The 'Shroom:Issue 119/Critic Corner


Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Issue100 anton.png

Heya guys, welcome to another issue of Critic Corner where me, Anton!, will be advertising more things. First off, next month will be Issue 120 so we will be doing some kinda of 3D theme because 120*3=360 math shenanigans so if you have the time and energy to contribute something in celebration of wonderful dimension of depth and thickness please do so!

Secondly, Awards season is starting up, and right now Turboo (talk) and I are running an application process for admission to this year's Awards Committee. Details and info can be found here and here.

Finally, our crew over at Palette Swap is running a little thin and could use any bit of help with filling in existing or new sections! Head on over to the sign up page to see what positions there are. Any bit can help, even semi-regular sections!

That all being said, congrats to Nabber (talk) for placing 3rd with his first CC section, Lord Bowser (talk) for placing 2nd, and thanks to everyone who voted Anton's Half-Baked Reviews for its fifth win in a row! I'm so proud <3

Section of the Month

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 10 37.04% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Lord Bowser's Inside Story 6 22.22% Lord Bowser (talk)
3rd Nabber's Top Films of 2016 4 14.81% Nabber (talk)


DragonFreak and the Amazing Review
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Stop Dragging your feet and read Y876's review.
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The greatest test yet to PowerKamek's cheery disposition!
[read more]

Winter got you blue? Snuggle up with some Warm Bodies
[read more]
Opinion Pieces

Avoiding the news lately? Well you can't miss Y876's update!
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Run back to your shrine to pray for Anton's eyeballs.
[read more]

DragonFreak's Review Quest

Written by: DragonFreak (talk)

Kirby and the Amzing Mirror
Developer HAL Labratory
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance, Wii U Virtual Console
Genres Platformer, Metroidvania
Rating(s) E
Available From

Hello all ‘Shroom readers out there! Welcome back to DragonFreak’s Review Quest. It’s been a long time since my last happens and such. But I am glaaaad to be back! What better way to celebrate than to review one of the best and quite underrated games of all time: Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. Spoilers: I may like this game just a tiny bit.

Kirby is a very fun franchise and has been the center of some of the most creative games in history. Plus the franchise is so diverse, much more diverse than I originally thought. There’s many main-series games that are a complete change from the usual Kirby formula like Mass Attack, Rainbow Curse, or Epic Yarn. Yet more are engaging spin-offs including Air Ride and Dream Course. But what I feel is the best idea for a Kirby game was turning it into a Metroidvania. Thus, Kirby and the Amazing Mirror was created.

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Yes you read that right, Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, or KATAM for short, is essentially a Metroidvania, a genre most notable for massive exploring. Part of my favorite things about gaming is to explore the world. It’s part of the reason why I love adventure games, metroidvanias, and rpgs so much. The option to explore very much enhances games, even if it’s admittedly as simply as taking Nightmare in Dreamland’s engine and turning it into a Metroidvania.

The game opens up with Kirby being split up into 4 completely separate entities. They and Meta Knight chase after two mysterious and similar figures: a Dark Meta Knight and a Shadow Kirby from a parallel Mirror World. After reaching the hub area, you see Dark Meta Knight trap the real Meta Knight in a large mirror, and then shattering it. Both of the parallel characters escape into a regular sized mirror-door, and your real adventure begins. Your goal is pretty simple: find all the mirror shards and track down these mirror foes.

Explaining the gameplay of KATAM is pretty hard, besides saying it’s a Metroidvania. Moving and attacking is almost exactly the same as any other Kirby game, and you could say that it’s very similar to the Great Cave Offensive mode in Kirby Superstar (Ultra). You have themed sections that branch out with multiple paths and connects to other sections. There’s no clear path of where to go, so you just have to navigate almost every nook and cranny of the game to reach all areas.

Another thing I love about KATAM is that it’s legitimately hard, at least on your first play through. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Kirby games for their fun gameplay, but a vast majority of them are extremely easy for all parts except for a few special challenges and the arenas. But KATAM was the hardest time I’ve had with a Kirby game ever. The reason for this is that the learning curve of KATAM starts off high. It’s hard getting your sense of direction and knowing the relative direction of where to go. It doesn’t help that the game’s map is hard to read. I won’t consider the map to be bad, but it takes a while to learn how to use it efficiently. There’s also many more puzzles in this game than most other Kirby games. If you’ve played Kirby games before you might know, for example, that a block held up by string can be cut with a sword to gain access to a new area. KATAM has a lot of those ability specific puzzles, but the thing is, a lot of those puzzles that require a specific powerup aren’t found in the immediate area unlike other Kirby games. When powers aren’t found in the area, you have to go to another area to get that ability and go back to that puzzle to solve it. It’s difficult to explain why, but believe me when I say that this makes the game much harder. I greatly appreciate this difficulty, and if you find Kirby games a little too easy, I think you appreciate it too. As for all the enemies and bosses, their difficulty is about normal Kirby difficulty, but those Metroidvania twists definitely increase the danger.

The new abilities in KATAM are overall underwhelming. Cupid is the first of the new abilities you can copy. You now maneuver in the air like an angel would and shoots down arrows. It has it’s uses but overall not the best ability. The Magic ability can only be copied from a mid-boss named Boxy, and when used it does something random from a variety of outcomes. There’s no reliable practical use to this ability. Missile is an ability of risk and reward, where you turn into a missile and fly upwards doing pretty good damage. However, controlling the missile is very hard and you’re just likely to hurt yourself. Mini is actually the worst ability in the franchise in my opinion. All you do is turn into a very small form of Kirby who can’t do anything except jump. Yes, it’s just as terrible as it sounds. The ability is very similar to Tiny Wario and Small Wario from Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 and Wario Land II respectively, which even there was terrible ability. However, I can look past all those bad abilities, because KATAM has one ability that is one of if not the best ability in the entire franchise. I won’t actually say what it is for those who haven’t played it, because it’s best to discover it in game. Trust me, you’ll be extremely excited when you get said ability.

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There is one more aspect of KATAM I want to talk about. This game is actually multiplayer. Those other three split Kirbies are computer AIs that wander around the world in single player, which you can call for assistance. If you happened to have 1-3 friends who all had Game Boy Advances, KATAM, and enough link cables, you could play this game multiplayer with all four Kirbies. The thing is, no one has that. And you can’t netplay this game on emulators. It’s terrible, because this game would be even more fun with friends, running around independently or together. I hope you can see the potential and genius of multiplayer in KATAM. There’s very few things in gaming I want more than to play KATAM with four people. I hope in the future Nintendo will find a way to release it with online multiplayer. Until then, multiplayer is a mode that few will ever experience, much to my disbelief.

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is by far the least linear Kirby game that I know of. Such a relatively simple concept of turning the Kirby franchise into a Metroidvania is a stroke of genius. It adds gameplay elements unlike anything seen before, and in some way, have never been seen since. I highly recommend this game to anyone, and for those who do: have fun getting lost. I know I did.

Character Review

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)


Artwork of a Draglet from Super Mario 3D Land
The Headless Snowman's true form?

Last month I took a look at a character in a 3D Mario game, this time I'm taking a look at an enemy in a 3D Mario game: namely the Draglet, a cute little dragon enemy that sadly only appeared in Super Mario 3D Land.

Technically, enemies are meant to inspire fear or dread in a player, something the Draglet doesn't really do either. This is mainly down to how adorable it looks, something a disembodied head shouldn't really be. It's not a particularly hard enemy to beat, down to a bad decision by an enemy designer. Just before the Draglet attacks, it lets out a little noise, and then spits out a fireball moments later. Not only does this alert you to an attack, they stop dead in their tracks to make the attack, meaning by the time its launched, you've either defeated them or ran past them. The Draglet could have been a difficult enemy to predict and beat, but sadly it got oversimplified, and all of this went down the drain.

When I first saw the Draglet, my immediate thought was longevity, I could this enemy becoming a staple of the series, but sadly I was proven wrong. And despite my criticism of its methods of attack, I do mean the "sadly" part from my previous sentence. I think the Draglets could be expanded quite well, with homing fireball variants, and maybe even ice spitting variants. Arguably, this could lead to comparisons with Hammer Bros., but in a series that seems to introduce a new breed of Goomba with every game, I don't see this as an excuse not to include them.

Despite their attack methods being messed up, I still like the Draglet. As aforementioned it has the air of something that could be further expanded upon, and I do hope that Nintendo does bring this enemy back. With a few tweaks to it, it could be one of the most fearsome foes in the Mario games, if one gets past how adorable it really is.

Meta Knight's Boss Battle Reviews

Written by: Meta Knight (talk)

Hello and welcome to this month's boss battle! For this month, I wanted to go back to Paper Mario 64. It's around Valentine's Day, and there's plenty of partners in the first Paper Mario that can be something relating to the theme, such as how the key on Bombette is a heart, or how Lady Bow literally has the name Bow. However, these aren't bosses, so instead let's take a look at something that fights in style. It's time to fight the Koopa Bros.!

The Koopa Bros. as they are on the ground.

The Koopa Bros. are four Koopa Troopas that each have a different colored shell and they each wear a bandana. They share a strong resemblance to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the squad, there's Red, Black, Yellow, and Green. They are the end boss of Chapter 1, but Mario will encounter them throughout the chapter up to this point. I like this because they don't show up randomly, and there is somewhat of a buildup.

You'll be close to the point where you fight them because you will be on top of the Koopa Bros. Fortress. There will be a yellow walkway for you to walk across as Bullet Bills are fired at you. The music also changes to try and raise the tension, and it works. There is also a Save Block, which as I've said before, this is just the Mario RPGs way of saying a boss is nearby. This works though because it has a little bit of buildup, and the player can expect a boss to show up very soon when they get to this point. When you enter the door, you'll see some more dialogue courtesy of the Koopa Bros. They will push a robot Bowser machine that they built. The fight will then begin.

The Koopa Bros. are stacked and using their spinning attack.

The fight against the Koopa Bros. has two phases. The first phase is to destroy the Bowser mechanism that the Koopa Bros. are hiding inside. They can attack with the fist to do 1 damage. Despite being the largest boss in terms of size, it really doesn't do that much damage. I find that a little funny. Shortly after, the mechanism will be destroyed and all four Koopa Bros. will be on the battlefield directly. Not only will they all be on the stage at once, but they will stack on each other. This increases their attack. I like this because it shows how the bad guys will use teamwork in order to combine their strength. The player will have to attack them in order to get them to fall on the ground. Once the Koopa Bros. are not in a stack anymore, it's just like fighting four Koopa Troopas. They have 5HP each.

Some people might say that this fight is dull or too easy, but then again it is the first chapter boss so I don't really mind. Personally, I enjoy this fight. I love the TMNT reference with their design, and the music in the fight when the Koopa Bros. themselves are on stage is pretty good. I think that this fight is memorable. The Koopa Bros. are supposed to be kind of silly with their dialogue, and I think this fight fits their character well. I'd say give it a shot if you haven't already. After all, there are even more great bosses after, and you won't be able to get to them without going through the Koopa Bros.

Marioverse Reviews

Written by: Rosalina1999 (talk)

Super Paper Mario North American cover art

Hi everyone! It’s Rosalina1999 here, ready for the Nintendo Switch! It’s not to far away! Anyway, I’m in the mood right now to review what could possibly be the worst Paper Mario game in history… Super Paper Mario!

Super Paper Mario seemed fun at first, but once I got more into it, I realized that it was just horrible. It didn’t seem like a Paper Mario Game at all. I will explain why in the paragraph after this. In the first one, I’ll say what I like about it.

Okay. That’s what I thought when I first got the game. It seemed fun, because the beginning was a great story.But there wasn’t much to like about it. But what I did like was the partners. Pixl was a cute buddy to have. I also liked that it seemed to have a great story. But there isn’t much to like about this game. Oh, and Bowser kind of made it better.

This game was not a real Paper Mario Game. It doesn’t seem like it. It’s enemies are stupid. They’re not even Mario Characters! Plus, you don’t even battle them! You just continuously jump on their head, and they’re gone. Boring. This game could be a lot better. Not even the levels seem idealistic. I’ll give it credit, however, for the 3D feature. That seemed to make it a little more fun. I just wish Nintendo made it more like a real Paper Mario Game, though.

I don’t really like this game. I’ll give it a 4/10. It could have been way better than it was. I don’t recommend you buying nor playing this game. Hope y’all have a great February!

Movie Reviews

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies
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Genres Paranormal romance, zombie comedy
Release date January 2013
Starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich
Runtime 97 minutes
Ratings 12 (UK)

In the week just gone by, we've celebrated Valentine's Day, a day most people spend with someone they love, no matter their age, race or gender; in the romantic film that I'm reviewing today it takes it just that one step further by including some not 100% human.

Our story begins eight years after an unexplained apocalypse that caused many humans to become zombies. Like many other zombie films, these zombies, or corpses as the film refers to them as, have a penchant for brains, and a non-fatal bite from one causes the victim to turn into a zombie. Where this differs from other zombie movies is the characterization of them, our main hero, R (Hoult), is capable of free thought, and it's implied that others are capable too, as R is able to have some form of conversation with M (Rob Corddry). Zombies are also able to transform into Boneys, hulking skeletal-like creatures, once they give up on any hope of their humanity. The Boneys are the only scary thing about the film, their appearance is quite disturbing, as is witnessing one unnamed zombie tearing flesh from his face to start his transformation, but in a romantic film, this isn't really a negative point.

At the heart of it, that's what this film is: a romantic one, with a zombie being the leading man. It's impossible not to draw comparisons with one of time's most famous love stories: Romeo & Juliet. Our hero is R, presumably short for Romeo; our leading lady is called Julie (Palmer); and their love is forbidden, what with humans trying to shoot zombies whenever they come across one. For the most part the love between R and Julie is believable, although I do feel like the big conflict in their relationship, R having eaten Julie's ex-boyfriend's, Perry (Dave Franco), brain is overlooked, as Julie is willing to forgive R the moment she sees him again after they part ways. It's nice to watch Julie's feelings for R blossom after continued time with him, rather than just appearing out of nowhere following him rescuing her a couple of times, because of this her feelings for him seem realistic, rather than forced. You can't say the same for R, who falls for Julie because she is hot, and subsequently becomes obsessed with her.

It's hard not to compare this film to the Twilight saga, given how this film came out not long after the conclusion to that series, but I feel Warm Bodies captures the whole paranormal love interest a lot better than that series. It doesn't overcomplicate things with multiple side-characters and side-plots; the motivations behind the love between two characters is more believable, Edward digging Bella's scent was quite weird; and the overall barrier keeping them apart is more compelling, R risking getting killed for being a zombie, whereas Edward can believably blag to the humans that's human.

I enjoyed the acting as well, Teresa Palmer played a very good no-nonsense female protagonist, and didn't fall into many of the stereotypes of that character, i.e. being a man-killing ball-crusher, and yet it's debatable for Nicholas Hoult's performance. He's either delivering an excellent zombie performance, or a monotone one, I can't make my up my mind on it. On the one hand, his shuffling around makes him a very believable zombie, but on the other hand his speech is either further excellent character portrayal, or bad acting.

There are some small issues though, like I said in the opening paragraphs, the apocalypse is unexplained, and it would have been nice to have an explanation for that. Whilst R works as a character, seeing as M is able to have some memories of his previous life, I think it would have been nice to have known a little bit more about R, but my biggest issue is near the climax. The Boneys decide to pursue R and Julie as the zombies are regaining their humanity, but the Boneys are only characterized as mindless hunters, so I fail to see the motivation behind this, surely they'd see the zombies becoming human as a chance for more food?

Given the respective genres, it's hard to decide whether to recommend this one. If you're into zombie movies for all the guts and gore, then this isn't the film for you, as that only exists in the first few scenes. This is more a film for those of us who like the romantic genre. However, seeing as this is a Valentine's Day review, if you can convince your partner that there are more zombies then what I'm saying, then you could probably watch it with them, with minimal complaints.

Yoshi876's Monthly Thoughts

by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Hello readers and welcome to my Monthly Thoughts! Here, I give a run down on the 10 news stories that interested me the most in the past month. Most of these will be me shining the light on lesser known stories, among some of the larger ones of the past month. This issue we'll be covering news from January 15 - February 11.

Where'd he go?
10. Garden creatures vanish from gardens - Sightings of common garden wildlife such as hedgehogs or butterflies are falling. 51% of people reported not seeing a single hedgehog in their garden during the year, despite making their gardens more hedgehog-friendly. This is very worrying, as because of the warmer weather hedgehogs should have been visible for much longer than they usually are. What's even more worrying is that no one knows why they vanished.
Less cute when the size of a wolf.
9. Wolf-sized otter fossil found - There's not much to say about this story other than that title. The fossil of an otter that would have roughly have been the size of a wolf has been found in China. Scientists think that it likely lived their when China was mostly swamplands, and like modern-day otters it would have had a diet of fish and shellfish.

8. Fukushima radiation levels can kill a robot - A robot sent in to inspect and clean a damaged reactor had to be pulled back as its operators feared damaging the robot. This was the first time since the disaster took place six years ago that a robot had been sent in, and within two hours its mission was aborted as the radiation could have killed it. The radiation is still contained within the area, and poses no risk to those outside at the moment, but judging by this report it'll be ages before the risk is completely gone.

7. British police taser their own race relations officer - It's one of those stories you need to do a double take one. British police mistook their race relations officer, Judah Adunbi, for a wanted criminal, and after a brief scuffle they tasered him. Honestly, this is just one of those stories that you need to read it to believe it, and even then you still feel a bit dubious.

6. Breakthrough in lung and pancreatic cancer - Another month, another cancer treatment story. This one revolves around two of the deadliest forms: lung and pancreatic. As of today, people rarely live past five years after being diagnosed with these forms of cancer. However, a new treatment has managed to increase those numbers, significantly. With pancreatic cancer, less than 3% of people live past five years, with this new drug the number has increased up to 29%. Whilst the number is still quite low, it is significantly higher than the previous rate, so hopefully this is a massive step forward to being able to treat cancer in the future.

5. Sweden to test music-jamming sirens - Emergency vehicles in Sweden are trialing a new system developed by university (college) students that will allow them to jam motorist's radios when they are approaching. The system is being launched as too often motorists are listening to loud music and fail to hear the emergency vehicle approaching, so they don't have a lot of time to get out of the way. I really like this idea, by jamming the signals hopefully motorists won't pose as much as an obstacle to the emergency services.

4. Flight MH370 search called off - Back in 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean. After nearly three years of searching, the search has been called off by officials. The news devastated families who no face a future of never knowing what happened to their loved ones who were onboard that flight. However, this doesn't mean that the plane will never be found, as independents will still be able to search, and debris has from the plane has washed up before, so there is a possibility that more will surface and wash ashore, although this is highly unlikely.

3. Girls see themselves as less talented than boys by age six - This heartbreaking study published in the Science Journal found that from a pool of 400 white, middle-class children girls saw themselves as less talented than boys, and therefore shunned activities and games considered to be for the smarter children. This in turn leads to them pursuing less challenging careers in the future. In an age where more and more people are becoming equal, it is distressing to read this. If I ever had a daughter, I'd absolutely hate for to think that she was less important than someone because of her gender. Schools should become more aware of this, and make sure that our children are taught that everyone is equal.

2. Domestic violence laws take a backward step in Russia - It feels strange writing about how this is an age of equality, because Russia never got that memo. And just to prove how out of touch with the 21st century they really are, domestic violence laws have been relaxed, and in a country where in 2015 49,479 people were victims of domestic abuse. First-time offenders, and those who haven't caused serious harm, defined as breaking a bone, no longer face a two year jail sentence, just a fine. The government's reasoning? According to them, there is nothing wrong with disciplining your children, and the state should back out of private domestic affairs, maybe they should back out of private domestic affairs, but they absolutely should not back away from punishing abusive people, this report actually makes me sick.

1. Russian army could wipe out British one in an afternoon - This isn't a report from Russia, this is one from a UK based thinktank, that has warned that Britain's army has been so hollowed out, that the Russian army could wipe it out in a single engagement. This is potentially worrying news, whilst thankfully a war with Russia isn't on the cards, should it happen then Britain is well and truly screwed right up the wazoo.


Written By: Hypnotoad (talk)

Heya, welcome to this month’s edition of Half-Baked Reviews where I review only one thing because I spent most of my time on Dear Anton, working, and then not wanting to do anything on my days off. In order to retroactively make up for this I tried out multiple aspects of a large project thing full of all kinds of games and art and other stuff--Touhou!

Play something from the Touhou Project

Being able to actually download these games was apparently supposed to be easy, but I had some troubles and had to work around it. Shoutout to Turboo (talk) who could’ve used this opportunity to send me a virus but didn’t, saving this section from me having to review something else. A true hero.

My first real experience with Touhou came in like ??2010 ? when everyone in chat was Homestucking their names (i.e. cycling between who has what touhou name interchangeably) and the Bad Apple thing was going around and I thought that was a pretty alright song. It was only shortly later that I found out it was part of this bullet hell dakimakura porn factory that everyone was Homestucking chat and forum names all over the place about. After I watched some dude named Anira’s Bad Apple music video another 68000 times I looked more into it beyond just seeing naked anime girls with “Touhou” in the tag of gelbooru and learned that it was actually about mythologies and goddesses and stuff and everyone had weirdo superpowers and that was pretty neat. After that I kinda put it in the back of my mind except for fawning over Suwako Moriya, a froggy-themed god, until like 2 months ago when Blocky was like “hey you should play some touhou games for Half-Baked Reviews” and here I am today.

The games that I chose to play are based on sampling a few of each type of game--shoot ‘em up and fighting--as well as what was recommended to me by Turb, Blocky, I think Crash and maybe Mariofan169 and someone else.

Touhou 6: Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

I was told to start with 6 so that’s what I did. After fiddling around to find out how to play in fullscreen. Now, I’m old so of course I’ve played a fair share of flash games, and those included scrolling shooters like this, so when I saw Reimu had homing attacks I immediately went for that.
This is exactly what playing Touhou feels like

From what I can tell the story is about some girls who can shoot lasers as they run through the forest where other girls are trying to eat them but instead the protagonist girls sass them to death. Additionally, this game is quick to put you in a panic with way too many bullets and a hitbox you can’t tell even exists until you’re dead. The dialogue is really weird and awkward, and I genuinely can’t tell if that’s a result of the translation from Japanese to English or if that’s just how it is. The music is pretty alright, though. This seemed like a pretty standard game just with a steeper difficulty curve than what I’m used to, which I’m sure is because it’s like the first game in the modern reboot or whatever this is.

I eventually beat the game but got Bad Ending 1 because I had to use a continue because you can’t see your hitbox at all which makes it difficult to avoid attacks that require superhuman precision to steer around. The worst part of this game was the credits scene I had no way to close out of or even zoom through without me just overriding it and closing the program.

Touhou 10: Mountain of Faith

This one was suggested to me because it has Suwako Moriya in it somewhere so it was a must-play. Due to this fact I was much more focused on trying to win this game; little did I know that this one is lauded as being one of the most difficult and unforgiving.
HalfBaked 6 2.png
Just like in EoSD I selected Reimu to start because of homing attacks, but it seems like her personality was amped up and she just came off as being really snotty and it completely overwhelmed the easymode shooting style, so I tried out Marisa who has a better outfit anyways. This game seemed to go better because by this point Turb told me that holding down shift slows your movement to a more controllable speed and allows you to view the hitbox which is apparently the bellybutton. Holding shift also slows you in EoSD but still no visible hitbox; regardless this made playing it again later on remarkably easier even though I still didn’t win. Blocky then came in to say that there’s a bug if you select Marisa’s 2nd attack that just basically deletes every enemy if you maintain a power level between 3.0 - 3.95 or something as long as you don’t hold shift.

Now you might be thinking “wow anton this sure sounds super easy now that you know some tricks and hacks”, but that’s where you’d be wrong. This game is fine and manageable up until Stage 4 where the skill curve goes through the roof. It’s not even the boss fights, it’s the regular basic enemy fairy things. They have more firepower than the bosses do, on top of like 20 of them spawning at once every few seconds. I’ve made jokes about this game having screen-filling attacks with my hyperbolic whining in chat, but this stage literally has that. You basically have to memorize the entire stage down to the pixel of where everything will be and when, as well as how to time your bombs effectively without blowing them on too many cheap enemies before you even get to the boss fight leaving you weak and defenseless. This made EoSD seem easy-peasy in comparison. People who talk big on Dark Souls being excruciatingly difficult have never played MoF on normal to unlock your waifu Suwako.

I finally did beat easy mode after like 7 continues, but got Ending 11 which had some story that said I lose anyways even though I won so tbh screw this.

Touhou 10.5: Scarlet Weather Rhapsody

In addition to the danmaku bullet hell whatever games, there’s also fighting games! Similar to the other games, but more potent in the fighting games, the stories games really seem to be about magical girls being minorly inconvenienced and then indiscriminately beating the crap out of anyone nearby. Reimu sums it up pretty well after you defeat her: “I don’t know why we just fought.”
Me talking about you and your waifus

It starts out as a regular fair fighting game, but as soon as you deplete your opponent’s health bar they just get back up, refill their health, and become even more powerful with screen-consuming attacks that you can’t really dodge and once you get hit you’re just constantly stumbling and can’t counter. Once you defeat them again it results in a “spell break” where they just change their attack type and come back, essentially having 4 lives. This wouldn’t be an issue if not for your own 4 lives being carried over through every single round, so any damage you take counts for the whole of the game and not just against each opponent each time.

I applaud the fighting games at least for maintaining a bullet-hell feel to it, since a lot of the spell breaks are a lot of dodging wide-range attacks and then using a small opening to land a strong blow, but I think they stuck to the spell card thing a bit awkwardly and it didn’t translate over too well. Maybe that’s because I’m used to fighting games where there’s just basic rounds/lives instead of invisible/implied spell breaks. It’s a neat concept that maybe I just need to play more to get used to.

Touhou 12.3: Hisoutensoku

I technically played this one first so you can imagine how I felt when I saw I can beat the crap out of Reimu.
Unfortunately this game also has a different spell break system. Spell break makes it so the opponent can’t be damaged for 99% of the time and also have basically 17 lives. During the spell casting the opponent cannot be damaged at all, all you can do is deplete their spell to make them vulnerable for like...4 seconds? Then they’re back to being mostly invincible while they cover the screen in projectile attacks and hover above the field out of range of most attacks. Once you break through a spell and damage them enough to deplete their HP, they just come back, regenerate, and have another spell card to go through--I think 4 in total.

Somehow through slamming my keyboard to attack instead of applying any kind of strategy I got through to the end to see Suwako, as I failed to do so in MoF. She greets the player by being kind of innocent and then suddenly explaining nuclear fusion and it’s like…...but you’re a little girl frog things how do you know about nuclear fusion and what’s going on aaaaa and then as you keep talking she’s like “i’m gonna beat you up now” or something. The entire fight was giving me Super Princess Peach Giant Kamek flashbacks where I knew I had to beat them up but I just didn’t want to. Suwako making BOING noises whenever she jumped was icing on the cake. She’s so cute and also powerful.

BOING ;~; so powerful so cute

Final Thoughts

The plot summary to every touhou game as told by Anton: Something goes wrong, protag mildly inconvenienced; Anime girl comes down from the mountains to tell the protag anime girl what’s happening and offer help in resolving it; protag anime girl interrupts her to pretty much explicitly say “hey there's a bad thing happening and you're the first person I see, I'm going to ignore you trying to actively help me resolve this issue and kick your ass instead”; upon defeating the opponent who wasn’t even bothering you, the protag anime girl moves on to the next stage to repeat the same process or have it inverted on her. Rather than writing good dialogue or stories, or being able to draw decent anatomy, ZUN’s forte really seems to be patterns and design. He’d be gr8 at sewing doilies. At the risk of sacrificing beginner-friendliness, the games are committed to giving each character a personality instead of just a larger recolored sprite of a basic enemy. The attacks and spell cards are clearly an extension of the bosses. It’s this that grabbed my attention most. The writing is absolutely atrocious and the stories don’t make any bit of sense, but the characterization is absolutely amazing and its translation into gameplay makes it so you can just skip past all of the dialogue to know what kind of character you’re facing by the styles and intensity of the bullets. In EoSD, you could tell that Cirno has ice powers with one of her spell cards being throwing out a bunch of bullets and then freezing them in place, turning white, and then drifting down slowly like snow. In MoF, Nitori you can tell has something to do with water (she’s a kappa I found out after I bothered to pay attention to the dialogue and then further confirmed with wikipedia) because her attack patterns very clearly represent flowing water and streams.

Before I get to my rating, do note that I only sampled 4 games out of the entire catalog available just to get a taste and fulfill my half-baked thematic approach to reviewing. As such, I got a very superficial experience that was wholly geared on me seeing Suwako Moriya content because she’s the best waifu. If you want a fully-detailed in-depth multiply-hyphenated review that delves deep into the entire body of work that ZUN created then go bug Blocky or Turb to do it.

Rating: EmergencyChexMix.png Emergency Chex Mix

Explanation: This bag of Chex Mix is one you’ve had sitting in your car or bag for a while waiting for the one time in a blue moon that you go out and have some liquid fun. The fun stops though when the room starts to look like Stage 1-7 of Yoshi’s Island and fuzzies are swarming your head. Before you wobble your way off a cliff, your emergency bag of Chex Mix is there to provide much needed sustenance to soak up some booze to stretch it out and make your night go smoother, as well as prevent any disasters. Playing Touhou games requires you to be prepared and know when to use your bombs and dodges or else come face to face with about 800 projectiles. The bullet hell shoot-em-up games only really seem to be fun if you’re someone who enjoys suffering through steep skill curves just to see some more poorly-written dialogue by your potential waifu. The fighting games are the most balanced and forgiving. Honestly you can just enjoy the Touhou community, style, artwork, characters, etc. without even bothering to play the games, but if what you’re after for is a challenge then here you go; and if what you’re into is seeing the neat patterns then you can just watch youtube playthroughs because that way you can actually appreciate them in whole instead of screaming while you focus on your hitbox. Also, my waifu is better than yours.

Tune in next month where I review something 3D! Also, tell me what to review next! Here’s my Steam Inventory filled with games I haven’t played for some ideas, but things you can tell me to do can also be movies, shows, physical actions, trying new foods, music, literally anything and I’ll cover it eventually if it’s not too ridiculous. Just send me a message here on my talk page or PM it to me on the forum. Don't like what I have to say? That's fine, and probably bound to happen because I'm putting no effort into really learning about my subjects! We at Critic Corner will welcome your alternate review of it as a new section for the next issue!

The 'Shroom: Issue 119
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