If you’ve ever wanted to make super cute anime girls beat the living daylights out of each other for fun but balked at the Dead or Alive series, then NIS America has just delivered what you’re looking for with Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle.
This is a twist on the arcade fighting games that gives you guns as well as swords with which to take down your opponent. The fights take place in various basic square arenas and the action is tracked by a viewpoint behind your character, so get ready to witness the back of lots of large headed girls with ribbons in their hair.
It’s simple stuff really, the goal being solely to eliminate the opposing girl by depleting her health to zero by attacking with bullets with various patterns that differ depending on the character being used.
There are different types of attacks that can be used mapped to the face buttons, and they can be varied in terms of power and charge combos. Melee attacks are executed once the attack button is pressed when near an opponent, while ranged and airborne damage can be effective but needs careful timing. Speaking of ranged attacks there are a host of spell cards which unlock special kinds of projectile that are unique to every character.
Battles are generally just a case of running, jumping, and dashing, while all the while trying to land blows and bullets on your foe; button mashing seems to work pretty well for noobs to this genre too.
The "plot" sees young Reimu spending time at a Hakurei Shrine until she hears rumours that a vampire is joining forces with some baddie types to assault human beings. Concerned, Reimu decides to step up and battle the threat, going to the Scarlet Devil Mansion to investigate the vampire rumours. Battling begins and doesn’t stop until the game is complete, pausing only for some cut scenes which are welcome because they actually look so much better than the gameplay.
Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle has elements of a bullet hell battle game, which just happens to feature in the Touhou (it literally means "red dance" if you’re interested) universe. There are nine Touhou characters to pick, although only a couple can be selected at the start and others are unlocked along the way.
It sounds better than it is, though, as the 3D square arenas are pretty small and while allowing for leaping and dashing combat, it never really hooks you in with the same compulsive fighting that games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat have.
The graphics are clean and crisp enough but look weak in this day and age. Yes, you can play the game on the PlayStation VR but it’s absolutely not one to show off the power of the medium as it looks more like a PS2 game to be honest.
There are several modes available, and it all works fine enough, but after a few hours we were ready to move on to something with more enjoyable replay value as the fights get very samey, very quickly.
Fans of the main Touhou games may find an amusing diversion here, but there is very little of worth to recommend to anyone else. Ultimately, unless battling stunted characters with clunky 3D models in sparse arenas is your idea of a good time, Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle is a deeply unnecessary title to invest in.