Touhou 18 – Unconnected Marketeers (Trial Version)

I suppose talking about a demo version for a game we all know I’m going to play to death is missing the point, but please be patient with me as I talk about the newest installment of my greatest love.

I am very, very excited for this one. Th17 wasn’t a particularly strong showing, in my opinion, mostly due to the animal spirit mechanic (which I know is bold of me to say given Th12 is my favouite), but there are no bad Touhou games and a new entry in the series is always cause for celebration.

Seems like ZUN’s been playing Slay The Spire recently, as the gimmick this time around is powerup cards you buy between levels from a randomly chosen selection. From extra shot-types to passive buffs, there’s a surprising amount of variety considering this is a shooter, and each is based on a character from the series. Finally, by equipping Sanae with Byakuren’s scroll and Yukari’s border, I can rep all my faves! Just need the full version to have a Spring Is Here card and I’ll be set.

Just about everything in this game feels great, some of ZUN’s best work. The music is, as always, wonderful; even the title screen music made it to my playlist this time, and there’s a surprisingly upbeat, warm song that plays during Stage 3 which is an absolute joy to listen to. Contrasted against Sannyo’s dark, seedy theme, there’s already a real showcase of ZUN’s range on display.

There’s new girls too, each with a signature style of danmaku to run into constantly dodge heroically; the enemy spellcards are super fun and feel completely fresh, an impressive feat given we’re 18 games into the series and new ideas must be running thin.

Fin or Bin:

Every Touhou game is a Fin, but this one feels like a Fin+. The cards mechanic is easy enough to ignore if you just want a pure danmaku game, unlike the gimmicks in previous titles, but each one provides a decent enough buff that it’s also a good title for newcomers to the series to sharpen their teeth on. I’ll doubtlessly be posting another entry for the full version when it comes out (in May!!!!! That’s so soon!!!! Aaaaa!!!!!!!), but for now- very impressed. Touhou 18 stands a chance of becoming a top-tier title.

(Steam (storepage for full version- link to demo is included))

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