Touhou: New World for the Nintendo Switch is a bullet-hell title with RPG elements. It’s actually a fan-made spin-off of the long-running Touhou series, originally created by ZUN. This combo works well, bringing a fresh way to enjoy RPGs for those who just want to punish themselves. 

First of all, Touhou: New Worlds looks lovely. It’s full of color and fast-moving enemies, keeping you on your toes from the beginning. The game begins with a choice between two characters, each presenting a completely different story. This essentially provides double the gameplay, should you choose to play again with the second character.

But how does a top-down RPG become like a bullet-hell, you may ask? Touhou: New World intersperses exploration, leveling up, and puzzle-solving moments with enemies that throw everything at you all at once. It’s a combination that works really well. Being a fan of both genres, I found the balance intriguing and enjoyable. It feels like a slightly stressful, fast-paced RPG, although there are plenty of allowances to compensate for the high difficulty of some enemies. For example, you possess unlimited lives, respawning at the point of death to retry as many times as you like. Am I the only glutton for punishment here?

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The game follows your character through several story elements, including main and side quests. You can pick and choose your path, unraveling more of the narrative as you go. The world of Touhou is like a fairytale, separated from the human world by a thin veil. When a human somehow appears on the wrong side of this arbitrary fence, things go amiss. 

The characters are interesting and cute, though not very deep, with perfunctory conversations that keep things moving. Most of the time, I just wanted to get to the next series of areas to explore. Like I said, I enjoy the heavy burden of playing bullet hells. 

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The attack system is great. You have many choices at your disposal, with almost every button on your controller activating something. These can also be mapped however you like, with new spells or attacks learned along the way. Some require a cooldown, so you’ll want to balance strong and fast to make sure you have something to lean on. Either way, they’re super fun to unleash upon enemies, with some powerful spells at your disposal.

Stats are also upgradeable, and this is where the RPG part really comes into play. As you wander through maze-like levels of snow or forests, you’ll come across loot boxes full of gems and, occasionally, upgrades. It pays to jump into your menu every now and then to see how you can put those items you’ve found to good use.

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The audio is another big plus. No bullet hell is complete without a rocking soundtrack, and Touhou: New World is no different. If you want something punchy, fast, and with a hint of anime-esque vibes, look no further; Touhou: New Worlds has you covered. It keeps the adrenaline pumping, just the way the doctor ordered. 

Overall, Touhou: New World is a colorful RPG with bullet-hell elements that works really well. It’s the refreshing, fast-paced version of an RPG that you didn’t know you wanted. If you’re after something a little different, this one might be worth your time.