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Game Info:

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle
Developed By: Team Shanghai Alice/Mediascape Co., Ltd./CUBETYPE
Published By: NIS America
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Available On: PS4 (PS VR included), PS Vita, Switch, Windows (Japan only, maybe coming to Steam someday?)
Genre: 3D Shoot ‘em up Fighter
Number of Players: 1-2, online or split screen
ESRB Rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
MSRP: $29.99

Thank you NIS America for sending us this game to review!

The Touhou universe is based on a long and storied series of shoot ‘em ups out of Japan since the 1990s. Team Shanghai Alice created the series, and has a rather unique way of serving their fans – by allowing them to create fan-created works derived from the main works, with the full blessing of the creator. There are some limitations, but he’s pretty open with it. As a result, it has become the “most prolific fan-made shooter series" according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle is a spinoff game in the arena battle style. There is some visual novel-esque conversation, and then the inevitable friendly spat that leads to violence. This violence takes the form of a one-on-one 3D arena battle, where you and your opponent shoot at each other, or run up and melee with them, until their life meter depletes. Like most fighters, it’s a best out of three contest.

Each character has three attack buttons, a jump button, a dash button, and a guard button.  The attacks also have variations where you press the dash button, or even both the dash and guard buttons.  If you get close enough to your enemy, then the attacks automatically become melee, which can be helpful – or also hurtful, as it’s not always what you intended.

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle
Highlights:

Strong Points: Decent character selection and variety; good move variation between characters; more complex than it first appears
Weak Points: Not a lot to it; Japanese voices only
Weak Points: Not a lot to it; Japanese voices only
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence, as you beat up your friends for fun; a few conversations seem sexually suggestive, though it ends up innocent; one girl called another cute; Meiling is mercilessly called China and other stereotypes related to that; magic use, by the player and enemies; one character constantly shows off hexagrams

Each attack, as well as dash, has a regeneration meter where too much usage can require a delay before using it again – or in the case of dash, an even more dangerous forced rest where you can’t move or fight back. Managing your stamina is an important part of any fight.

Another important meter is the charge meter. When your opponent attacks, often they will be balls of energy or something, and these attacks can usually be avoided – but sometimes you can also shoot them out of the sky. When this happens, you earn energy for your charge meter. Once this maxes out, you can activate your spell – which is a very powerful attack that can drastically turn the tide in battle. Most fights take a few minutes, because individually, attacks take off a tiny chunk of health; spells take off half of the bar or even more depending on the character.

There are nine characters (and one paid DLC character) to choose from. Each of them, from Reimu to Cirno to Patchouli all play very differently, with some like Meiling being fantastic melee characters, with others like Patchouli being amazing at ranged attacks. I find it kind of tacky that the tenth character is sitting there with a lock over her icon (and requiring a $2.99 purchase from the eShop) but it is what it is. The characters definitely have their own personalities through the combat and dialog, and it was mildly interesting to read. Each character’s story mode can be beaten in ten to twenty minutes, so it’s a pretty short game overall.

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 64%
Gameplay - 12/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 76%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 9/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

Other than the story mode, there is arcade mode, which is an endless arena where you fight one character after another, trying to get the highest victory count. There is also the very similar score attack mode, which is an endless mode where you keep fighting one enemy after another, accumulating points until you finally die. Both give you a small amount of health back in between bouts, but not to full (unless you were close to full anyway). You can also play one-off fights against the computer, or human players either split-screen or online. I could not find players online when I checked.

Morally, there is violence, as expected. There is no blood or gore, and no one actually dies. There is plenty of magic use. One of the characters is a fairy, another a vampire, with yet another a youkai (some kind of demon spirit). The main character is a shrine maiden, which is a common religious figure in Japan. All of them are very cute looking anime girls, and look rather young. Meiling is Chinese, and is constantly made fun of, by calling her names like ‘China’, and is lazy and sleeps while on duty as a guard. One of the girls called another cute, and there are a couple of lines that could be interpreted as being sexual in nature – but it is revealed later that nothing like that is actually going on. One mention of the word ‘boob’ is used, as a character is being pressed against them.

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle is... okay. That’s really the best way I can explain it. If you are a Touhou fan, or are looking for fighting games off the beaten path, then you could find some fun here if you take the time to figure out the not initially obvious fighting mechanics. The first time I played it, I thought this game was going to be completely terrible; by the time I figured everything out, I had determined it’s not terrible. Just not particularly great. It’s probably a fun diversion if the price is right on deep discount.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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