Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Touhou Double Focus Review (PlayStation Vita)

"Double the focus, double the trouble."

Title: Touhou Double Focus
Genre: Metroidvania
Developer: Aqua Style
Publisher: NIS America Inc.

Hurl yourself into the mysterious land of Gensokyo yet again to battle otherworldly adversaries as Touhou Double Focus takes the stage! It features a gameplay style that was previously though to exist only on the fan-made-side of Touhou, along with an ever scaling difficulty bar, no wonder the subtitle is "Double Focus." Gameplay can be described as unforgiving but with the setting and cast of characters, the "unforgiving" factor is negligible.

The series had taken root on the bullet-hell genre as a main driving force to its fame, contrary to this; Touhou Double Focus had diverted from that path and introduced a quirky and frantic Metroidvania as a palate refresher where you switch between two characters to ensure victory, and intricacy. Double Focus had not shed a dime of difficulty for the "hell" on "bullet-hell" remains rampant wherever you go, as the Game Over screen will be a frequent screen to moor upon.

As a spin-off, you'd expect Double Focus to be a bar higher or of similar visual grade as the other games in the series, but no, Double Focus presents its storyboard and environment as a dynamic comic, where even image stills can express a sense of movement. The game stratifies the fantasy genre as each stage is themed after certain fairy tales, though not content heavy, it does not feel incomplete for each area is filled with secrets to explore.

It's no surprise that Double Focus offers a varied musical score as that of the other Touhou Games though still shares similarities to the previous titles. The overall theme can shift from calm-as-day to do-or-die as the team behind Double Focus offers an exhilarating ride to those who wander into boss fights unprepared, most notably "MiracleStranger." One might find the stage based scores can be a bit off-key in terms of compatibility to the stage.

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Gameplay ◆◆◆◇◇
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Touhou Double Focus offers a fun and challenging Metroidvania experience and is backed by the sheer simplicity of its mechanics along with a vast exploration experience, though is held back by minute but crucial complications and is in need of a few adjustments to deliver a well-polished experience. A maniacal hell for beginners and a swift-ride for the skilled.
Overall Score