Im not saying that Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle is the worst game you could ever play on switch, but it is one of the strangest. Perhaps my favorite moment I had with this game was when I was playing it on a open mic and a co-worker asked me “are you watching porn on spekaers right now?” Many of our readers I am sure will know about the world of Touhou, a bullet hell anime universe that’s full of iconic characters and cute girls. What they don’t know is that there is little teeny game called Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle, which came out for Switch about a month ago. The game contains all of the best Touhou characters and throws them in to a fighting system that’s markedly similar to pokken tournament. (more on that later) and quite fun. Especially if you enjoy the various characters from the Touhou universe. You can play as rotagonist Reimu Hakurei adventuring through a haunted region of Japan. Reimu, as well as the series’ secondary character Marisa Kirisame, and a host of playable characters. All these characters of course become the best of friends afterwards.
So whats in this game? Well its basically a fun 3d fighting game. You play as any of the Touhou girls and have a few basic attacks that you can use against your enemies and that swap between ranged and close combat. It’s a basic system, there are three basic attacks. The A button is your main attack, the Y button is a sub attack, and the X button is a charge attack. Each of these has a sort of power meter. So you can think of each attack taking a small chunk of that power meter, then the whole game is as much resource management than it is fighting. In that way it differs massively from traditional fighting games. This game is much more about watching your meters, and timing your attacks, while trying to keep your enemy off balance, than it is about traditional fighting mechanics. What makes this not such a good fighting game is that despite its large cast of Touhou characters, all of the attacks are basically the same. Some of them have different colors and different animations but it all comes down to shoot something, powershoot something, and hit something in the face. You also get a block and of course there is 3D movement. Dodging plays a large role, when you see an enemy attack coming you can use your charge dodge to get out of the way. Blocking exists but even after like 8 hours of practice I couldn’t get it to work every time, so either im broken or the game is.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the games fighting, but honestly it felt shallow and the fighting at times made me feel so lost that I had no idea if I was doing better or worse than before. I don’t mind losing in a game that has a skill celling, it happens all the time. But I do mind dying for no reason at all. I felt like I lost fights I had well in hand, and not because of a good combo, but because I simply couldn’t hit back, or block. That’s no fun at all.
I could go on and on about the problems in the fighting system, but it wouldn’t do much good, so I wont. Instead ill tell you what I did like. This is a really fun game to pick up for 15 minutes, play some arcade style matches or the annoyingly short story mode. The story mode only contains 5 regular fights (of increasing difficulty of course) and one massive end boss fight which I never did beat. (place all hatefull bad gamer comments in the comments below) One good point is that you can play as each character in the game through the story, and it changes each time. So you can at least throw a few points on for replay ability. Unless you really really love Tohou and the characters, your probably going to get bored, but its still nice to have the option to play again with the slight difference.
The game also sports an arcade and vs Com mode, as well as a training mode. The arcade mode is fun for a quick fix. I found it to work well with the idea that the switch should be moved around used when ever you have 10 minutes to play a game. Arcade mode does feature one interesting mechanic, that I had not seen before. When you win, you don’t get back much health, and the next fight starts right away. I have played similar modes in other games usually called gauntlet mode, but never in a game like this. I liked the challenge, and the ability to knock out a match and then turn my Swithc off, and then come back and do it again.
The vs Com mode is surprisingly deep, you can adjust a ton of things and make the bot eather easy cannon fodder, or as hard as the last boss. A huge gripe of mine with this game is that it gives you absolutely no feedback or training. Most fighting games understand that there is a somewhat deep learning curve, and as such give you plenty of tops and help to get you there. Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle does absolutely none of that. The game just throws you in and your expected to figure out what’s going on. The menue lists an incredibly basic set of moves and combos, but that’s not nearly enough to make most players comfortable with the games mechanics. You don’t even get an explanation of the ‘Charge’ and ‘Action’ bars on the screen. I had to google to find out what they were even for that’s just bad game design.
In conclusion, this game is not for the faint of heart. If you absolutely love the Tohou world, and want to have some time to play with its characters, or if you are desperate for another fighting game that’s similar to pokken on Switch then check this game out. Otherwise go elsewhere, because this game misses almost every mark, just like my attacks in game.