I’ve tackled a few Touhou games now and they’ve been a mixed bag. There are so many Touhou games out there but there’s been one constant between them, and that’s that the fighting games fail to impress. Clunky controls, outdated visuals and unengaging gameplay leaves Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle nothing short of unenjoyable.
I’m surprised to see another Touhou game similar to Bullet Ballet already, and there’s nothing here to convince me that this is a stronger entry. There are story and arcade modes to sink your teeth in to, and the arcade story differs depending on which character you play as. You’ll get more from it if you’re a fan of Touhou already, but otherwise you’ll be left feeling disappointed with its paper-thin tales. It’s a game made solely for fans, and sadly Touhou has yet to make a fan out of me.
You have three different attacks – a mix of melee and projectiles – and the ability to jump but the shallow, floaty gameplay is hard to get along with. I play a lot of fighting games but Burst Battle lacks depth, but it’s too simple to have any fun with. It feels as if the game gets away from me and I don’t have as much control over it as I’d like, making it feel unfocused. There’s not much to mix up between each character, and it’s a bare-bones experience with little to offer. This isn’t something I’d happily pay the asking price of £24.99 for, and I’d expect it to be somewhere around the region of £7.99-£11.99.
The biggest challenge Burst Battle has to offer is trying to convince you that putting up with its archaic battle system is worth it and, unsurprisingly, it is not. There’re a variety of modes including online multi-player, but good luck finding a battle because this game will never have a flourishing online community. There are some basic fighting game modes available to, but the mechanics make none of them appealing.
Burst Battle doesn’t fare much better visually either, looking both dated and amateur-ish. I understand a lot of Touhou games are fan-made, and so for an incredibly small team (or maybe even one person), then it’s easy to respect and appreciate the level of effort and love put in, but this is now being packaged as a retail game for various platforms at a relatively high price. It’s rough around the edges and the 3D fails to impress, but the 2D art is rather lovely. A lack of voice-acting and a forgettable soundtrack wrap the package up, and it feels flat.
I can’t recommend Burst Battle. It’s incredibly underwhelming, and what is a generally nice art style is overshadowed by poor gameplay mechanics and an unruly camera. £24.99 is steep for what you get, and it should be half of that price before even the biggest of fans should consider it. Regardless, the price point won’t fix what is an inherently flawed game, and Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle isn’t worth your money.