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Touhou 16 「東方天空璋 ~ Hidden Star in Four Seasons」 Report Completed!

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Helepolis:
Excluding ending screens and/or ending dialogues, all other spoilers are okay to post. Thank you for cooperating until this moment.

* Make sure you're aware of the forum rules.
* Have a drink (non-alcohol if you're underaged!!) and enjoy!

Bugs, patches, news, other information from ZUN will be listed here:

* Current known version is 1.00 Comiket C92 release.
* Confirmed bug: Easy Difficulty - Stage 5 - Spell Cards #5 and #6 are bugged. Finishing off Satono will not capture the card but continue it and if you next take down Mai, the game will crash. To capture the card, you're forced to take down Mai first. This doesn't seem to be the case for Lunatic mode. Other difficulties are unknown.

Touhou 16 「東方天空璋 ~ Hidden Star in Four Seasons」
Introduction
It is summer! No wait, it is autumn? Winter? S-spring!? What is happening? Touhou 16 is happening! Dear Touhou fans, ZUN has blessed us yet again with a brand new danmaku game. Some people might have forgotten about it, but it has been over two years since the release of Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom. We've already been informed quite a lot about this game by our hard working fans and forum members. So definitely a shout out to you for providing information, translations, tracking news and more. My gratitude is endless. All right! Let us see what ZUN has provided us this time?

Gensoukyou's seasons are out of control! The fairies are running rampant. This has yet another incident which needs to be resolved! Swiftly! "Isn't it kind of hot you bastard"

* Arrow keys - controll directional movement of your character.
* Z button - Fires your main shot.
* X button - Declares and fires your spell card. Or simply 'bomb'.
* Shift - Your movement becomes slower and your hitbox will appear.
* C button - Releases your season depending on your season gauge.
C button!? As if pressing X wasn't hard enough for many people. Now you have another button. And what the hell is this season thing anyway? Read on!

The Four Seasonal Player Characters



Four girls have decided to set out to get to the bottom of this incident. Wait a second. what happened to their looks? Is this because of the seasons being out of control?
※ Hakurei Reimu - The Hakurei Shrine area seems to be in full spring, with cherry blossoms blooming. She is wearing her usual clothes. My god, the size of that Gohei could poke your eye out from the entrance of the shrine yard
※ Cirno - Our cheerful fairy seems to have gotten a tan. Well, it is summer technically in Gensoukyo. Isn't she cute with that sun flower as ribbon?
※ Shameimaru Aya - The tengu reporter has been writing furiously about this incident. She is dressed in autumn colours because Youkai mountain is experiencing autumn. Autumn!! not fall!!
※ Kirisame Marisa - The Forest of Magic is fully covered in snow. Marisa trying to keep her warm with. It seems Perfect Cherry Blossom all over again. Wait, Marisa-san, aren't those latex gloves?

We already know from the trail version that each girl comes with her own main shot using Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Next to your main shot you can select a sub weapon. Your sub weapon isn't directly available at start. Neither you will get it if you press shift (focus mode). In order to power it up, you need to collect season items. Too complicated already? Do not worry. Everything will be explained. For those interested, here is a list of Kanji to help you out with the seasons:
※ 春 - (Haru) Spring - Green - Reimu
※ 夏 - (Natsu) Summer - Aqua - Cirno
※ 秋 - (Aki) Autumn - Red - Aya
※ 冬 - (Fuyu) Winter - Blue - Marisa


Example screenshot: Reimu's main shot is spring 夏 and supporting with winter 冬. In the second screen you can see little snow flakes, these are season items.

For some girls in this game, focussing doesn't necessary changes your shot type. For example: Sanae's unfocussed shot was frog bombs and homing snake shots in focussed mode. For some girls, focussing in this game will usually provide a tighter or more direct shot with your familiars. Keep in mind that none of this applies for your sub weapon.

Girl ―――――Main shot ―――――Familiar shot ―――――Focus mode ―――――Bomb ―――――ReimuStraight amuletsHoming flower pletalsConcentrate on targetFantasy Seal BlossomCirnoIce spikesScattering ice shardsDecrease scatteringSun Flower PinwheelAyaWind slashesSpread wind shotsPiercing wind shotsHurricaneMarisaMagic missileSpread frozen laserStraight lasersMaster Spark Frozen
Player Spell Cards (bomb)
※ Reimu's Yin Yang balls have turned into flowers. They will follow her while rotating around her, doing damage and shortly after homing in on enemies and exploding. Very flowerful.
※ When bombing with Cirno, a pin wheel will appear at her last location. Cirno can freely move while the pin wheel clears bullets and does damage.
※ Aya's spell card is most weirdest out of the four. A continuous gust of wind will appear at her last location doing damage. The most interesting thing is its behaviour. If you move left and bomb, the wind will slowly move towards the left. If you weren't moving, the wind gust won't move either.
※ When it comes to Marisa, you know that ZUN will deliver her a fitting effect for her bomb. Behold, 「Master Spark Frozen」. ZUN, I forgive you for giving Marisa a dull face in the previous game

Sub weapon and release effects
As mentioned in the introduction, the C button will release your season. You collect season items by shooting at enemies or bosses. Each season has its unique item appearance: pink flower petal, green leaf, red maple leaf, and blue snow flake. Depending on the level of your season, you will get ① more support familiars and ② exluding Cirno, a greater effect when releasing it. Oh and by the way, releasing your season does not render you immune. I made this mistake by rushing into Nemuno as Cirno while using my season and she turned me into shaved ice.
※ Spring: supports with mini yin yangs firing homing flower petals. When released, instantly clears bullets within a radius. The higher the level, the bigger the radius. At maximum level, the entire screen is covered.
※ Summer: supports with mini ice diamonds firing ice shards in a spread pattern. When released, creates a stationary ice circle with a fixed size and fixed duration clearing bullets and doing damage for its duration. Each usage costs ~90% of your current season gauge.
※ Autumn: supports with mini crows shooting wind slashes. When released, creates a brown fixed size circle which follows the player while giving increased movement. Bullets within are cleared and damage is done to enemies.
※ Winter: supports with mini hakkeros shooting straight lasers. When released, creates a stationary ice circle. The higher the level, the bigger the circle and longer the duration.

Most interesting to note about it is Cirno's and Marisa's season release. For Cirno, the circle has a fixed size and duration, regardless of your season level. Each usage depletes around 90% of your season gauge. Marisa on the other hand starts with a small circle and short duration and significantly increases size and duration.


The Girls Causing Trouble



Music, sound, look and feel
The moment you start the game you're welcomed by Reimu and her very long gohei. I personally think Shinmyoumaru's powers had some effect on that. The music kicks in and it sounds very cheerful and bright. Only after being exposed to the game several times, you can start to feel that the music takes you through the glory of four seasons. Based on the earlier games, ZUN is definitely trying to deliver us new dynamic menus and colourful images. But what ever he does, he always keeps the core Touhou elements in there; such as the difficulty selection. Also nice touch with the large character silhouette in the background.

Right, let us roll with one of our heroines! You're immediately thrown into the first stage where the action immediately begins. No time to view the beautiful background (which is improving with each game). Thankfully I am playing Easy Mode so I have plenty of time and space to take note of a lot of details. And those details are all over the place. If you paid attention in the trial version, you're transitioning between seasons. A beautiful mountain view in stage two coloured in beautiful autumn colours, as if it is Mountain of Faith all over again. Mysterious and dark shrine area, full of blooming cherry blossoms. The hot summer skies and evergreen fields. Hence Marisa''s opening line where she is complaining and swearing became famous. And many fans love her for that. Speaking of love for Marisa. Did you know ZUN gave her a new Master Spark? Master Spark Frozen. FROZEN!!.



Sorry Cirno, even if your sunflower pinwheel looks very cool, you cannot surpass the flashy Master Spark Frozen.

Each stage also has its own fitting sound track and enemies. Green fairies in the summer stage, pink dark fairies during spring and ice blue fairies, throwing cold danmaku at you in the fourth stage where finally a cheerful but quite skilled opponent awaits you. During this battle, you'll be surprised by her talents and spell cards. I definitely got  surprised and again turned into shaved ice. And as if that wasn't enough, in the next stage, even on easy mode, the difficulty seems to suddenly spike up. During my battle with Satono and Mai, I really wanted to stick that leaf and bamboo stick they're holding in their back doors for not letting me take screenshots in peace. Oh, and did I mention the major smug this game contains? You don't believe me do you?


How about you two take those things you're holding and sho-(ry


Battle of the smug. Girls are now Trashtalking, please watch warmly.

All in all, I would say: Impressive smug faces girls. But the true smug of LoLK cannot be surpassed. CHANG'E, ARE YOU LOOKING!?


Conclusion
I seriously cannot stop wondering how ZUN always seem to "1up" his game when it comes to beauty. At some point you're wondering when he is going to stop producing these games. But guessing from the story line, the character development, the resolved incidents and of course the music, we can definitely expect a few more releases in the future.

Of course there are some things to be said about the game mechanics he implemented. First of all, it seems we've returned back to the plain get-x-score-for-the-next-extend. Bombs are still collected through bomb pieces. In comparison to the previous shooter, LoLK had the unique Point Device system which fit with the story line. In HSiFS, the story line is somewhat straight forward. The main focus seems to be on season items and you're encouraged to utilize it in order to make your life easier through out the higher difficulties. Sadly, I cannot tell whether this adds an interesting dimension to scoring or not.

All in all ZUN has taken the season theme very seriously and is reflecting it from stages one to four. We're offered beautiful images, introduction a new "house hold" (with very very interesting stories). Take my advice: Launch the game in Easy mode and go explore. Listen. Look. Feel. Did you notice Nemuno's sword gleaming during her attacks? Did you notice the fairies slowly appearing from the cold fog in stage four? Did your pupils dilate each time Okina launched a spell card? Did you complain and swear about the weather?

Touhou is more than just a bullet hell shooter in my opinion. It is a story to tell, a movie to see, a book read, a music CD to listen. And lately also, with much surprise, an even more wider spreading culture.

なんだよ楽しいじゃねーか、このヤロー

--Helepolis




cuc:
ZUN posted a view of his booth.

Side sash description:


--- Quote ---桜を見ながら西瓜をわり、紅葉を見ながら鍋をつつく
こんな季節に誰がした!

イレギュラーでシーズナルなシューティング幻想!
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Viewing cherry blossoms while cutting up watermelons; gazing at red leaves while picking up food from hotpots.
Who could have caused such a season!?

An IRREGULARLY SEASONAL Shooting Fantasy!
--- End quote ---

Phantasmal:
*shaking with anticipation* :o

Also, isn't the newest episode of Hifuu Club Activity Record also on the way?

BernkastelWitch:
The countdown begins. Looks like I'm gonna have something to look forward to seeing soon. I'm interested in both the characters and how the other stages are like in a visual and gameplay perspective.

Shizzo:
New screenshot from, presumably, the back of the game's case showing a new boss' pattern (can't really make much of the sprite, as always)

Spoiler: http://i.4cdn.org/jp/1502414741401.jpg

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