Touhou Synthetic Dream in Arcadia is the traditional Shin Megami Tensei journey I wanted

Touhou Synthetic Dream in Arcadia is the traditional Shin Megami Tensei journey I wanted

One thing many individuals may not learn about me now could be that I was an enormous fan of the Megami Tensei franchise. Digital Satan Saga continues to be a favourite and my 3DS stays a Shin Megami Tensei 4 machine.

My adoration for this franchise extends even to the SNES titles. Particularly, I loved the primary SMT recreation and performed a few of its sequel on the identical system.

There are undoubtedly points with these titles, starting from Zio-breaking bosses to barren dungeons, however these video games have a vibe. There’s one thing about exploring a desolate world, utilizing computer systems to summon demons, and changing into a formidable drive. The soundtrack is pretty killer, too.

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It’s only a disgrace that the one official method to play the primary SMT within the West is on older iOS units. These older installments have a really feel I haven’t seen in another recreation, and I all the time wished extra. Properly, a brand new recreation has captured that sure je ne sais quoi, and it’s a Touhou fan recreation.

The flame and pixel-based sprites look awfully familiar, explaining our Touhou shin megami tensei comparison
Screenshot through Destructoid

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A real fusion of Touhou and Shin Megami Tensei

Touhou Synthetic Dream in Arcadia (Touhou ADIA as a result of the identify’s lengthy) is a dungeon-crawling RPG developed by Bar Holographic Otaku, and it’s SMT with Touhou characters. That is perhaps a reductive description, however it emulates how these older titles regarded and performed so nicely I need to contemplate it their successor.

The essential gameplay is of a simple dungeon-crawler. Gamers lead protagonist Sumireko all through Gensokyo, exploring the world and the assorted dungeons. All through her journey, she encounters many Touhou characters together with their mysterious clones known as Sleepers.

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A part of the SMT influences comes from the actual fact every Sleeper is recruitable or became objects.

One thing spectacular is that the majority Touhou characters seem as these clones and are recruitable. I don’t know a lot about Touhou or its characters, so seeing over 150 listings within the compendium was astonishing.

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Even parts from later SMT titles carry over into Touhou ADIA. Whereas the collection all the time emphasised exploiting enemy weaknesses, sure spells broke older video games. Zio, as an illustration, is principally a win button within the first SMT since stuns had been nearly assured. As most bosses had no electrical energy resistance, stunlocking them till they die is as viable as it’s hilarious.

This isn’t a lot the case in Touhou ADIA, as lightning spells don’t have stun capabilities. Discovering weaknesses and managing get together buffs is essential as both can flip a battle’s course. Like SMT, optimum get together composition with various expertise is essential to outlive.

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Fight and exploration have an exquisite circulation that takes the aesthetics of previous SMT titles whereas bettering the precise gameplay. Even higher is that with every reminiscent function, there’s a brand new component to it.

Screenshot through Destructoid

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Rethinking previous programs

Touhou Synthetic Dream in Arcadia not solely takes SMT‘s aesthetics and core gameplay however reintroduces a few of its distinctive options in a brand new gentle. Of anybody I’d single out, it will be the way it handles recruitment.

Not like SMT, gamers defeat Sleeper in bullet hell segments to recruit them. These name again to the mainline Touhou collection because the Workforce Shanghai Alice titles are all bullet hell video games. I haven’t performed any of these titles, however these segments make me glad as a Cave and Treasure fan.

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There’s even a touch of Pokemon added because it’s inspired to weaken enemies earlier than trying a seize. A Sleeper with nearly no HP will probably be far simpler to defeat within the bullet hell segments than one at full HP.

One thing uniquely SMT that has been tailored in Touhou ADIA is the fusion system. This implies most get together members can fuse and turn out to be stronger or weaker characters. Ability inheritance fortunately works like newer SMT titles in that gamers select them as a substitute of the sport.

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Terminals the place fusions happen even have differing choices on what to do with Sleepers. Affinity inheritance, like in Shin Megami Tensei V, is on the market together with sacrificing a Sleeper to strengthen one other.

What I used to be shocked to see is that the Magnetite system returns in some kind. Magnetite in early Megami Tensei video games served as gas to retain management over demons within the get together. It’s an extra useful resource to grind for, and one thing I believed was a neat thought. It was simply ample to the purpose that gamers may merely preserve overpowered demons out with out a lot fear by the endgame.

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Touhou ADIA reimagines Magnetite because the battery on Sumeriko’s smartphone. Whereas the telephone is essential to the sport’s plot, it’s additionally the equal of COMPs in numerous SMT video games. Sleepers are summoned and saved from it whereas additionally offering different bits of data just like the map.

It’s a neat method to proceed prevalent motifs of know-how summoning demons from Megami Tensei whereas remaining distinctive.

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Screenshot through Destructoid

Dwelling in gentle of 1’s overbearing shadow

It’s tough discussing Touhou Manmade Dream in Arcadia with out citing Shin Megami Tensei. The affect on Bar Holographic Otaku is instantly seen, however its undertaking stands alone as an superior RPG.

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If I eliminated myself from my love of SMT, I’d nonetheless suggest Touhou ADIA to old-school RPG followers. The pixel artwork is harking back to 16-bit titles whereas having sufficient element to look superb on LCD screens. Additionally serving to is the gameplay feeling notably trendy as a substitute of one thing from 1992.

Even the way it handles participant demise is exclusive, as Sumeriko exists in Gensokyo as a doppelganger. Which means her defeat in battle simply means she creates a brand new one afterward at the price of XP.

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I haven’t completed Touhou ADIA, however I do know it’s a gem. It’s an ideal pick-up-and-play recreation on my Steam Deck and fills me with a nostalgic feeling each time I boot it up.

Nonetheless, after I swap to my desktop and keyboard, I really feel 14 once more and taking part in the primary SMT with a fan translation. I’d fidget with the controls, urgent random keys as a result of I forgot the default controls on the emulator I used. It was a sense I’d by no means thought I’d expertise once more, and regardless that hooking up my controller would have ruined the second.

Touhou ADIA is every little thing I think about one other SNES SMT recreation can be. It faucets into potential earlier mechanics like Magnetite had whereas introducing mainstays of more moderen titles. In different phrases, it’s a dream a youthful me had that turned actuality.

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About The Writer
Andrea Gonzalez

Andrea has been taking part in video games for round 20 years and has a very robust love for RPGs and survival horror. Her favourite recreation in the mean time is Baldur’s Gate 3, however there’ll all the time be a particular place for NieR and Signalis.
She graduated from Portland State College in 2021 with a level in English and has written about video games since 2022. When Andrea is not gaming in her free time, she’s doubtless both studying or having a espresso.

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