Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony Review thumbnail

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony Review

A 2D Touhou adventure

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is rated Teen by the ESRB

The shrine maidens of Touhou have entered another retro-inspired world with the 2D action of Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony.

A.J. has been obsessively gaming since the late '80s and is just as passionate about video games in 2023. 🐻

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony screenshot 1
This looks awfully familiar

A familiar experience

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is clearly inspired by some notable old-school games and it certainly plays like it, too. The core gameplay has you run left and right while jumping over chasms and whipping enemies. Along the way, you'll face many typical monsters such as skeletons that throw bones, hazardous weeds, and an array of fairies that are more in-line with the Touhou universe. The stages will have you visit a Forest, Misty Woods, Banquet Hall, Dollhouse, Arena, Library, Clock Tower, and Moonlit Spire. Many of the environments feel like they could be in other games yet they still provide a fun monster-filled atmosphere. Overall, it's a rather "been there, done that" sort of experience but one that at least provides tight gameplay that packs quite a challenge. 😊 v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248

Enter the shrine maidens

So, what makes Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony unique? Well, it thankfully features some nifty mechanics that help set it apart from its inspirations. One move that I enjoyed was sliding into a back-flip which is a neat way to lure enemies then attack. More substantially, you can fly whenever you want but don't assume you can soar over stages because you will be punished by hidden kedama for cheating. The flying mechanic is fairly cool but you can't whip in mid-air and instead have to throw ofuda which uses your acquired souls.

Meanwhile, you can use more souls to summon unlocked characters which is sort of like a sub-weapon system although I found the whip to be more reliable and powerful in most situations. Plus, there are only a few characters to summon so this system doesn't add much variety to your repertoire. In the end, these elements are cool but they really don't do enough to make the gameplay wholly fresh.

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony screenshot 2
If you put your mind to it, anything is possible

A Symphony for the eyes and ears

On the plus side, I enjoyed the graphics and sound of Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony. For starters, the gothic interpretations of the familiar Touhou cast are excellent and once you finish the campaign and see everyone rendered in an anime style, it's a real shock how different they all look. At the same time, the stage graphics, character and enemy sprites, and attacks are all pixel-perfect and pop with fluid animation. However, there are some minor performance issues that I experienced while playing undocked as the framerate became choppy whenever there were too many enemies onscreen. On a more positive note, the Japanese voice cast is very expressive and brings out each character's personality while the soundtrack is well done and features interpretations of classic video game tunes. 🎵

A brief adventure

The campaign within Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony consists of 8 stages that aren't all that long and surprisingly, a good chunk of the levels include some repeated segments to pad things out which makes them become repetitive rather quickly. It's a good thing that the bosses are a lot of fun to challenge, especially once you get their patterns down after a few attempts. Upon completing the game, you unlock an Extra stage which features a handful of bosses and it's super-tough to beat. Besides 4 difficulty settings and a list of achievement-like Challenges, that's about all there is to it so don't expect to spend more than an hour or 2 to master this adventure.

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony screenshot 3
This Clock Tower stage can suck an egg

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is a solid retro throwback that provides a good old-school challenge if that's what you're looking for. It may not do anything exceptional but it's still an enjoyable 2D action game that you can whip through in one sitting.

  • + Tight 2D action that should be very familiar for old-school fans of the genre
  • + Features some nifty mechanics
  • + Solid pixel graphics and soundtrack
  • - Gameplay doesn't do anything extraordinary
  • - Stages can become repetitious at parts
  • - Fairly short with minimal replay value
7.0 out of 10
Gameplay video for Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony
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