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  1. #1

    Touhou Luna Nights - Switch, PC, Xbox

    I know nothing about Touhou but thought this game looked excellent when it came out a while ago on PC. Unfortunately I don't like playing games on my PC so patiently waited for the Switch port which released just before Christmas.

    It is a shortish Metroidvania made by Team Ladybug, a small Japanese team who apparently make great vania type games. They did the Jack Frost promo game for one of the SMT releases and also have Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth in early access. The game is based on some of the Touhou characters and you play as a maid girl that has time stopping powers. She is transported to some kind of fabricated world which is traversed Metroidvania style with bosses that have bullet hell inspired attack patterns (Touhou is mainly (?) a shooter series).

    The game looks great and the main character has a fantastic sprite. She is snappy, responsive and fast. Combat is quick and the platforming excellent. She fights by throwing knives and slowing down time. The time slow is often used for exploration but is essential for slowing down enemy bullet patterns or freezing enemies while you create a barrage of knives that shoot forward when you unfreeze time. The knife barrage is a fantastic looking effect and the time meter management creates a great ebb and flow to combat and exploration. It forces you to stop and think about how best to use the meter and master your movements. The knife/time combo is the basis for a lot of the vania ability unlocks that allow you to access more of the world. A couple of them were nice surprises and inventive so I won't spoil them.

    The bosses are real highlight. They each have a great variety of attacks and seem impossible at first but then you learn the specifics of the patterns and you learn to dance through them. The bosses often have shmup inspired patterns but also mix them up with more traditional vania style attacks. Health potions are very limited in the game so you can't spam heal your way through them, you're really forced to get good.

    The game is 5-10 hours depending on how difficult you find it (mine was closer to 10, I'm bad at games) which is a great length for it. There isn't any padding but you can see how it could be expanded into a much larger game. It hasn't got as much of the weird flourishes and generous touches of magic that Symphony has, it is slimmer and more focused. Obviously Symphony is a masterpiece but my point is that this is tight and trim vania style game, not the big feasts of Igarashi games.

    My only real criticism with the game is that there aren't enough unique rooms visually. This is made by a small team so the amount of art assets is limited which means it lacks memorable landmarks.I'd also really like it if it had a REmake 2 style map which colours the rooms based on whether you've found everything in them. I don't think this is essential for a vania game but since this game lacks unique landmarks, a more helpful map would help you remember where to backtrack and explore to.

    I really loved the game and can't wait to play whatever Team Ladybug do next when it comes to console. Highly recommended if you like vania games and what a cool, small game while you wonder why the hell Konami don't put all their GBA and DS games on Switch.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Touhou as a project is something that's so sprawling and dense that I've never really found my in-road, but this looks to be very much my thing. Definitely going on the list.

  4. #4
    The main/official series are vertical-scrolling bullet hells and a couple are available on Steam, the rest are fan games spanning to JRPGs done in RPG Maker (or similar), to Metroidvanias, passing through dungeon crawlers, third-person shooters, and different styles of shumps.

  5. #5
    There's a pretty cool puzzle game on Switch that I tried the demo for. Puzzle Bobble but with a rhythm element when you create combos. Seemed pretty good.


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