PEGBRJE: Touhou Fan Game Jam Black Lives Matter Collection
Page 30 begins with a bundle in a bundle.
This is a video game collection by the Touhou Game Dev Hub, a community from around the world dedicated to creating games within the Touhou universe. Touhou, or ‘The Touhou Project’, is a bullet-hell shooter that originally came out in the ’90s. It has spiraled in to 18 mainline titles with one being released just last year. It is also the source of a massive multimedia following around the world. It’s often cited as the largest universe of fan-created content coming from Japan.
If one can think it, a fan has most likely created a piece of media for it in the Touhou Universe, from video games to art to dojin of all kinds. Touhou is massive. So, to help spread awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement, the fan game jam community created ~26 fan games and submitted them to the bundle.
This is a lot of games, but do remember that these were all game jam projects; simple yet fun games to be played quickly. As such, I won’t go in to massive detail for each. I’ll mostly highlight what each game is and what players can expect. More details can be found on the collection page which is linked below, as it also links all of the games’ original pages.
Cirno the Rice Fairy!
Cirno is taking a break from being frozen and is now running a rice restaurant. In the same style as the old flash games, players will take orders from customers who sit down, cook the food until it is just to their liking and bring it back to them. It’s small, it’s sweet, and it’s a bit hard to get at first but you’ll be serving rice in no time.
Match-3 game with Cirno. Players will have a cursor that can be placed over two blocks, and activating them will switch them. Getting a minimum of three blocks in a row or column will cause them to disappear and the blocks above to fall down and fill their space. The blocks are constantly moving upwards as they spawn in rows from the bottom, so being quick is important. The cursor cannot be rotated to make the two blocks be vertical, which makes this game way harder than anticipated as you cannot rotate them to go up a row. There’s an online mode for anyone looking to try their hands at crushing an opponent.
Cirno’s Frog Freeze
A small twist on on the Tetris formula, players will be attempting to not only layer the ice cubes to make them disappear, but also ‘freeze frogs’. Each piece that falls from the sky will have a combination of ice and frogs, with the occasional piece having Cirno join the blocks. If Cirno lands on frogs, they will freeze and cascade to all other frogs touching, which will then give a massive point bonus. Keep matching the frogs and ice cubs until a unique special is ready, and unleash it on the board.
Cooking Cirno: Former Hell’s Kitchen
How strong is the food Cirno can make? When ghost fairies are appearing to destroy her restaurant, it is up to Cirno and the player to make dishes that can sate these constant attackers. It’s like a hybrid of cooking game and tower defense, where food preparation will alter the amount of ammo, the damage, and even the range. Prepare to be thrown directly in to the action with little help, and just keep trying until it works. Like all good cooking! The music transition in to the wave attacks is fantastic, for the record.
Eternal Memory for a Poltergeist
Narrative game featuring spirits and their memories. It utilizes the browser (html file) to operate, and might confuse players based on the need to use the file explorer more than once. More for players familiar with the universe than not.
Flight of the Baby Princess
I’m not sure what ‘folklore classic’ involves a man tossing a baby for money, but this involves just that. Kaguya is a small child that can collect money, and the player will be repeatedly clicking to toss them higher and higher in to the air to collect the passing coins. Keeping her in the air for longer without hitting the ground gives a chain bonus, and the old man can even hop along walls thanks to his great physique. Just watch out for random flying objects; his physique might be good, but his health isn’t so he’ll die in one hit.
Marisa is trying to win Alice’s heart with her smooth talking, but it seems much more challenging than she can figure. Players will follow the conversation between the two, with constant topics flying by on the right. Players will need to find the appropriate time to insert these conversations to keep it lively without abruptly changing the conversation and making Alice uncomfortable. It’s really hard to get at first, seeing as conversations don’t always work so easily that they can be viewed and interpreted, but the concept is solid.
Bullet hell’s back on the menu thanks to this entry in the Cirno Game Jam, where players will be shooting at all their enemies until Cirno shows up and shoot her too. The graphics give that CRT feeling from days gone past, and enjoyers of bullet hells will get a kick out of the simplicity of it all. It’s self-proclaimed ‘buggy as hell’ so watch out for that I guess.
Gensokyo Ninja Warrior
A bullet hell game, but without the shooting. In reality, it is more like a survival dodging game, where players will select which of the three members of Touhou they wish to use in which order. Their goal is to reach a yellow ‘eye’ to move to the next level, avoiding the purple dots as they fly. Upon a success, the character swaps out for the next one in the line, and players will keep going. Any failures will send them right back to the beginning to try the entire thing again.
Do note that the itch.io client did not appear to have this game ‘available’ in the download section, so I grabbed it from the website directly.
Green 9 Deal
Turns out corporations exist in Touhou and do the same stuff they pull over here: make money, steal money, pollute things for the ‘memes’. Cirno isn’t having any of that, so she sets off in this PvE adventure to freeze all of the industrial buildings to ensure that the planet stays cool and calm, not on fire and terrible. Use the 4 unique abilities in her arsenal and get that maximum multiplier going.
Pixel survival game in which players will battle back waves of strange yokai as Tewi and collect bunnies. The yokai don’t need to be destroyed to advance, as the bunnies hold the key; but don’t let the yokai get to them first. Work that magic and shoot away — do note that unplugging a controller will crash everything.
Kogasa’s Lunar Fright Mission
Kogasa wishes to scare the people of Earth to do the largest spook ever, so she needs the entire moon. Too bad the only way to get there is through the bamboo forest, which is crawling with bunny girls. Armed with her trusty umbrella weapon, Kogasa will take on the forest in a side-scrolling hack n slash so that she can perform the largest scare known to the galaxy. Oh and she can equip multiple weapons, which is definitely different — and her umbrella has a tongue? Wild.
Simple puzzle adventure involving two characters going on an adventure in which one of them has a hammer that can resize objects and another that can flip things’ gravity. It’s simple and effective, with some clever uses of the mechanics in order to proceed. Granted one of them is trying to use the hammer to rule over those she hates, so who knows what shenanigans may occur.
Lovely Fairy Action
Cirno is back, but this time she is in a predicament; bullet hells and battling has been outlawed! Everything has been overturned. Thankfully, there was a work around; turns out love is a strong projectile as well, only it makes battle more intimate. Cirno doesn’t get that, so she attempts to figure it out in a side-scrolling bullet hell in which she fires love at the fairies to defeat them. Interestingly, flying right past a fairy without a shield will cause them to become flustered, and able to be taken out in one shot — adding to an interesting dynamic of ‘risk vs reward’.
Mimi-Chan’s Ballistic Adventure
Angry Birds has never felt so explosive, as players will be attempting to direct Mimi-chan, the sentient intercontinental ballistic missile, to destroy the fairies. The faster they go, the harder they are to control, and these fairies will find ways to fight back eventually. No points to worry about, just destruction.
Memoir of Phantom’s Fortitude
A narrative adventure starring a young Youmu as she attempts to understand the world after her mentor left. Finding items and clues around the estate will uncover backstories to play through and understand, and hopefully piece together what happened to Youmu’s mentor, and the others that have gone missing.
Cirno continues her reign of terror in this Mega-man inspired game, where she will be adventuring onward and taking out those dreaded frogs. Her projectiles can also freeze water, giving her the ability to create terrain where there once was nothing to allow for some interesting platform puzzles.
Mochi Making Mischief
A rhythm game featuring Tewi who wishes to sell mochi created on the moon to the rest of the world for New Years. Using Seiran’s hammering skills and Reisen’s… charms, the player will need to hit the incoming notes marked WASD in order to achieve the proper rhythm. The more hits at the proper time, the better the point combo will be. Be warned that improper mochi will get Reisen in trouble.
NitorInc.: Touhou Microgames! DEMO+
Minigames brought to Touhou as Cirno and friends all compete in titles themed and popularized by the Warioware series. Games are fast and loose, usually revolving around a simple mechanic that doesn’t necessarily need explanation, but the difficulty comes from that very lack of understanding. Players will have four lives in the shape of pickles to lose, and every so often the pace picks up. And this is just the demo!
Rumia’s on a roll in this Super Monkey Ball-esque title. Players will attempt to reach the goal in a ball. They can stick to walls at any time, jumping off of them to maneuver through each level while jumping between gaps in order to progress. Get ready to watch Rumia jump off in to the void a lot.
Serving as a spiritual prequel to Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (sixth official release in the Touhou Project), Scarlet Midnight follows a rakugo performer by the name of Kono — named after Konohanasakuya-hime. Players will explore these events in a pixelated/distorted world, and see how one such Kono ends up attached to a game in which her name doesn’t necessarily show up — at least, not in its current form.
The Egg of Basan
Kutaka is on a platforming adventure at the behest of a giant chicken yokai to rescue their egg from a ghost. Using their innate chicken powers of air jumping and super punches, Kutaka will collect eggs in order to gain more health and scale the worlds in order to find that ghost and punch it. Once we figure out how to punch a ghost.
The Grimoire of Alice
An interesting addition, this is a mixed media project that involves players utilizing a pdf outside of the game known as ‘the Grimoire of Alice’ in order to progress. It bounces back and forth between the two quite often, and will require some clever thinking at times to get it right. It’s not going to come at first, so stick with it if interested.
The Heart’s Illumination
Brave the blizzard as Hata no Kokoro who has lost three of her precious masks in this little adventure romance. She finds Nagai Fuyu, a lantern tsukumogami who assists in her adventures shoving rocks around to solve puzzles. The sliding puzzles might give a few people pause, but they are approachable and the dialogue is super cute so what’s not to love.
Touhou History Eater
Get your knowledge of Japanese folklore here in this Pac-man styled game in which Keine has a ravenous hunger for knowledge. The pellets are letters, and the power-ups require players to answer a multiple choice trivia question centered around the folklore that Touhou uses so well. Hopefully you don’t get caught!
Youmu is a zombie!
The final game of the collection is a puzzle game involving Youmu, who sneezed so hard she died one winter’s day. Thankfully her snot caught her soul (gross) so it is up to the player to maneuver through the world and retrieve her soul. Players can possess Youmu to allow for certain objects to be moved, while being a spirit can get through some tight spaces. Each new mechanic is advertised on the top of the level which is quite handy for those levels I’m just uncertain as to what they want me to do.
And that’s a wrap! It’s always hard to go in to super detail when it comes to game jam titles, but I hope I gave a little window in to the work that the Touhou game jam community does. You can find every game linked within the collection link below.
Just as a reminder, with Global Game Jam coming up I will be taking the time off to participate as I have every year. If you are participating, I hope to see you ‘there’!