Touhou 16.5- Violet Detector

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The latest installment of the series was released at this week’s Comiket event, and it’s another .5 game in the vein of Shoot The Bullet. Sumireko is having some kinda fever dream where she’s combatting the residents of Gensokyo while trying to take selfies featuring the bullet patterns coming her way.

Unlike the previous photography games, you actually have to beat the spellcards in the same way as any of the mainline titles- shoot down the opponent. It’s kind of a weird, not-quite-fully-baked mishmash of the two where taking photos doesn’t really matter, so it’s kind of questionable why it’s there in the first place. Taking a photo with the boss visible in the frame will do a little chunk of extra damage to them, but good luck getting close enough to actually pull that off more than once per battle.

Sumireko has another trick up her sleeve, the ability to teleport a short distance. While on paper this could open up some really cool spellcard ideas (like featured in the absolutely superb Th14.3 Impossible Spellcard), the controls to activate the teleport are so finicky and imprecise that it’s almost useless. Having to double-tap shift, which you’ll likely already be pressing in order to Focus, and then pick a direction, in a game requiring frame-perfect reactions, is baffling. Why not just map it to C and teleport the direction you’re already moving??? Troubles are compacted further when the teleport sometimes simply refuses to acknowledge the direction you’ve chosen, and Sumireko just blankly stares down the incoming barrage.

Fin or Bin:

I am a huge, huge megafan of the Touhou series, and have been for almost ten years. I don’t think I’m enjoying this one very much, but it’s a Touhou game, and I’ll be Finishing it regardless.

Recommended to:

If you’re an established fan of the series, play one of the other photo games before this one to get a feel for them done properly, then try this one. New fans should absolutely not start here.

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