The Touhou series is intimidating in so many ways (most of them bullet-based), so you might have skipped on brillo time-bending metroidvania Touhou Luna Nights. If you have, today is a great day to give it a stab as developers Team Ladybug just patched in one final round of goodies, as well as cutting the game's price for a week. While previously complete, this new update bulks up the game with another level (featuring a boss fight against series mascot Reimu), a dash move for speedrunners, a new weapon, achievements and a boss rush mode. Below, a spoileriffic video showing off the new bits.
While there have been games mashing together Touhou, Metroid, Castlevania and even Mega Man in assorting quantities, Touhou Luna Nights is among the best made. Developed by the folks behind the excellent Pharaoh Rebirth+, that neat little Shin Megami Tensei promo platformer and a bunch more besides, it's accessible but built to allow very high level play. It also helps that it features some gorgeously animated sprites, excessively detailed backdrops and has a catchy soundtrack to boot. No Touhou knowledge -- bullet hell or otherwise -- required to enjoy.
Touhou Luna Nights casts the player as Sakuya, lead housekeeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, home to a powerful vampire. Sakuya is probably the most dangerous person in the building, and while stripped of some of capacity for bullet spam in this game, she can throw an absurd number of knives, and some chainsaws. She can also slow or freeze time at will. It's a simple power well used in both the levels and boss fights, with some attacks requiring thought over reflexes to avoid. There's joy in weaving through the three safe inches of space between two huge lasers, and having enemy attacks 'graze' you rewards you with extra energy.
Luna Nights isn't a very long game, and a mostly-linear trek through its six levels, but the new boss rush mode and some genuinely challenging achievements should help extend its life. I've really not a single complaint about the game, other than wishing that there was a bit more of it. It seems I'm not the only one that thinks so; while a vague metric at most times, a near-perfect Steam user-review score after 3,305 reviews is something most small developers dream of. Can't wait to see what Team Ladybug (or Krobon Station) have lined up next.
Touhou Luna Nights is now done, dusted and as big as it's ever going to be. It's also 25% off on Steam, reducing it to £10.49/€11.24/£13.49. The English version is published by Playism.