If you go to anime groups online, you might have heard of the Japanese indie series Touhou. The Touhou Project, or Touhou for short, is a series of bullet hell games made by Jun’ya “ZUN” Ota, who is the only person who makes Team Shanghai Alice. It’s because Touhou has so much depth in terms of character designs, stories, and levels that it’s become a big hit in Japan. Because of that, it’s hard to get into.
A lot of the games don’t have official translations, so it can be hard to understand them. Patchers like Thcrap are used by the Touhou community to help them translate games. The games are also a little hard, or at least a lot of them are. There isn’t a lot of information about the setting or the people in most of the main games. There are some things that are “very Touhou” when they don’t give the player any information about the world at all.
Most people think that the first Touhou game, Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil, is where the story began. However, it isn’t on Steam. In fact, you need an emulator to play the first five games, and games before Touhou 10 (Ten Desires) haven’t been on Steam yet. However, these games should be good places to start for anyone who wants to learn more about Touhou. Take a look at the best Touhou games for people who are just starting to play:
Touhou Fuujinroku – Mountain Of Faith
In Mountain of Faith (MoF), the only two playable characters are Reimu and Marisa. This makes the game feel like a “soft reboot” of the show. Reimu gets a weird visit from a stranger who wants her to close the Hakurei Shrine or wait for the god of Yokai Mountain to take it over. People play as either Reimu or Marisa as they climb the mountain to face the god and save the shrine.
MoF makes bombing easier by having a metre that stores up energy as players get power items. As long as players don’t get enough points for more lives, they can’t move on to the next level. In spite of all that, the lack of a score system makes this point easier for beginners to enjoy, even though it isn’t as hard as other points.
Touhou Shinreibyou – Ten Desires
Because Ten Desires is the simplest, it can be both good and bad for the player. Reimu and Marisa notice that there are more divine spirits around Gensokyo than usual, so they decide to look into it. It’s not just Sanae and Youmu who have their own reasons for being in the story. They want to use the spirits’ power, and Youmu wants to get rid of them.
Spirits come in blue, grey, green, and purple. Players must collect them to fill up their “trance gauge,” which lets them enter an invincible state once it is full. A lot of patterns are slow and easy to avoid, but some people say that the boss patterns are different enough to keep people interested. Some people might be put off by the fact that Touhou games don’t always use the spirit collecting mechanic.
Touhou Tenkuushou – Hidden Star In Four Seasons
It stars Reimu, Marisa, Aya, and Cirno as they try to figure out why the seasons in Gensokyo change so much, and how to stop it. The Hakurei Shrine is stuck in springtime, and many other places aren’t in the correct season. HSiFS was also the first game in the series to be released on Steam, which meant fans no longer had to pirate games.
Players don’t use spirits like in Ten Desires. Instead, they use “sub-season” items like cherry blossoms and snowflakes to get extra help. These items, also known as sub-seasons, can be used as a bomb to clear away a lot of enemy projectiles at the same time. People who start playing HSiFS and its follow-up games, Wily Beast and The Weakest Creature, will like how slow bullets move and how forgiving hitboxes are.
Touhou Kikeijuu – Wily Beast And Weakest Creature
Wily Beast and Weakest Creature has a unique mechanic in which animal spirits are used instead of shot types in the game. Reimu, Marisa, and Youmu learn that animal spirits are said to be planning to take over Gensokyo, so they go to hell to stop them. A Wolf, an Otter, and an Eagle spirit appear to help them on their journey, and they help them.
Players choose between three animal spirits—Wolf, Otter, or Eagle—to take advantage of their distinct abilities. These animals also change the personality of the player character based on which one they choose to wear, too. During focus mode, the Wolf spirit can do more damage and make the character more aggressive.
Honourable Mention: Touhou Lost Word
Touhou Lost Word is actually a fan game, even though it was made by Team Shanghai Alice. Lost Word isn’t a bullet hell, but it’s an easy-to-use mobile gacha RPG that’s very close to the world and characters of Touhou. It explains the setting and main characters, which is good for people who haven’t played the game before. In spite of the fact that it isn’t a “bullet hell” game, it’s a good way to learn about the lore.
These are just a few of many ideas. There are manga and wikis for Touhou if you don’t have time to play the games or find them too hard. Some Touhou fans even say this is the best way to teach people about the series’ stories because it’s faster than going through the games themselves.
Touhou Kikeijuu – Wily Beast And Weakest Creature
They were a little out of the ordinary. But that doesn’t mean that the game itself was hard to play, because that’s not true.
Our main characters go on a journey to find out about the animal spirits that are trying to take over their world. It’s very easy to understand for people who have never read a book before.
Wily Beast and Weakest Creature lets you choose from a total of three animal spirits: an Eagle, an Otter, or a Wolf, each of which has a different power.
These abilities can be used in the game itself. Overall, this might not be the easiest to adapt for a Touhou game but it’s not the most difficult either.