Gensou Skydrift (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 02.03.2020

Review for Gensou Skydrift on PC

The Touhou series is a little tough to explain to those that do not already know about it. Created by one person initially named ZUN, it focused on young girls often battling various demon spirits who were also young girls. These titles were light-hearted, and not too serious. What set these games apart was a massive, massive fan following of everything from fan art, to music remixes. This is a simple racer taking inspiration from Mario Kart Double Dash, with swapping riders - and in this case the gimmick is that you literally ride the other person.

Touhou games are a unique sight to see, as they start proliferating more and more these days, considering their humble origins. Designed by a single person in the beginning of it all, the general lackadaisical enforcing of any sort of intellectual property rights has led to an explosion of just how much insane amounts of fan content there is for this series. What was once generally contained to a small corner of the internet, this has grown huge with many spin-offs series like this racer.

Gensou Skydrift takes obvious inspiration from Mario Kart, with the general flow of getting items, attacking other players, and enjoying wild courses. Players take the role of not one, but two characters from the series and… ride on each other. It is a little odd, to say the least, but ultimately not that huge of a deal, beyond a few minutes of thinking how weird it is. Racing through the tracks, players build up a type of magic bar that can be cashed in for a spell card. The bar fills up by going through rings strung through the course. With the magic bar having three levels of charge, a player can trade it in at any time, with waiting for higher charges often resulting in better spells.

The system is unique, quite enjoyable, and gives an element of strategy to the game. Offering a type of risk-vs-reward system was a nice touch on its rather simple racing formula. Different characters also have different spells, but an issue here is that they largely do not feel much different. For how cool of an idea the whole concept is (and the raw variety of spells the lore possesses), it was a knock against the game that almost always the spells just felt really weak, or you saw the same ones over and over a such as a small speed boost.

Screenshot for Gensou Skydrift on PC

The characters have different stats, which is always cool to see but there actually was very little difference between them. Though the characters could be swapped on the fly, it again did not feel like there was much of a point beyond saving a second spell card. This brings up the major issue of the whole thing: there's a general lack of content. There is nothing technically wrong with the game. It plays well, does not lag even with split screen, it looks fairly well, and overall is a competent racer. To add more praise before the criticism, it actually handles/plays better than Mario Kart 8, which feels slow and clunky as a comparison.

A lack of content is what really brings the game down. There are a total of 14 tracks, and 20 racers, most of which have to be unlocked by a quick play-through of a "campaign." There are no difficulty levels, and while the A.I. is hard to beat as a new person, it provides little challenge with even some practice. With little difference between the riders, the spell system feeling shallower than would be preferred, and a whole romp through it taking only an hour or two, its shortcomings start to become obvious.

The developer has stated they want to continue expanding, and offer more content, so this will have to be watched, as this is the biggest thing holding it game back. For fans of the series, or anyone looking for a decent, if short, racer that actually supports local multiplayer, it's worth checking it out. Content and depth-wise there are some issues, but for an indie developed title, this is remarkably well done. It is only unfortunate there is not more here to dig into.

Screenshot for Gensou Skydrift on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Technically competent, and surprisingly well done, the simple lack of depth prevents this from doing any better. It can actually be completed in a few hours at max. Having a friend or playing online can extend the fun, yet the lack of content becomes obvious fairly quickly. The developer has promised more updates, which will hopefully come through, as the game has a good base to work with.

Developer

illuCalab

Publisher

Sony Music Entertainment

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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