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| "The Touhou (Luna Nights) Thread" , posted Sun 3 Mar 08:05|
So as part of being an early access supporter of Team Ladybug, the same people who made Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue and a couple of other games based on popular properties recently released the full version of Touhou Luna Nights, and I must say, there hasn't really been a game in the series, official or fan made, that has given me newfound respect for ZUN's little franchise than this cool little time-based action "JoJovania" (DIOvania? You do fight a vampire after all.) You play as the indispensable maid Sakuya Izayoi as she explores a replica Scarlet Devil Mansion in a slickly presented 2D action game.
While the Touhou franchise itself is no stranger to having parody clones based on other genres (such as the Castlevania-style Koumajou Densetsu and it's sequel, not to mention MegaMari), what differentiates Luna Nights is its integration of Sakuya's time-stopping mechanics to the extent that it's incorporated into the fabric of the stage designs: For instance, you'll be presented with a pool of water next to a high ledge as an obstacle, and normally your character would end up not being able to jump high enough to reach across. Enter Sakuya's ability to stop time and cross the body of water as if was solid. The same properties of water can also be used to prevent our protagonist from passing while time is stopped, thus creating interesting conundrums for puzzles.
Combat is also another aspect this game gets right: For attacks, Sakuya throws knives that consume some amount of MP, which slowly refills over time. Spamming the knives would deplete you of MP quickly. Holding down the attack button let's Sakuya unleash "snail-time" and slow adversaries down, thus increasing attack power for a greater consumption of MP. Fortunately Sakuya has a means to recover MP quickly during combat...
Enter the Grazing mechanic of this game: Now grazing is something that typically works better in shmup titles as a supplement to the scoring system, but in Luna Nights, the grazing box is generous enough that being within proximity to enemies would net you some HP or MP, depending on whether they are time-snailed or time-stopped. There's a constant push and pull to switch between using time-snail and time-stop depending on the situation that calls for, and it helps that there's a great assortment of layouts and enemy times that fully take advantage of these mechanics. There are even enemies who react differently to Sakuya's time abilities as well!
That's not all what this game excells at: The boss battles are pretty fun to figure out in their own right, and they're by no means a slouch. I almost want to compare them to Megaman X/Z style boss battles in that they do have set patterns, and attacks would seem unavoidable until you tried messing around and exploiting Sakuya's skillsets properly. They're also really nicely designed, too, and don't feel like they just slapped in some danmakku patterns from the mainline Touhou games into the bosses as an easy callback. They really custom designed each encounter that makes it feel like you're utilizing all the stops Sakuya has to offer.
The nice thing about this game is that it's not too long and not too short. I like that the exploration feels sort of compact that it keeps the pacing relatively quick, and there are some storybeats and encounters that make the experience from growing stale during playthrough.
I'll have to admit that even after having tried Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and Imperishable Night years before, I couldn't quite get into the mainline series and mainly delved into the fan-works as I tend to find those more enjoyable. I kind of wish ZUN could make this game be part of the mainline entry now, as the quality that's been pourned into this is just top-notch. (I also have to admit I haven't been keeping up with the recent Touhou entries since then, save for maybe Hisou Tensoku)
| || "Re(1):The Touhou (Luna Nights) Thread" , posted Sun 3 Mar 12:15|
touhou doujin games
I've played this game, too!
It's really good, though it has a few rough spots from what is otherwise a pretty sterling game. I played the team's previous game, which was a very similar game made for Atlus featuring Jack Frost, so when I saw this one, I was immediately interested in it!
I didn't back the early access since I knew I was going to get the full version anyway, and I wasn't interested in playing early versions of the game that would lead to me getting tired of the game before the finished version of it comes out.
The animations and music are really impressive, the integration of the time mechanics into the game are good, the grazing mechanic mostly works and I like how it gives you an always-available source of healing in boss fights. One of the things that kinda doesn't do much in the game is the shop, where you can buy highly unimpressive incremental upgrades for exorbitant prices, and occasionally some of the backtracking doesn't feel quite as smooth as it could be (for comparison, backtracking becomes something you can do faster and faster in Hollow Knight as you gain more of the upgrades and abilities, but often in Luna Nights, the speed and ease with which you can backtrack doesn't really improve). Still, it's a really solid game with really solid-feeling gameplay, and features really good realizations of the touhou characters.
| "Re(3):The Touhou (Luna Nights) Thread" , posted Tue 5 Mar 15:24:|
Whoa! A time-bending Metroidvania? Iíd be even more likely to play Braid-vania if some of those environments didnít look a little too close to the original, but then, what does Konami care about its series at this point? These parody gamesí true lament of innocence comes from the fact that weíll probably never see another Parodius.
Do not be fooled by looks. I, too would've just brushed it off as just another Touhou parody game, until somebody gifted me an Early Access copy during the holidays and tried the first few areas. My opinion of the game flipped completely after that.
Even if you stripped the Touhou branding from this title, the game can still stand on its own legs. It's just that mechanically sound and polished, and Team Ladybug deserves to be commended on such an excellent job getting all the small details and even gameplay nuances spot on. Yes, some of the map layout could use work, but otherwise it's inoffensive.
There are segments much later that truly test your mettle with the time abilities and how efficiently you utilize them. Early on, particular enemy encounters are quite generous with the MP given to you, but as you progress you'll soon later find that abusing snail-time and the stopwatch can also easily become a crutch, especially in times when you most need it (the stopwatch takes a while before its ability is fully recharged). The real meat of the game comes from constantly resupplying your MP with the grazing mechanic in combination with the stopwatch, and keeping health topped-up by grazing in combination with snail-time. In a sense, it almost reminds me of DOOM 2016's glory kill mechanics that incentivize risk with reward.
Edit: Let me add, having just finished the game, I really love the boss battles.
[this message was edited by sfried on Tue 5 Mar 15:27]