Touhou Genso Wanderer is one of the better Touhou games, but it has the same issues that the original release did. It’s a great fit for Switch, and its bite-sized dungeon-crawler gameplay is perfect for short bursts but, and this is a big but, the conversations are not quite as digestible.
Genso Wanderer sees you play as Reimu and many of her friends, or acquaintances, as they travel to save Gensokyo after Rinnosuke becomes possessed by a magical Gold Sphere and brings darkness to the world. Reimu isn’t a particularly engaging protagonist, and she comes off as rather rude a lot of the time, and the story in general failed to connect with me. Conversations go on far too long and do very little to develop characters or the narrative, and I found myself battling to not skip pass them.
Each dungeon takes place across several levels, and from an isometric view-point, and the gameplay itself is fun. Similar to The Curse of the Great Curry God, Genso Wanderer allows you to attack in all eight directions. It’s turn-based in the way that only one character can move at a time, and you can bait enemies towards you quite easily to thin out the numbers, rather than see yourself surrounded.
You start with no items each time you enter a dungeon, but there’s equipment strewn about everywhere. Enemies drop them, and they’re already on the floor, so you’ll have no problem in finding equipment. Decent equipment is a different beast, though, and too often will you find yourself with weak weapons that seem nigh pointless to have.
Outside of melee weapons, the best tools you have are scrolls which can damage every enemy in the room, or provide other powerful blessings. I wouldn’t recommend spamming them, especially as you’re sometimes thrust into a room where there’s an enemy on almost every single square, and they truly are a life-saver. Dying and restarting can become repetitive, as do the mechanics themselves, but those who enjoy the grind, and trial-and-error, will find plenty to do here.
Genso Wanderer has a lovely art style which truly shines in its portraits when conversing, although the chibi portraits used for dungeons and exploring are cute, too. Conversations may be overly long, but seeing the multitude of expressions and uniquely-designed characters makes it a little easier to put up with. The dungeons themselves lack variety between floors, compared to the towns you can visit which are colourful and flavourful. The Japanese voice-acting is delightful, too.
Touhou: Genso Wanderer Reloaded is a solid game, but one with such lengthy conversations that you can’t help but become tired of them. Dungeons are fun, but the repetition aspect can also become tiring, and if you’ve played the original version, then it’s only worth picking up Reloaded if you really enjoyed the experience. There are new characters, scenarios and previously released DLC included, so there’s plenty of new content to see here. It’s the best Touhou game I’ve played, but it’s difficult to recommend at its current price. It’s worth a shot when it’s cheaper, though.
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