the fray to cover a new type of fairy game – War Games! Cirno sets out now to prove that she is in fact the strongest by taking down all the major players all around Gensokyo!
The story here is pretty plain and there are some issues in the localization here. The game does feature plenty of inside Touhou jokes and fan service to please long time series fans. I think newcomers will love the humor here as well. This is one of those cases where I’ve seen much better stories from Touhou games like this, but I’ve seen a lot worse as well.
The graphics here are nothing to write home about, but I feel like they are more than enough for this style of game. The character models of playable characters look nice with a decent amount of details. The enemy models are much more basic and there’s not a ton of them to speak of, but that’s pretty much a given for a game of this type. The stages themselves have a fair amount of detail. The trees have lush leaves and the pits of flowing lava glow with the heat of a thousand Hells. My personal favorite thing in the graphics department are the character portraits. Reimu, Cirno, Aya and all the others were drawn with a lot of style and flair. You will see these in the top right during gameplay, and of course during all of the story scenes in the game.
In the sound department the soundtrack is passable, but I’ve heard much better in Touhou fan games like this. The voice acting makes up for some of the shortcomings in this department, since the Japanese cast did a great job bringing some of our favorite characters to life. This one has no English dub, but that was pretty much a given for a small budget title like this. I don’t feel like that hurts it one bit.
A lot of the gameplay here is what you would find in a standard Tower Defense game. You will get to lay out some traps to slow down the flow of fairies as they attempt to overwhelm you and take over your base. There are lots of traps to choose from which include: Spiderweb Traps, Bombs, Floor Spikes, Launch Pads and even some Canon Towers. You can take up to 4 different types of trap into a stage and each will cost you come coin to set. This means that depending on the stage layout, some traps will give you more bang for you buck, while some would just be a waste of funding. Thought it’s not a huge deal if you make a mistake, since you can sell a trap back for cash and you will gain more funds in between each wave of baddies. Traps can be upgraded in between levels with points you earn. These upgrades give them buffs like more power, less cost to set, faster trap rest and more.
As you progress, other characters will become playable as well. Each of the girls has their very own set of spell cards. These will consume some magic as you use them, but they will help you a ton in repelling the fairy armies. Each character also has a “Last Word” attack. These are powerful attacks you will need to fill the gauge at the bottom right of the screen to use. Pulling off these attacks at the right moment can really pull your ass out of the fire. These abilities can be upgraded in between stages after you’ve earned some points as well.
As you slay enemies during the match, you will gain a slight amount of cash. This is in addition to the cash for traps you’re given in between rounds. You can use this cash to throw out some traps on the fly while the horde is approaching. Slain enemies will also drop colored objects that look like UFOs. These will upgrade the power of the normal and magic attacks at your disposal. They will change color if you don’t pick them up immediately, so you can choose which of your attacks you want to upgrade.
The game features both single and multiplayer mode via online. The single player mode consists of a ton of main and side missions for you to complete, and being able to play it with different characters does add a lot of replay value to them. I would love to have seen a few more single player modes added to the game just to flesh it out a bit. I was unable to play online multiplayer since I couldn’t find a single room when searching the servers.
I feel like Gensokyo Defenders is a mixed bag at the end of the day. The story and music are pretty weak, but the gameplay and artwork are top notch. I feel Touhou fans would certainly have fun with this one for the gameplay alone and fans of Tower Defense games will find a lot to love here as well. I just wouldn’t go into this one expecting super high production values at its $19.99 price tag, but if you want a solid Tower Defense game, this one is very likely worth your coin.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
doujinGensokyo DefendersSwitchTouhouTower Defense