Review – Touhou: New World (PS5)

Touhou: New World – A Bullet Hell Adventure

The Touhou project series is renowned for its bullet hell shoot-em up style of gameplay, and Touhou: New World is the latest addition to this beloved franchise.

Embark on your journey in Touhou: New World by choosing one of two iconic characters, Reimu or Marisa, who both play significant roles in the Touhou universe. However, due to strange events unfolding in Gensokyo, either Reimu or Marisa finds themselves transported outside of their familiar world and into the realm of humans. It is worth noting that Gensokyo is a secluded land separated from the outside world and its inhabitants, despite their human-like appearances, are not humans themselves.

Upon arriving in the human world, you encounter a curious individual named Sumireko, who is astonished to meet an inhabitant of Gensokyo. Intrigued by the world beyond, Sumireko decides to join forces with the main character and venture into Gensokyo. While the overarching storyline may seem simple, Touhou: New World captivates players with its diverse and well-established cast of characters.

Combining elements of a JRPG adventure with bullet hell gameplay, Touhou: New World introduces players to the basics of combat in a seamless manner. The game provides comprehensive tutorials on attacking, defending, and executing special moves through boss battles. Additionally, Touhou: New World offers various battle and gameplay perspectives, such as engaging in a ring platform battle with the camera dynamically panning around you. The exploration aspect of the game is straightforward, featuring maps with multiple paths leading to the same destination. Early encounters with basic enemies pose little challenge, allowing players to dispatch them effortlessly with basic weapons and abilities. In fact, if you prefer a more relaxed approach, you can simply run past enemies. However, the true tests lie in the formidable boss battles that demand precise dodging, strategic healing, and skillful ability chaining. Furthermore, enemy groups become increasingly challenging as you navigate rooms with locked exits, necessitating the fending off of a variety of enemies, each possessing unique abilities.

Throughout the game, you’ll encounter destructible objects that yield new items and currency for purchasing equipment. Although the inclusion of these features adds an extra layer of engagement, I found the rewards from destroying objects to be adequate enough for progressing through the game. Nevertheless, defeating enemies rewards experience points and strengthens your character, making exploration a worthwhile endeavor. However, it’s essential to note that it’s relatively easy to overlook hidden treasures or optional encounters. Combat mechanics in Touhou: New World are straightforward, allowing players to attack, defend, and use four interchangeable abilities. Given the challenges presented by later bosses, upgrading your character’s abilities becomes crucial for success. The gameplay loop consists of alternating between story-based sequences and engaging gameplay segments. While Touhou: New World offers enough content to captivate fans, it might not resonate as strongly with those less familiar with the franchise.

Graphically, Touhou: New World presents a mixed bag, with certain areas appearing bland while others showcase vibrant visuals. However, the character portraits are highly detailed, adding depth to the overall aesthetic. Although the game may lack polish in certain aspects, I personally found enjoyment in the challenge of dodging enemy attacks and executing devastating combos flawlessly. Touhou: New World delivers a smooth gameplay experience without any noticeable slowdown. Furthermore, the music perfectly captures the essence of the Touhou series, immersing players in a captivating soundtrack that fans have come to expect from this beloved franchise.

A PlayStation 5 Review code was provided by XSeed Games.