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Have you played… Touhou Luna Nights?

Maid in heaven

If I’m honest, I’m mainly into the Touhou Project for the bangin’ fanmade choons. But here’s a bangin’ fanmade game, Touhou Luna Nights: what might have been a fairly rote 2D Metroidvania, were it not for both some time-bending tricks and a few key influences from the official Touhou schmups.

Given how powerful stopping or slowing time is in games, I love that both are usable so liberally as they are in Luna Nights. Your character, Touhou series longtimer Sakuya Izayoi, is essentially Part 3 Dio in a maid uniform, so can stop the clock on demand – most often to set up throwing knife barrages or navigate puzzle rooms. It’s no turkey shoot, though, as enemies will constantly attempt to close you down and box you in, making it nigh impossible to snipe from afar even in the safety of stopped time.

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In fact, you’re actively encouraged to keep moving and, most importantly, get right up in foes’ faces. An approximation of the main bullet hell games’ “graze” mechanic means your only way to refill health and mana is through racking up near-misses on your delicate hitbox, so playing it safe is actually more likely to get you killed.

Fast and aggressive is therefore the way to go, and as hard as it can be to nail attack and dodge timings every time, Luna Nights is at its best when you’re on that edge: a whirlwind of silver blades, getting more powerful the closer you skirt around a nasty hit. It’s smartly designed stuff for what is technically fanfiction, and plays very nicely on a Steam Deck to boot.

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