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Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity

Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is another game set in the Touhou extended universe which comprises both the official games in the Touhou Universe and fan projects set in the Touhou Project of which encompass a wide variety of games from various genres such as bullet hell shooters, rogue-lite rpgs, diablo style brawler and more! The game stars the vampire Remilia Scarlet and her loyal maid, Sakuya. Within the course of five hundred years, Remilia has found herself growing bored of life. She happens to learn of a monster residing in a lake nearby and decides that attempting to slaughter might provide good sport. She wants something exciting and when she hears about a tough new baddie in the neighborhood, she goes to find it. While she is out, it destroys her house and it is up to you to make it pay for its actions.

If you are not already familiar with them, the Touhou Project is a collection of titles by one guy named Zun who develops games under the name Team Shanghai Alice. He creates art, music, and the games themselves. The origin series, Touhou Universe, has been around since the 90s. As a franchise, it is exceedingly popular in Japan, to the point where numerous fan projects are set in the IP. Unlike other copyright holders who are notoriously protective of their property, the Touhou Universe enjoys a policy of openness, encouraging the enthusiastic to not only create their own works based on the long running series, but to profit off it as well.

Players take either control of Remilia or Sakuya and lead them through 10 chapters in search of a monster who has destroyed their mansion. Each character has their own trophy set, equipment and skills, and dialogue will differ depending on which character you play as. But each one will traverse the same areas doing battle with the same enemies and completing the game with either character opens up an optional twenty floor dungeon. Defeating the boss there grants you an alternate ending,

There’s something to be said about jumping over a wall of bullets, timing a dive attack to land right when there is the briefest pause in the flurry, the melding of Diablo style of action/RPG aesthetics combined with bullet hell screen filling patterns is AWESOME! I used a PS4 controller to play this game so the button references will reflect that. The Square button provides your basic attack, with X enables you to jump. Specialized skill attacks are mapped to the Triangle and Circle buttons, and you need to charge them up by filling small blue diamonds underneath the health bar. R1 launches a powerful spell attack, dealing a great amount of damage. (A large purple diamond to the left of the health bar needs to be filled to use it.) As the characters level up, new skills and spells are learned, and you can swap them in and out through the Pause menu.

As you level up, you’ll gain more blue diamonds, meaning you can use your skill attacks multiple times. There are three equipment slots: one for a weapon, one for an article of clothing, and one for a gem. Each item carries its own stats and can boost things like base attack power or item drops. You’ll encounter plenty of items with the same name, but it helps to check their stats, as they may vary. Making sure you’re equipped well and have the most powerful Skills at your disposal becomes more crucial as the game goes on, as some later game bosses can provide a decent challenge.

To match the lively cast, a suitably bubbly soundtrack is included that'll have you tapping your toes as you face enemy forces. Graphically the game looks really good with an amazing amount of detail in the environments and especially with the shimmering and reflections off of the water. The only downside I’ve seen graphically is how the characters look with very simplistic looks and the enemy characters looking even more bland and often blending in with the backgrounds. Also, there is no voice work at all. The game is also quite short: You can essentially finish the entire campaign in an evening or two which is rather brief for a JRPG.

In the end, I found Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity to be an enjoyable game; minus its short length/lack of story/no voice acting/bland graphics/etc, honestly if you’re looking for an enjoyable mixture of gameplay and creativity then this is the game for you! KASANOVA APPROVED!

*Review code provided by XSEED *

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