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Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- Review – Cute in Dungeon

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Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- Review – Cute in Dungeon

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Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- Review

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- is a spinoff twice over. First, it’s a fan-made game based on the venerable Touhou Project franchise, a bullet hell series that’s been going since the 90s. Second, it’s a new installment in the existing Touhou Genso Wanderer series of Touhou-inspired dungeoncrawlers. The result is a game that, while enjoyable to some, has a very high entry barrier.

Some spinoff titles are excellent gateways into the series they’re based on. Unfortunately, Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- does not do a great job of setting up the world of Gensokyo or the zany cast of magical and monstrous girls who live there. What it does do is plunge the player and protagonist Reimu Hakurei into a new adventure with the unbridled spirit of the franchise.

Mechanically, this is a dungeoncrawler RPG with roguelike elements. Players level up, customize equipment, gather items, and recruit partners. Then they dive into vast, procedurally-generated dungeons and fight hordes of enemies in strategic, turn-based combat. When you’re not dungeon-crawling, you’re talking to people in various locations, managing your inventory, or upgrading the shrine.

Reimu becomes stronger through equipment bonuses, leveling up, and enhancing skill trees based on her bonds with her friends. She can also bring a partner with her to fight together. This brings me to the game’s biggest asset: its charming atmosphere.

Dungeoncrawling Wholesomeness

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- is adorable. The game opens with Reimu Hakurei, the shrine maiden of Hakurei Shrine, in trouble. After waking from a weird dream, her head is fuzzy, her magical powers seem reduced, and a goddess is calling her weak. To regain her memories and her strength, Reimu must battle her way through a series of dungeons and befriend the quirky residents of Gensokyo. All the while, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s done all of this before…

Reimu Hakurei thinking about her head being cloudy in Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT-.

If you’re familiar with Touhou Project, then you’ll have no trouble settling into this story’s flow. However, you might have a bit more trouble if you’re a newcomer to the franchise. This game does not spend a lot of time introducing its cast or the overall setting of Gensokyo. It gets straight into the plot and gameplay tutorials instead, which keeps the pacing snappy at the cost of cutting some context. Since the setting of Gensokyo and its vast array of characters are key to understanding the game’s story, this is a bit of an issue.

The extra information cut from this title includes the fact that Reimu is one of the pillars of Gensokyo, the mystical land of illusion. Where yokai still prey on human fear and human exorcists still fight things that go bump in the night. Having all the ghosts, gods, and monsters in the world crammed into close quarters leads to a lot of drama. It’s Reimu’s job to solve any incidents that arise.

This is fairly basic information to be cut from the game. This absence, along with some other choices, makes the title feel unfinished.

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- is the Definition of Niche Title

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- takes the player from one incident to another at high speed, while about 30 years worth of cute anime girls make cameos and reference Touhou Project memes. If you’re in the target audience, you’ll enjoy it. But I don’t recommend it to newcomers.

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- Three Fairies of Light asking Reimu to fight them.

The character portraits are adorable, the coloring is lovely, and the soundtrack is downright magical. Touhou is known for its excellent music, so I’m glad I can recommend Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT-’s enchanting instrumental tracks. The characters are also delightfully expressive. I love how Suika sways drunkenly while talking and Marisa gestures with her hands during explanations. There’s also a solid Japanese voice cast.

There are a variety of possible backgrounds and dungeon environments you can find. However, dungeoncrawling is still an inherently repetitive genre. If you get bored doing the same thing in similar locations for upwards of 30 levels at a time, this game isn’t for you.

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- shrine.

That said, there are a variety of fast-travel options make backtracking to the shrine easier. And although there’s no turning back once you enter a dungeon, death is barely a slap on the wrist. You respawn at the shrine with everything you had on the level before dying. This makes the game easier than a lot of similar titles, for better or for worse.

Could Use Polish

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- is still far from easy, though. Beating side dungeons is practically mandatory to power up, and I kept having to re-try story dungeons after dying to bosses. Status effects can absolutely destroy Reimu and her partners in a few turns and there are a ton of them. Good luck predicting which combo of resistances you need to survive a given level.

There’s a real sense of tension when navigating the deeper levels of a dungeon you’re barely high enough level for. Bad luck can destroy a run in an instant. However, the real issue when delving 30+ levels deep is the wonky icons and item descriptions. It can be incredibly hard to tell what affects a given enemy. And there are a few wonky translations in the item descriptions.

Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- dungeoncrawling.

Furthermore, it’s really hard to find the full description for some items. The text is cut off in the pop-ups and not visible on the inventory screen. I had to go into the Library to find the information, which completely wrecked the game’s pacing. The generated levels can be really poorly designed as well.

All in all, if you don’t enjoy wandering through randomly generated dungeons and frantically managing items, Touhou Genso Wanderer -FORESIGHT- might not be for you. But if you already like dungeoncrawlers and know about Touhou Project, you might have fun. Let’s just hope the devs continue fleshing out the experience post-launch.

***PC code provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Cute art
  • Great music
  • Tense gameplay
  • Forgiving dungeoncrawler

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The Bad

  • Feels unfinished
  • Wonky translations
  • Weird level generation
  • Item description issues
  • Forgiving dungeoncrawler



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