Thanks to NIS AMERICA for the review code
Title: Touhou Genso Wanderer: RELOADED
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 07/17/2018
Being an enhanced version of Touhou Genso Wanderer from last year, the main story remains the same, with a mysterious tower being formed as the result of a golden orb than makes its holder go mad, with Reimu and Futo having to set out on a quest to stop it. What makes this different from the original PS4 version comes from the inclusion of all DLC built into the main story along with a variety of bonus dungeons, characters and stories to encounter after clearing the main story at the tower. Most of the things I mentioned in my review of the original version apply to this one as well, so read that for more detail on the core basics.
Considering how this game’s been updated in content only, the presentation’s the exact same as on the PS4, which is good in the case of this Switch port, as even handheld mode looks crisp, with everything being easy to read and the game continuing to run fairly smoothly even if you enter an ambush room filled with enemies. The 2D art continues to shine although the intro and ending cutscenes that use 3D models still remain as awkward looking as ever. The soundtrack continues to maintain a high quality, with every song from the original game returning along with a few new ones to go with the new content.
Just as I mentioned in last year’s review, Touhou Genso Wanderer is a Mystery Dungeon clone through and through, from the randomly generated floors with hidden traps to avoid, items that can impact the whole room or can be thrown at enemies to cause effects, a hunger gauge and the risk of cursed items all carrying over from a traditional MD game. Last year I went in detail about elements such as the Nitro Fusion system, how Danmaku work as an equal to using moves from the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, and how dungeons tend to have difficulty spikes from time to time that would often lead to your defeat and thus a level reset. That all still applies in Reloaded, and the 40 floor dungeon you have to scale to clear the main quest remains as your main objective for the main story of the game.
Some differences I did notice while playing through this on my Switch come from how side characters that were available via DLC are now built into the game from the get-go, without the need to pay or download them. A nice gesture, although for those who bought the characters on the PS4 version to make the main quest easier you’ll be disappointed to learn that Reimu and Futo are the only two characters that can be used until the main quest with the tower is completed, so don’t expect to be using Marisa or Aya to beat the main story. During your exploration to said tower, you will come across branching paths every now and then, leading to the home of one of these new characters. Before beating the main story, they’ll be out of the neighborhood, and thus you cannot reach or recruit them to start their story, meaning you’ll have to rely on using your skill and being careful with Reimu in order to beat the dungeon and move onto the brand new stuff.
One thing I didn’t mention in the original review that I noticed and made good use of while playing Reloaded was the Partner AI skills, one of the biggest saving graces this game has to offer which made the difficulty a lot more manageable than the original once I discovered it. (it likely would have helped in the original if I found out how to do it there, unless it’s a reloaded addition for whatever reason) Like in PMD, you can tell your AI partner to do a variety of things, from following behind you at all times and only attacking enemies when they’re adjacent, to running away or going all out with attacking enemies if you choose to do that. Having my AI partner set to go after any enemy in his sight came in handy during the last 20 floors of the dungeon, where they begin to evolve into stronger forms if a spirit from another defeated enemy comes into contact with them, and thus having the AI partner destroy the spirit with a screen-clearing attack before it could possess the enemy became a live-saving technique, since these evolved forms of some enemies can get downright deadly and do things such as cover your items in ice and make them unusable, to using a death spell that will kill your character after a certain amount of turns go by without finding the portal to the next floor.
Eventually, I did make it to the final boss’s second form, but despite my best efforts, the enemies he kept spawning still managed to get the best of me and thus sent me back to base camp with no money and back to level 1. Thankfully, as in the original, your equipment retains all their levels and attributes, making it much easier to go on a return trip and level up your base stats all over again since enemies die much faster, but in true Dungeon fashion, this harsh penalty for death can be a huge turnoff for some, which is why I’m glad they didn’t go all out and make it so that you lost your items and equipment as well as money and level. If you don’t want to focus entirely on the main story dungeon, there are other optional dungeons you can enter at the base camp, and these are a good way to level up your items even more, especially with how floors in this game don’t seem to go on as long as in PMD due to how you can run incredibly fast down corridors with the press of a shoulder button.
In conclusion, Touhou Genso Wanderer is still the same decent Dungeon Crawler as it was on the PS4, but with an expanded post-game and some other tweaks in balancing. Unfortunately, like in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Sky, you do have to redo the main story to get to the new stuff, but unlike that game, the main story isn’t a long drag filled with unskipable cringeworthy moments, (All cutscenes in this game can be sped up or skipped entirely) and if you have any experience with dungeon crawlers whatsoever, clearing the tower will only take you a couple hours or so, depending on how many times you get stuck on the boss or if you decide to grind levels at Base Camp. While I do think it’s a bummer that all the DLC characters are unavailable until after you beat the main story, in contrast to the original version, it’s still nice that they’re all bundled in, which makes this version on the Switch worth the price point a bit more than the PS4 original, especially with how much content is packed in the post-game. It’s not for the faint of heart and is a MD clone I can still only recommend to experts only, but playing this on the handheld screen is still a great fix for MD fans waiting for the next installment in that franchise!
It also seems that some achievements from the PS4 version are built into the Switch port of the game, but not all of them, likely due to the changed trophy list from the original to Reloaded. I also couldn’t seem to find the full in-game list of all the achievements, and only noticed them when they popped up during my explorations, so I’m not too sure if the Switch version is lacking from the PS4 version in that regard, but nevertheless achievements are at least there in some way, even if it was tough for me to find the full list, and even if they were absent there’s more than enough content in the game already to the point that a lack of achievements wouldn’t hurt this game that much.
I give Touhou Genso Wanderer: RELOADED a 7 out of 10.