Believe it or not Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity originally started as a fan project. XSEED having seen their passion for the project decided to release it as a spin off, which shows their dedication to their fans. Now as for me I have only heard of Touhou not being a big bullet hell fan have not played any of the previous games, I am though a fan of Action RPGs and hack and slash gameplay, so I will not be able to compare too much to the previous iterations.
The game starts out with Remilia a 500 year old vampire being bored in her mansion with her faithful servant Sakuya. Remilia wants something to do with all her vampiric strengths and powers that is worthy of her time, she soon gets what she wants. When suddenly a monster attacks and destroys her home and now she sets off on a journey of revenge that slowly turns into a mystery that is interesting but doesn’t quite capture your attention.
So Scarlet Curiosity is an ARPG, it’s gameplay is very similar to games like Kingdom Hearts or the “Tales of” series. You have hack and slash combat with a side of magic and special abilities. At the main menu when you pick new game you have a choice of two names, as someone who is unfamiliar with the series I picked the bottom one which turned out to be Sakuya the maid. The camera angle of the game is isometric at first with it switching to a 2D side scrolling angle at times depending on which area you’re in. An issue arises with the enemies; they blend into the environment too much. This usually gets you hit for no reason because you couldn’t see the little fairy sitting in the bush in the top left corner of the screen. Luckily the enemies shoot out little glowing orbs of energy that shows you where their attacking from.
The game also features a level system as any ARPG should, by defeating creatures around the map you are able to gain experience points which obviously level you up. With these new levels comes new ability which you may end up needing during the boss fights. The boss fights in the game are definitely the most fun I’ve had in Scarlet Curiosity, with the normal enemies they are pretty easy to dispatch with very little effort. The boss fights on the other hand are very similar to the original series with the bosses shooting out insane amounts of orbs in the same fashion as players have come to expect in Touhou. With the sea of orbs making their way towards you the abilities definitely come in useful.
There is also an equipment system in the game with the player being able to switch out weapons, armour and accessories to improve their stats. This isn’t very fleshed out with it just being a very simple feature where you just switch things out when you get new things and not feeling very robust. The game also features a store that allows you to buy new equipment that; there is a problem with that though which is that the store doesn’t allow you to see the changes the equipment has on your character before buying so you have to buy them blindly.
Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity in the end is an impressive fan project and a pretty good game. The gameplay is simple but fun with interesting bosses to keep you trying over and over to defeat. The story unfortunately is not as compelling as the gameplay and leads to a lot of skipping to get back to the meat of the game; the combat. With some issues overall the game does deliver an interesting blend of ARPG and Bullet hell and that alone makes it worth a try.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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