The recent influx of Touhou games for the Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita continues with the arrival of Touhou Genso Wanderer, now available for handheld and console.
One thing you definitely can’t deny the recent Touhou series of videogames is diversity. Double Focus, Genso Rondo Bullet Ballet and Genso Wanderer are radically different games, and will appeal to different crowds as well as die-hard Touhou fans. Genso Wanderer is no exception, and it’s similar to its somewhat-namesake Shiren the Wanderer. This Touhou title is more accessible in terms of gameplay than Shiren was though, which should please relative newcomers to the roguelike genre.
Not quite as accessible is the story material, for which I had to ask our resident Touhou expert for explanations a few times. It’s nothing you can’t figure out on your own, but it definitely helps to have a little extra background knowledge. The super-short synopsis here is that, upon touching a magic artifact, one of your friends has unlocked an evil that now roams the land and has conjured up a giant tower.
As with any roguelike title, keeping your character alive is crucial – the longer, the better. In Genso Wanderer, this doesn’t just mean being successful in combat, you’ll also have to consume plenty of food. Equipment plays a large role as well, and after you’re joined by a travel companion you’ll want to equip her as well. Crafting items becomes more important as the game progresses, although it’s called “fusing” here.
Enemy interactions make good use of tile-based system that mixes real time movements with turn based combat. You move tiles, the enemy moves tiles – it’s a completely different genre, but it brought back memories of Superhot for me. This is a roguelike though, and in this case death means you lose your experience points and money, but you retain your items. If you were rocking an overpowered weapon when you died, you’ll keep that as you are set back so you can plough through hordes or enemies quickly.
Touhou Genso Wanderer is rather unremarkable, but also rather solid. It’s accessible even for non-Touhou fans, and not too overwhelming for those who shy away from the tougher roguelikes. If you’re a fan of the genre then you’re probably better off with Shiren the Wanderer, but you could do a lot worse than this one. The visuals fit well with the Vita, although the small screen can give the layout a somewhat cluttered feeling at times – making me wish there was more of a viewing area to spread all the elements around on.