Title: Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy Of Common Flowers
Developer: Twilight Frontier
Release Date: April 22, 2021
Reviewed On: PS4
Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy Of Common Flowers is a tag-team fighting game that’s part of the popular doujin/indie bullet hell franchise initially released on the PC in 2017 but has now made its way onto the consoles. This is also the first official Touhou title to be released on consoles after many fanmade games.
Touhou Hyouibana’s story follows the various characters from the Touhou franchise, including fan favorites like Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame, along with a host of other characters as they pair up to solve an incident involving the phenomenon of “Perfect Possession” where one completely takes over another person in both body and mind. This led to many rumors being spread about it all across Gensokyo.
The narrative unfolds in story mode, where you have several pre-picked pairs of characters to choose from. There’s a series of four to five battles where you fight your opponent, and rounds are replaced by lives as your opponent shifts phases during combat. Once you knock them out, they’ll envelop themselves into a shield and unleash a string of bullet-hell attacks, which you’ll need to dodge while whittling down their defenses. If it sounds challenging, that’s because it is, especially on the greater difficulties.
Other modes include a Versus mode that is your standard fights against a CPU or one of your local friends, Practice mode that allows you to practice with characters of choice, and an online mode for you and a faraway friend or random person to duke it out with each other. While this is a standard offering, I was hoping for a more traditional Arcade Mode.
Graphically, Touhou Hyouibana has a cute and vibrant art style and aesthetic. There are well-designed character sprites, and the 3D stages look fantastic as they feature various locations in and out of the Gensokyo region. The entire game animates and performs smoothly during gameplay, which is nice considering this is a fast-action fighter. Further, the soundtrack is filled to the brim with excellent arrangements of various themes from the other Touhou games and some new tracks.
Gameplay is fast and frantic as you fly and fight the opposing tag team and Master one of three various spell cards that work as supers. These are easy to execute as it is a combination of two specific face buttons. This is similar to Last Word abilities, which function as an ultimate attack.
The simple execution for most of these moves makes the game easy to pick up and play and tough to master when it comes to using the various moves to string up cool combos. You can use your partner to get you out of tough spots and take over the fight. However, they run on a meter that fills up by hitting your opponent. Exhausting the meter will allow you to use abilities, but you’ll have to decide whether to tag in a character or convert it for massive damage.
There are some caveats to the experience. Such as a lack of move lists for the 19 playable characters in the pause menu and the somewhat spotty translation, which features some errors like “Slave does not hit black bullet” when they mean to say that black bullet attacks don’t hit your partner character. On top of that, they outright forgot to translate a bunch of things like song titles, spell card attacks, and Last word attacks. They also relegate the English text in the story mode to the bottom of the screen while also having the Japanese text in a speech bubble, making for a strange presentation.
Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy Of Common Flowers is a decent tag-team fighter with tight and enjoyable gameplay. The lack of an in-game move-list is confusing, but the fighting systems come naturally after a few matches. In execution, this is a bullet-hell fighter, and it provides that experience during every match.
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