Touhou is a long-running indie series that has an extremely dedicated community. It is so dedicated, in fact, that it regularly gets tons of fan content, including games! This year, Touhou has been treated to one of the most impressive fan games the series has seen to date! Touhou: New World is an officially endorsed fan game and has even gotten a proper localization treatment by the renowned XSEED.
Touhou: New World was released by XSEED on July 13, 2023, for PC and Nintendo Switch. Now, the time has come for PlayStation to receive a slice of that pie. How does this new version stack up? Is the game still worth a purchase?
Touching on Touhou History
The series started in 1995 and was created by Team Shanghai Alice. Despite the name of the creator, Team Shanghai Alice is actually one person. The sole creator of the main series of Touhou Project is Jun’ya “ZUN” Ōta. He is the artist, programmer, and composer of each and every mainline title. Over the years, he has made over 25 games. An interesting thing about the series is that it’s free to use. Yep, anyone and everyone can make a Touhou game. I’m not sure if I can even quantify how many Touhou projects there are. There have to be countless doujin games and other forms of media.
This is actually my first hands-on experience with the Touhou series. I’ve seen fanart for years and have heard rumblings of this homuncular franchise. What first caught my eye was the Touhou: Luna Nights game because of its alleged IGAvania structure. Sadly, I still, to this day, have not indulged myself in playing it.
We previously reviewed Touhou: New World when it launched on Nintendo Switch and PC earlier this year. Our in-depth review can be found right here!
As for how I feel about the game, it’s alright! I really enjoyed the cute art and the shenanigans that the characters get themselves into. These aspects, in particular, filled my soul with joy. As this is a fan project, I did find some things, like the menu design, on the bland side. Functional certainly, but it does not really stand out.
After reading our review and comparing it with my thoughts, I have to say that it is pretty spot on, as I ended up having some similar qualms. The loot system outclasses treasure boxes and store-bought items. This simultaneously makes your inventory too cluttered and your money worthless. The funny thing is how this collapses in on itself, too. You have to sell items to empty your bags, but then that gives you more worthless dollars.
As far as the gameplay goes, it’s serviceable. I do find the combat repetitive at times and the exploration unrewarding; however, it kept a quaint vibe that I won’t undersell. I would just soak in the environments and enemies, letting their perks and flaws wash over me like a calming stream. Then, after that, I’d hit my head on a rock and enjoy some kind of awesome boss fights. Unlike the normal fights, you actually have to manage cooldowns and engage with the bullet hell elements. The PS5 version does indeed accentuate the game feel and graphical vibes, but more on that later!
One thing I noticed in the tutorial was the song. I swear it sounds like this. It makes me wonder if the soundtrack includes some royalty-free music or commissioned works. The moment I started playing the game and heard this song, it was genuinely magical. From what I understand, Touhou music is and of itself royalty-free. Since I’m not an avid Touhou fan I lack the ability to identify any possible “Touhou bangers” this fan game may have used. Also, some pretty good games like ASTLIBRA Revision use royalty-free songs and Vocaloid stuff.
The more I played and thought about this game, the more I was fondly reminded of the PlayStation Vita. This specific blend of niche and lo-fi HD art reminded me of the long-dead portable. I mean this in the best of ways! I love the flavor that particular console brought to the table in terms of design and games. Touhou: New World would have been a neat little title to put on the shelf with all of the other the wonderful Japaniche library.
How’s Gensokyo on PS5?
Touhou: New World launched earlier this year on July 13, 2023, for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam. It goes without saying that the PC version has variable looks and performance, while the Switch version comes with the caveats the system is known for. From what I could see, the Switch version seems to target 60fps. The resolution doesn’t appear to be 1080p. If it is, many effects, lighting, and shadows have a dip in quality, leaving the game muddy looking on the hardware.
Despite not finding much in terms of how performant the game is on Nintendo Switch, I believe I can safely say that the PS5 version offers crisper graphics and a smoother framerate. When I say ‘crisper,’ I mean it in a weird and loaded sense. Yes, the game is high-resolution, but there are some chunky shadows and the like. None of these issues are present on the PS5. You get the best-looking and feeling version of the game available on consoles.
Bottom Line: If you want this game and care about getting the best version, pick up the PS5 version. It looks cleaner and is smooth to play.
Touhou New World PS5 Related Links
Keep an eye on Final Weapon for all things Touhou and Japanese gaming!
Buy the game on PlayStation here!
One thing that caught my attention is that this game seems to be by the same team that made another Touhou fangame called Scarlet Curiosity. Check it out here!