Genso Wanderer Reloaded may have what it takes to get me into Touhou

I love to wander

My first experience with the niche phenomenon that is Touhou was not a pleasant one. Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity killed any curiosity I had in the franchise with its bland presentation, poor combat, and forgettable storyline. I really had no plans of taking a second run at the series, but plans can change. At E3, coming off an uneventful Metal Max Xeno demo, I used the last of my time with publisher NIS to check out Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Touhou Genso Wanderer released just last year on PlayStation 4 and Vita. Reloaded is being described as the “ultimate version of the roguelike masterpiece.” Big words for a game that wouldn’t look out of place on Newgrounds. It would be easy for me to dismiss it on looks alone, but its simplistic art direction fell to the wayside as it absolutely sucked me in just a few floors into the first dungeon.

Skipping all of the dialog at the start of the game — I promise to pay attention when I play the full release — Reloaded throws me into the action, exploring a flowery dungeon filled with long hallways, traps, and enemies. The game controls seamlessly with all the movement and attack options I come to expect from the genre. Combat is turn-based, but because it’s a roguelike/Mystery Dungeon inspired title, fights go fast and my A.I. partners are smart enough to take down grunts on their own.

I say grunts but really they’re possessed little girls. During my trip to E3, I learned something dark about myself. One night, while drinking, Ray Porreca put on a YouTube video featuring an endless array of Vines depicting kids getting hurt in comical ways. And I ate that shit up. I’m a sick monster who loves watching kids walk into walls or getting tackled by dogs, so it’s no wonder I see zero issues with a game where I smack around anime kids for experience points.

If you own the original release, here is what’s on tap for Reloaded:

  • The original game plus all the DLC.
  • Both DLC stories have been incorporated into the main campaign.
  • Three new story campaigns.
  • New items and enemies.
  • Three new party characters.
  • Fast travel.
  • New Nito Fusion functions.
  • Revamped and complete Gensokyo Chronicle Gaiden.

It remains to be seen if Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded is a masterpiece as NIS claims, but my brief hands-on session with it has me giddy to play the full game on Switch. What can I say? I’m a sucker for roguelike. Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded launches for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on July 17 in North America and July 20 in Europe.

CJ Andriessen
Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games.