Touhou Luna Nights is an action platformer title actually developed as a fangame, featuring characters and locations from the Touhou series of bullet hell shooters. For those of us who have encyclopedic knowledge of the series, this is a fanboy’s dream game! Luna Nights released into early access in 2018 and was fully released in 2019 before making its way to the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Via: NookGaming

Set in the world of Gensokyo, you take on the role of Sakuya Izayoi, a maid at a mysterious mansion who is transported to a parallel universe and stripped of her powers. The person responsible for this is Remilia Scarlet, head vampire of the mansion, who seems to be messing with Sakuya just for kicks. Sakuya will need to explore the mansion, regain her lost abilities and attempt to escape the twisted dimension to return home. We won’t spoil the plot but it did not do enough to cement a memorable story in our minds. Scattered throughout the parallel universe are monstrous youkai which you will need to defeat in order to progress with a range of combat and movement abilities you build up over the course of the short 5-hour campaign.

Via: Rock Paper Shotgun

Visually, this game is a treat, with beautifully crafted sprites and very detailed backgrounds that bring the mansion to life. There are a large variety of enemies to defeat, each with creative designs and animations. At one point, as we were running through a bamboo garden, long bamboo stalks passed in front of Sakuya while the path was warmly lit by ancient lanterns. Outside of the mansion, weather effects like rain will come into play, again setting the tone and providing some much needed variation to the levels. Despite being confined mostly to these interior environments, the level design was surprisingly diverse with dungeon style basements, cherry blossom grounds and a haunted library.

Via: Gamereactor UK

In terms of gameplay, Touhou Luna Nights will see Sakuya traversing platforming sections, battling ghoulish enemies, solving puzzles and taking on beastly boss fights. Aside from melee attacks, you will gain new abilities and items such as throwing knives to take down enemies from a distance. One of the main mechanics is Sakuya’s ability to stop time, useful in both action sequences and puzzle solving. You have a health meter and well as a magic bar which depletes after using said abilities. This refills over time or can be replenished at various vending machines strewn throughout the world.

Via: Siliconera

As you acquire new abilities, new areas of the mansion will become accessible, putting Luna Nights firmly into the metroidvania genre. It was highly satisfying to come back to previously unsolved puzzles to progress to an unexplored location. A rather unique mechanic in the game is the graze system, where if enemy attacks just miss Sakuya, she will gain a vast amount of HP and MP, leading to some tense moments to strategically recover by barely dodging a hit. As you defeat enemies and bosses, you will collect gold which can be used to purchase new upgrades, abilities and weapons.

Via: Youtube/Gellot

Touhou Luna Nights is a fun and visually stunning metroidvania experience, set in an interesting and varied world. The story here is serviceable at best despite some very cool bosses and characters interwoven throughout. If you are a fan of the Touhou series, you will probably get more out of this fan-made experience than most others, as there is a cast of returning characters and locations particularly from Touhou Koumakyou: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. While the game is enjoyable through its combat and progression, there is just not enough of it, with perhaps 10 hours of content if you explore every area of the mansion, solve every puzzle and purchase every upgrade.

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