The Touhou Empires PAX West Impression
The Touhou Empires is an interesting idea as it combines the thoughtfulness of a real-time strategy with the flashy aspects found within the Touhou universe.
This is the age of mixing genres, taking two things that don’t normally appear together and seeing how well they combine. Neetpia’s The Touhou Empires seems to have taken this concept to heart, mixing a large-scale anime-esque story with RTS base building and special units. I was able to take a look at a PAX West demo to see what this title is all about.
The Touhou Empires is one of the innumerable spin-offs to Touhou Project, with over thirty characters from the franchise set to make an appearance. For the purposes of the demo only two heroine characters were shown, Marisa and Reimu. They are on their way to their friend’s shrine when something mysterious attacks. These girls, just wanting everything to get back to normal, try to track down the cause of the disturbances. What results is a real-time strategy with an isometric view as they hire worker fairies to help gain resources to make buildings, while recruiting soldiers to help them explore and take down enemies that have built around these shrines.
Away from the action, Marisa and Reimu talk to each other in a visual novel-style portrait mode to move the story along and provide backstory. Most of these story segments are focused on Marisa and Reimu, as they try to find out what happened to the shrine. Practically, however, they largely stand while their worker fairies do the hard work of collecting resources to keep things moving at a steady rate.
The combat visuals for The Touhou Empires feature plenty of nice little touches. Parts of the buildings chip off slowly as they take damage, providing a neat visual effect. Meanwhile, the heroine characters get a chance to shine too through swirling hues of bright colours being shot off with every special attack, highlighted by everything else becomes a touch darker. The way these attacks are animated is a highlight and they’re fun to see every time.
The Touhou Empires interestingly combines the thoughtfulness of a real-time strategy with the flashier aspects of the Touhou universe. The little visual details in the demo provided an engaging taste of all the different buildings, units, and special abilities that will be found in the full release. The Touhou Empires looks to provide an entertaining alternative to real-time strategy fans when it releases for PC in 2024.