The Touhou Empires - PC Preview


The Touhou Empires by developer Neetpia and publisher Phoenixx Inc.—PC(Steam) preview written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher. 
 
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Attention all fairies! You have your marching orders, it's time to fight off our attackers! Get in there and beat them up! Demolish their barracks! Steal their snacks! Ok, maybe not that last one, but this is war, so war is what you're gonna get!

The Touhou Empires is another one of those cool Touhou fangames you've probably seen floating around. This time it's in the flavour of Age of Empires, if the title is anything to go by. Well, a pretty simplified version of it, at least at the moment. Perhaps a less complicated Starcraft may be a better comparison? Either way, a base management and army building and conquest style game.


As in pretty much all Touhou titles, whether spin-off, fan made, or official, our story starts out with an incident affecting the realm of Gensokyo. A bunch of weapons start falling from the sky, raining destruction upon Gensokyo. While the residents of Gensokyo are almost all superpowered spirits, demons, or supernatural creatures and don't really have an issue, their buildings don't fare much better. To add to matters, the local fairies that pick up the weapons suddenly get a ridiculous power boost, as well as innate knowledge on how to use the tools.

No, seriously, the fairies in the Touhou universe are, like, the butt end of almost every joke. They're weak, usually low intelligence, and are kind of like the "common mob" type enemies. Now though? Now they are cavalry units, lancers, archers, scouts, and guardians. They can contend with the other forces in Gensokyo with the help of the weapons, as well as building facilities super fast. Here we have how The Touhou Empires functions: a base building "conquer your opponent" real time strategy style game. 


Like in most games in this genre, you will need to harvest resources in order to create buildings, which allows you to create and upgrade troops. You will then march your troops off to war with your opponent, or opponents. Destroy their structures, defeat their generals, and win over your foes. Those of you who've played either the Starcraft or Age of Empires games will probably understand where this is going.

Touhou Empires, in it's current state, is a simplified version of some of the more popular real time strategy games currently out there. This isn't to say it won't end up growing a lot more, especially considering there are almost daily updates to the early build demo version, but it actually might work kind of nicely for getting new players into the genre. Touhou Empire has a playable tutorial section, a multiplayer, and a story mode, and yeah, the story also has a tutorial built in and is prettty good both in story content and in tutorial quality.


Now, let's talk a bit about your available units. You have your unique units, who have different skills that can be used, but the fairies acting as the bulk of your forces actually have a rock paper scissors aspect in the current build. Archers beat Lancers, Lancers beat Cavalry, Cavalry beats Archers. Lancers are also good against structures. You have three resources to manage: wine, faith, and wood. Wine also has a beer looking symbol, so if you play the demo, just be aware of that if it hasn't been changed. You need to build structures to upgrade your units, build units to fight for you, and upgrade your base level, and all of these require certain amounts of resources.

Now, I won't claim to be all that good at these types of games, but I do find them pretty fun. Touhou Empires, in it's current state, is pretty basic but has a nice feeling to it. The gameplay and progression feels pretty reasonable, the units aren't overly complicated to get to know and use, and everything is there for you, whether it is in the tutorials or control manual. Like a hot key to select all idle units. That's really handy.

Currently the graphics aren't really anything to write home about, but they certainly aren't bad. Apart from the wine/beer mug symbol mix-up, you can tell what everything is and what's going on. Character interactions are interesting and line up with how the characters normally act in the main series, and it's a neat little adventure away from either the normal fare for these kinds of Touhou spin-off titles. There are different maps currently, although team selection is rather minimal, but it seems like more will be implemented in the future. Also, the up to six player battle map is always nice to see, whether you play with other humans or against CPUs.


After a first look at The Touhou Empires I have to say I'm liking the direction it's taking. I really look forward to the direction this ends up taking, but it certainly has laid the groundwork for all the important aspects. Here's hoping they keep up their production, and we might be seeing a really nice RTS in the future!

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