A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of review.

Double Focus is a short game included with the special edition release of Touhou: Genso Wanderer that actually manages to be fun in its own right, As per Touhou fan game tradition, Double Focus takes another genre far from the series shooter roots and meshes the world of Gensokyo with all that time of game entails. In this case, Double Focus is a Metroidvania-style action game that takes much of its inspiration from games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid. That means you’ll be traversing a large map that has power-ups scattered along the way that you must find to keep going and eventually defeat the final boss.

The story is a simple one in which Aya attempting to find a new scoop for her newspaper and happening upon the local bookstore, where various demonic and vile books are common. While rummaging through the stacks, Kosuzu Motoori , the store’s owner, and Momiji, who had tagged along, are all sucked into a book that contains stages based on various genres, including a castle, desert, and fairy tale landscape.

Momiji and Aya happen upon the book that makes up the game’s world

Double Focus differs from its progenitors in that it allows the player to switch between two characters Aya and Momiji as a means of overcoming difficult situations and fighting particular enemies. The first of these two is Aya, a tengu and writer for the Bunbunmaru newspaper, and the second Momiji, a wolf tengu with a sword. Aya can fight from a long distance with wind and can hover in the air for as long as her stamina meter remains, while Momiji can run up walls and is a bit stronger then Aya due to carrying a huge sword. The player can switch between the two girls at will which allows for some interesting combination areas where switching to Aya midair after running up a wall with Momiji, however, the controls are a bit sensitive and it can be difficult to pull off these acts without swift hands. You can also enlist the powers of other Touhou girls throughout the game, such as Alice’s doll attacks or Byakuren’s powerful punch, that let you explore new areas that were previously closed off.

Alice uses her special attack as one of the games many summonable allies.

The game is a bit strange in that it is mostly devoted to minor characters, such as Aya and Momij, ignoring the series’ main protagonists Reimu and Marisa, as they are put aside in favor of others. It isn’t strange to see minor character elevated to main character status in Touhou fangames, with the likes of Cirno and Aya herself having main series games to themselves, but it is a bit sad not to see the series main characters in this type of game. This applies to the enemies of the game as well, in that the only non-boss enemies are faeries of various sorts. These winged girls are put in a variety of outfits, such as a princess gown or wolf costume, that gives them different powers, but a bit more variety in enemy types would have been nice. As for the game’s bosses, most are stage bosses from main series Touhou, which is nice and using them as summons after defeating them is a nice way to open new content.

The graphics here are very cartoonish and bright, while the music suits the mood fine but is forgettable at best. Really the only issue this game has is how it handles your health bar. Every enemy in Double Focus can cause huge amounts of damage with their attacks, while bosses can outright destroy you in a single attack at times. The only real way to mitigate this is to become good at dodging or blocking attacks or taking out enemies before they can hurt you.

If you come into Double Focus expecting a short but difficult journey you’ll likely enjoy this homage to retro games and the Touhou’s rather deep lore. This makes it a perfectly good game for the already devoted, but those outside the community might find Double Focus simply too hard.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of review.

Touhou Double Focuse was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a copy provided by the developer. It’s also available on PlayStation Vita.

7.0
 

Very Good

Summary

A fun game that is made to difficult by its HP system. Fans of Touhou and Metroidvania games will love it, but it might be a hard sell to outsiders.

Pros

  • Colorful Storybook Graphics
  • Interesting Characters With Unique Talents
  • Relatively Short

Cons

  • Enemy Attacks Deplete Health Too Quickly
  • Broken Portal System
  • Unfair Boss Battles

Nicole Seraphita

Staff Writer

I've been gaming since the days of the NES and spend most of my time with the hobby playing RPGs and fighting games. Besides gaming, I also enjoy table top gaming, cosplay, writing and walking outside when its nice..