Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity - PC Review

Coming from Azure Reflections, we’ve got another Touhou fan spin-off! We’re getting a lot of Touhou spin-off games lately, but is this a bad thing? In my opinion, definitely not. While the main string of Touhou games is primarily bullet hell, the string of fan games have given us a wide range of genres, from turn-based RPGs, to fighting games, to Pokemon parodies. This time around we have a 3D sort of beat ‘em up in the same vein as the Ys series.

In Scarlet curiosity, you get to play as either Remilia Scarlet, the vampire lord of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, or Sakuya Izayoi, the head maid of said mansion. The general plotline is pretty much the same between the two: Remilia is bored and is looking for something to do, so Sakuya goes out to research about sightings of a mysterious monster that has been spotted nearby recently. At this point, either Remilia goes searching for the monster or Sakuya does, with the only real difference between the two being combat preference and what time of day you go exploring. As Sakuya, you explore during the day, and Remilia being a vampire explores at night.

Game progression is pretty basic, you waltz through a stage beating up offending wildlife and spirits, reach the end, and beat up something, or someone, a little more capable than the local fauna. While in a stage, you have a standard combo, a special meter, and a “spell card” meter, all of which are used for attacking. The standard combos are fairly self explanatory, Remilia uses claw swipes and Sakuya slashes with a knife, but the skills is where we get into some of the more interesting moves. You can equip two standard skills and one special skill, with the standard skills draining a constantly refilling skill gauge and the special skill using the “spell card” meter I mentioned earlier. As you beat up enemies and earn exp and levels, you’ll gain more skills, which you can sub out for your favorites.

Similarly, as you meander through the different stages, you’ll pick up three different types of equipment: weapon, armour, and accessory. These pieces of gear not only affect your attack and defense power, but will also affect item drop rate, skill gauge level, and critical rate and damage, and come in varying degrees of rarity.

Scarlet curiosity has some fun boss fights that still keep the bullet hell theme with some of the attacks, and is short enough to play it on and off without getting fed up with how repetitive it can get, yet at the same time, long enough that you don’t feel like the stages are simply sub-areas. With a well-remixed soundtrack of classic Touhou tunes, and sporting some nice 3D rendering, and 2D snapshots and CGs, the game definitely looks and sounds pretty.

To be perfectly honest, Scarlet Curiosity may not really appeal to you if you aren’t a big Touhou fan like I am, but on the plus side, it also isn’t the cost of a full game either, so if you get it on sale, you probably won’t feel too let down if you don’t end up enjoying it. Despite the occasional frame rate drop here and there, which I attribute to my old computer, Scarlet Curiosity actually ran smoother than I expected, and the control set-up felt really natural to play on a keyboard. As far as Touhou fan games go, Scarlet Curiosity is pretty looking and sounding, and while not as long or in-depth as a standard game, is also simple enough to pick up or ease back into, and low cost enough to at least give it a chance. So get ready to head into Gensokyō to help a vampire and her best meido out!

Game Information

Ankake Spa
Marvelous USA, Inc.
Bullet Hell
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation 4

Provided by Publisher

Article by Richard