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Review: Touhou Mechanical Scrollery

Touhou Mechanical Scrollery is a self-described free-flying, hunting, action RPG developed by 巫女さん作法 and published by Phoenix inc. This 3D bullet hell game combines fast-paced action with visually stunning bullet patterns (danmaku).

The game can effectively be broken down into two sections: fast-paced combat and text-based storytelling. The story is rather straight forward: a mysterious book shows up in a bookstore and transports the readers to a world filled with mechanized weapons that are there to give you a bad day. It’s up to the main characters Reimu, Marisa, and entourage to solve the book’s mysterious whereabouts. Playful dialogue is shared among the characters, but if patience isn’t one's virtue then the option to skip can be exercised.

While the story isn’t anything crazy to rave about, the gameplay certainly makes up for the lost ground. Flying combat mixed with fast-paced attacking will be sure to satisfy any button masher enthusiast. The ability to swap between melee and ranged attacks adds variety to enemy encounters. As an added bonus the player can snipe opponents from a distance to give the player the tactical advantage. This is especially useful when trying to disable enemy weapons or weaken heavily armored areas before jumping into melee combat. Of course, the fun doesn’t stop there: landed attacks fill a spell gauge that when used unleashes an impressive display of danmaku as well as damage.

The robotic enemies encountered are reminiscent of animals found in nature: spiders, wasps, bats, and others. Enemy AI is slow when it comes to tracking especially given that the characters can move rather quickly. Most levels will appear the same as previous ones, but each stage will require an objective to be completed before progressing. Objectives can be as simple as destroying a set number of enemies or taking on a boss. Bosses in this game require a little more strategy than normal button-mashing encounters. Often times the player will need to switch between close and ranged combat for a successful hunt as bosses come equipped with unique (and stylish) attack patterns.

Destroying enemies and their equipment allows the player to loot the wreckage. The materials can then be used to craft new weapons between a chapter’s levels. The crafting system itself is pretty basic but the added humor to the weapons brought a welcoming sense of humor. Players can expect to replay levels a couple times in order to save up enough materials for their next big weapon purchase.

A couple obstacles to note are the default controls and the camera. Touhou Mechanical Scrollery comes equipped with Xbox controller support, but it is by no means ready for gameplay without tinkering with the settings. Players can expect to visit this screen more than a couple times to find a button layout that is familiar to him/her.

The other obstacle worth mentioning is the camera. Sometimes the camera will go behind walls, revealing level makeup and edges. While this is by no means a deal breaker, some improvements could be made to halt the camera before it goes into glitch mode. Additionally, flying around a map at your leisure is fine, but when it comes to combat the requires constant user input. Due to the speed of combat it’s not uncommon to be swinging wildly in the air due to the poor tracking. This is a tough obstacle to overcome in action-packed games, but credit should be given to the developers for making it somewhat bearable.

Final Grade: B-

To conclude, Touhou Mechanical Scrollery presents a visually pleasing video game experience. Where the story fall short the game makes up for in combat. Its fast-paced action catering to multiple play styles allows for an enjoyable button mashing experience. The variety of enemies encountered promises to keep the look of the game interesting, but the enemy AI leaves much to be desired. The game requires additional polishing, but overall it might be worth your $20.



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