Touhou  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Touhou  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Shikhondo - Soul Eater - When Shmups, Style, and Demons Collide Mon, 27 Aug 2018 14:16:03 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Yes, you can consider me one of the bigger shmup players on GS. I find them fun, but I'm not very good at them. I enjoy them for the value they place on short time commitments for players. This feeling was no different with Shikhondo: Soul Eater, now available on the PlayStation 4. 

This is Korean developer DeerFarm's first foray onto the console market as well as their fifth studio title. So is this Korean mythology inspired shooter fun to play? Find out in our review.

The game's details are minimal but the story is easy to follow. Demons, ghosts, and bad things are threatening the land. A grim reaper and a teenage girl are tasked with saving the world and sending them back to limbo.


The Style

It would be easy to say that all arcade shooters are the same. However that's quite untrue. Sure, they share a lot in common design-wise. There are various modes such as arcade, boss rush, score keeping, and so on. Shikhondo, like a few games stands out because of it's unique blend of execution and design.

You'll traverse a number of stages shooting things that go bump in the night. You'll have to avoid waves of enemy fire as stages get increasingly more difficult. The title really stands because of its presentation. Everything within the title is very vibrant. Everyone from canon fodder foes, the heroines, and bosses fit the aesthetics beautifully. 

The Substance

The game isn't pulling any punches with its gameplay. Even if you're playing on easy, you'll probably die often. Bullet hell games teach you to observe the space around you, and this one's no different. If you try to keep track of an entire screen filled with energy blasts.. you'll lose fast. The game does a good job of teaching (or forcing) you to recognize enemy patterns. That is, of course, you aren't too stressed out just trying to live. 

Shikhondo does a good job of presenting it's dangers with little room to breathe. Often you'll be flying through a stage mowing down foe after foe. Then more challenging foes are introduced in between easier targets. Stages are short and the goal is to make it to each boss in one piece. If you can.

Speaking of bosses: they're probably my second favorite aspect of the game. The bosses have 2 phases. Their first forms are pretty "harmless" -- well, they won't put up much of a fight. Now, when they transform into their true forms? This is when you put your skills to the test.

The screen will be flooded (yes, flooded) with bullets and you'll need to stay alive while trying to shoot them. It's a tall order but it'll leave you satisfied when you win. DeerFarm really made a solid skill based game for players to enjoy their victories.

Ah Choices, Choices 

As I mentioned before, the game shares a lot of modern day designs. One feature that's hardly seen anywhere is local coop mode.

Yes that's right, you and a friend can clear the game as both heroines. In 2018, that's a great feature to have. Having a friend right there adds another layer of joy and camaraderie. Multiplayer in shmups isn't new but the option is always welcome.

Now this game features one more exciting feature, my favorite: customize mode. In this mode you can change the parameters of how the game plays.

I'll offer an example with the Soul Gauge. It's a meter that fills normally if you dodge enemy shots that come close by to you. When full, you can enter Soul Attack mode, where for a limited time your attack is a lot more powerful. In customize, you can change this where the gauge fills as you shoot enemies. So you can enter the mode faster and deal more damage as you go on.

In actual function, you can make the game easier. More importantly you can impose more handicaps on yourself to an already challenging experience. This not only extends it's replay value but it empowers players to be experts. These are options I have hardly seen in any game.

Current Call

Shikhonodo's only negative is that it's outshined by other titles. It's still a fun game and that isn't negative in any sense.

It was designed well to be a well timed experience and challenge. 

With every arcade shooter I play, I ask; how welcoming can they be for newcomers?

The best games within the genre can be daunting and off-putting. Shikhondo however doesn't have that problem. If someone clears easy mode, they certainly can move on to harder difficulties with more time invested. It offers a full campaign within a short time period, which offers a lot of chance to practice.

If you're a fan or looking to start shmups, you can't go wrong with Shikhondo. It's stylish, well executed, has number of features, and hold no punches. 

Fans of shmups and arcade game can play Shikhondo: Soul Eater today via the PlayStation Store.

(Review code was provided from the publisher.)

How a game series' fandom is more popular than the game Sun, 20 Mar 2016 14:34:05 -0400 StratGamer48

Touhou Project is a 2-D, third person shooting bullet hell game series. ZUN, the developer of Touhou, released its first game Highly Responsive to Prayers in 1996 in Japan on the PC-98 platform. Since the sixth game, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, all of the games are released on PC.   Gensukyo is the world where the game takes place. In Japanese, it means "imaginary land", a world for forgotten objects from the outside world (the world we live in). Its characters are mostly less well known Japanese mythological monsters. After entering Gensukyo, most of these youkai (Japanese monsters) become cute looking anime girls.

The video above is a well known example of fan-made music derived from the theme song at Lotus Land Story's third stage. YouTube views proved the fan creation Bad Apple's popularity far exceed the original soundtrack.  

As many different varieties of youkai enter Gensukyo as a new series is created, the demographic and population increase inspires the fandom to create more content. However, I can't cover all of them in one post so I will write articles on the background stories and the characters in these games at a later point.  Here's the list of youkai introduced over the eight games of the Gensukyo series. (Sorry if I missed out your favorite one but these do bring a lot of new youkai.)

1. Embodiment of Scarlet Devil -- Vampires, a maid with abilities to stop time, a magician, a door guardian beast, and faeries.  This is the only work piece featuring Western mythological creatures and has the most popular theme song according to Touhou Popularity Polls. 


2. Imperishable Night -- Immortal humans from the moon, immortal humans from Earth, elite rabbit soldiers from moon, and youkai that rely on the moon.  A sequel and a prequel were released in 2004.  


3. Subterranean Animism -- Satori (youkai with ability to see through human thoughts, a cat that carry dead bodies, a raven that wields nuclear power, a super-strength ghost, and various hell residents).  This is the game that opened the underworld  SA

4. Mountain of Faith -- Two ancient goddess who lost followers in reality, demi-goddess, a youkai reporter and guardians, mechanical engineer kappa, the goddess of unfortunate, and twin lesser goddesses of harvest. This one is like a Pantheon with the amount of divine population.  

5. Undefined Fantastic Object -- A reincarnated Buddhist saint (like Buddhist Jesus), an ancient alien,  youkai Buddhists, and a forgotten umbrella. Following this pattern, there are also a mechanical engineer and nuclear power. ZUN proved that we can mix fantasy with sci-fi.


6. Ten Desires -- Taoism immortals which returned to life. They were actually ancient nobles who seek immortality. And, of course, there are more alien and a Chinese zombie


7.Double Dealing Characters -- commoner peasant youkai in the youkai world such as mermaid, werewolf, musical instrument youkai, head-flying (like the Eastern version of Dullahan), a ghost troll that can reverse anything and a mini-humanDDC

8. Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom -- More elite moon rabbit, USA flag on moon, a bad mouth, a divine spirit with lots of wrath, and the goddess of hell.  The latest released game is Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, which released in April 2015. It is a perfect combination of sci-fi and classic fantasy because it involves magic, spaceships, the American moon-landing, and divine beings.


Besides bullet hell shooting games, there are fighting games such as Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and Urban Legend of Limbo.  

With such an interesting background setting, fans started to create fan-fictions, remix original soundtracks, and create art for the characters. Some of them even have consent from ZUN himself to make money off of their doujin products such as books, figurines, paintings and waifu pillows.

(source from internet)Screenshot of one of the official Touhou games, Mountain of Faith which the main character Reimu is facing the fifth stage boss, Sanae.

(source from internet)

Screenshot of an official Touhou fighting game, Urban Legend of Limbo.


(source origins from Internet)

Doujin books from Japan.

(Image sourced from Internet)

Touhou doujin artwork of Yamaxanadu Komachi, new character from Phantasmagoria of Flower View

In my observation on the fandom, Touhou's success is from doujin (fan-made content), such as music, images, fictions and even games. At the same time, as most of the doujin products are free, they are more easily spread around the Internet. Since the release of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Touhou has gained popularity on the Internet via doujin creations.

Today, there are fan made manga, music, figurines and hentai on social media websites such as YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter and Deviantart. The creator, ZUN, doesn't file copyright claims against these works as he believes this will only make his work more popular.  According to an interview with ZUN at NicoNico Super Conference, if one of his fans got arrested for making a doujin work for violating the TPP law, he would defend this fan in front of the police. The fandom and the origin work are interconnected. Without one, it would be harder for the other successful.

Touhou Coming West After Twenty Years Sun, 03 May 2015 14:56:10 -0400 Thomas M Gumbel

The Touhou series sees its first-ever official Western/English release on May 7 of this year.  Barring, of course, various less-than-official English patches.  The localization team at Japanese indie game distributor Playism says they’re releasing two of the most recent Touhou games in English simultaneously: Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character and TakkomanTakkoman’s a platformer; Double Dealing Character, being another main Touhou installment, is a bullet hell.  Double Dealing Character originally came out in the summer of 2013, and Takkoman’s a fan-made game based on Touhou mythos. 


Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character

Touhou is something of a Japanese crossmedia indie phenomenon.  ZUN (that’s one guy’s pseudonym, not a company name) has cranked out almost twenty Touhou games to date since the mid-90s, most of them bullet hells or fighters.  Unlike a lot of doujin, ZUN’s universe is completely original.  Over the past twenty years, the Touhou fever’s spread to manga, light novels, and a crazy amount of fan works.



Double Dealing Character and Takkoman will be available through the Playism store in just a few short days, for $15 and $10, respectively.  This series is gigantic overseas; we’ll see how it fares here.