Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity - PC Review

Signs of what could be an awesome action RPG

Game Info:

  • System: PC
  • Publisher: XSEED Games
  • Developer: Mediascape
  • Release Date: July 11, 2018

Who it Caters to

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Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is a fan made title meant for those who love all things Touhou but seek something different than the usual bullet hell games. Going out towards an action RPG aesthetic, Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity keeps players fighting hordes of enemies and bosses with simple skills and abilities. Players will also be able to explore two characters of the Touhou series who always could use a little more screen time. Are you itching for an action RPG set in the Touhou world? Then continue reading on to see if Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity might be the right game for you.

What to Expect

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Instead of dodging millions of lasers and bullets, Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity has players engaging enemies head on in action RPG title. Choose between the knife wielding Sakuya or the vampire Scarlet as you go on a quest of mystery and revenge. Take on numerous bosses that range from new creations to some familiar enemies in the Touhou series and unleash combos on your foes to increase your attack along the way. Gain loot and level up to make your character stronger and more powerful to best any enemy that goes before you. Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity isn’t a bullet hell game per say, but it does have enemies in droves as well as shoot tons of lasers at you to keep you on your toes!


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When the bored vampire Remilia Scarlet seeks entertainment from following a local newspaper article, things go from dull to intense in a blink of an eye. With her loyal maid—Sakuya—by her side, Scarlet finds herself leaving home in search of adventure and intrigue. However, when Scarlet and Sakuya return home after a monster slaying session, they find the mansion they lived in burned and in tatters. Who dare attack the vampire’s home? The two women are about to go on a quest to seek answers and seek much needed revenge in Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity!


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If you consider yourself a Touhou fan—a series that really has a minor following in the west—then you’re probably familiar with the series’ usual format. Most Touhou titles tend to be bullet hell titles and/or bullet hell fighting games and rarely do we see alternatives to this format. Indie developers Mediascape, decided to finally make a Touhou title unlike the usual games in the form of Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity. Rather than just be a bullet hell game, Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity aims to deliver a top down action RPG—akin to the Ys series or similar titles—and keep with the bullet hell format with enemies that usually can attack in mass numbers or with screen dizzying bullet abilities. Does Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity hit the right notes for a solid action RPG title? Let us find out in our review of Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity for the PC!

Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity has players taking on one of two characters in this 10 to 15-hour adventure. Players can assume the role of either Sakuya or Remilia with the only difference being some areas explored and how the story goes. Sakuya might use daggers while Remilia uses her vampire fangs/hands but both can balance between close and distance in equal measure. Either character you choose though plays the same ultimately with each having several special attacks—more of which unlock as you level up—, a normal attack and ex-like moves. This is where the issues of Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity begin though as you begin to realize quickly that Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity doesn’t change the formula of other titles like it. While Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity goes against the mainstays of the series usual shooter format, it ends up becoming a rather ho hum action RPG in the process.

As players explore this very simple world, they will quickly notice how simple everything really is within in Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity. Not only is the combat never beyond 4 or 5 buttons, but the linear paths, the range of enemies to fight—with the exception of bosses—and the overall feel of Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity never changes from the first minute you play to the later several hours. Players will always fight the same types of enemies, use the same attack combos and even pick up loot that changes nothing in-game. The one good element to combat is trying to keep your combo going to do more damage against enemies and trying to survive their sheer numbers at times. Bosses as well provide some challenge with their bullet hell feel that harkens to the mainstay of the Touhou franchise.

Speaking of the loot we mentioned above, the loot system in Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity reminds us of the older action RPG days with drops coming in the hundreds and typically most items just being a slight upgrade to prior equipment with no stand out items ever really appearing. Though this also helps you realize what Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is missing. The biggest weakness of Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is that everything just screams simple and while that does have some enjoyment to those who don’t want overly complicated action RPG titles, it leads to Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity being a repetitive title. More often than not, there are only a small amount of areas that shine—mostly during bosses or some locations—with the rest just feeling mediocre and uninteresting. You will learn to quickly fly through areas—while leveling up in the process—to reach the end boss and finally find some enjoyment to be had defeating them and trying to keep alive during the process.

Graphically and sound wise, Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity ranges from beautiful to mediocre. The CGI scenes that show up occasionally in Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity look incredible with some amazing art and designs. Likewise, the water design and some environments really impressed us here at Honey’s Anime. Unfortunately, everything else in Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity was mediocre visually with enemies never wowing us—most are just common creatures found in other titles—and most environments being bland. The biggest offense is that while the music for Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is awesome—we loved some of the boss music and area soundtracks—there is literally almost an absence of sound. There is no voice acting and enemies rarely, if ever, make noise. You will only hear your enemies attack or your own attack noises which creates a rather strange effect while playing Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

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Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is first and foremost a fan made title and we appreciate the challenges developers Mediascape most likely faced while making it. There are signs within Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity of an excellent action RPG due to some solid controls, decent visuals and beautiful CGI. Unfortunately, Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity fails to deliver exciting gameplay due to its boring and overly repetitive combat, almost non-existent sound with only attacks making any form of noise and odd loot system that feels outdated in every possible way. Is Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity a bad game? No, there is some fun to be had here with those who love the Touhou series and equally love simple action RPGs. Those who wish for deeper gameplay though might see Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity as a weak title and we’d completely understand why that would be the case. Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is best suited to those who love all Touhou related titles and those who like fan made creations. If you don’t fall into one of those categories though, you might want to skip out on buying Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity.

Honey's Pros:

  • Impressive CGI scenes
  • Solid music
  • Gameplay works well with simplicity and ease of controls
  • Still retains the bullet hell themes with sometimes difficult areas and numbers of enemies to fight

Honey's Cons:

  • No voice acting or almost no noise outside of attacks makes for an odd ambiance
  • Weak plot that will only appeal to Touhou fans
  • Loot system feels like it’s from the 90s
  • Gameplay gets very repetitive
  • Enemy designs are lacking

Honey's Final Verdict:

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Here at Honey’s Anime, we pride ourselves on never disliking a game as we know there’s a lot that goes into making and developing video games in general. That’s why with Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity we aren’t saying this is a bad game or one to skip entirely, even if you don’t love the Touhou series. We just recommend for anyone on the fence about downloading Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity to maybe do some more research on it—if our review isn’t enough—to avoid regretting a purchase you might not like in the long haul. Are you still thinking of picking up Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity? Tell us in the comments below! Remember to also keep stuck to our hive for more game reviews and gaming articles curtsey of us here at Honey’s Anime!

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Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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