Touhou Genso Wanderer is a roguelike RPG set within what is known as the Touhou Project which is a series of manic shooter games developed by the same person known as Tean Shanghai Alice. Going from super crazy bullet like shooters Touhou Genso Wanderer seeks a new direction into the roguelike RPG world.
The game follows the story of Reimu and Rinnosuke who are talking as normal when a strange situation happens and the Gold Orb that Rinnosuke is holding possesses him and forces Reimu into battle but is overwhelmed and is forced to retreat from him. Reimu then journeys out and seeks aid from Futo and Kasen.
The game will start you off with the basics as you go through a tutorial dungeon. The basics do become not so basic as there is a lot to remember especially if you do the trials in the Kasen Dojo; I recommend doing this to get the best experience with how things work. Some of the main things you need to remember are your Health and Tummy; without these, you are as good as doomed. No Health means you die and once your Tummy has depleted your Health will suffer. Fortunately, these are easy to recover with the many items you will find in Dungeons.
Dungeons in Touhou Genso Wanderer are randomly generated. You move across the maps like a grid; you can move in any direction including diagonal if it allows it; this is essential if you need to avoid a certain fight altogether. The gameplay is a similar style of games such as Chocobo Dungeon, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and The Awakened Fate Ultimatum. As you traverse the dungeons taking each step; so will each enemy; every turn you take to attack the enemy each enemy will attack you. You will also pick up Weapons and Armour; Money and Spell Cards. There is also many hazards to watch out such as obvious traps which will freeze you in place and not so obvious traps which are found all over dungeons; these will hit you should you step on them and can produce some minor to vastly major annoyances. This all sounds super easy when you start out; you can tackle enemies in short bursts and items are aplenty but soon you will find you are required to tread carefully.
The first issue I have is that your characters level resets everytime you return to base after entering a dungeon. The second is that money is dropped should you die; the latter isn’t too much of a problem as money can be stored in your base meaning it will still be there if you die. The first few floors you will be clearing lead up to another town and it is worth clearing these and getting as much as you can to help you; either way, you will most likely be retracing your steps through the first few floors. One thing that does not reset is your upgrades on your equipment; you can fusion weapons together to forge new ones making them more powerful. This is your lifeline so to speak as better equipment will mean you have more of a chance the further you progress. You will only retain your characters level as far as you make progress.
You will come across new places as you progress through the game; at safe havens such as towns you can rest as well as fill your tummy and buy and sell items. Cutscenes happen pretty often upon arriving somewhere new; even just going into all the shops I was greeted with a lengthy although quite amusing chat between Reimu and Futo. I found myself turning off the voice chat very soon though as the voices are in Japanese only. The characters do have a personality but for me, it didn’t work just reading the on-screen dialogue especially when it is too often and it doesn’t need to be and there is no option for an English voice over.
I am all for randomness in a dungeon crawler as in essence that is the core of what it’s about but in Touhou Genso Wanderer it falls short. Too many times you can find your character surrounded quickly by a pack of enemies; usually, when this happens you will find yourself without a spell card to take out all the foes and they can kill you quite easily within their turn and this can make the difficulty feel like it’s all over the place. If you do happen to die the game will redeem itself as you will only lose the time spent on where you had gotten to and your money and are able to keep everything else such as weapons and items. As stated before your weapons retain their levels so even if you didn’t make progress on foot; at least when you feel the game is being really unfair which at most times it is you can better yourself and hopefully the random element of luck with hefty weapons may save you the next time round.
Review code provided by: NIS America