Touhou Double Focus

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Touhou Double Focus Game Poster Image
Short, difficult fantasy teamwork tale slowly grows on you.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Huge focus on teamwork, because player must use both characters in tandem to make any progress.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Aya, Momiji aren't necessarily friends, but events have forced duo to work as a team. Ultimately, they prove they're more powerful together than they ever could be alone.

Ease of Play

High difficulty level, but once you toss in unique character-swapping gimmick, lack of direction, it can be a frustrating, insanely difficult experience.

Violence

Players use fantasy weapons, magic spells to fight off variety of supernatural creatures. Defeated enemies generally either fall off screen, disappear. While there some characters shown to have some bloody details (weapons, outfits), cartoonish style reduces impact of those images.

Sex
Language

"Ass" occasionally appears in dialogue.

Consumerism

Touhou Project series is relatively popular in Japan, with variety of spin-off games. The series doesn't quite have same following outside of Japan, though.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Touhou Double Focus is a downloadable platform adventure game. The player controls two characters simultaneously, swapping between the two so they work together to defeat supernatural creatures and progress through the world. The game has a high difficulty curve, and controlling both characters can get fairly complicated. Although violence is constant, the game's cartoonish style reduces the impact, and defeated enemies either fly off the screen or disappear. There's no gore, and blood only appears on a few enemies as a part of their design. There's no sexual content; the dialogue has light profanity.

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What's it about?

TOUHOU DOUBLE FOCUS is a platform adventure spin-off set in the universe of the Touhou Project game series. When a strange, magical book is opened, it releases a powerful flash of energy and opens a mysterious portal. Investigating the incident, Aya Shameimaru and her sidekick Momiji Inubashiri, both tengu with supernatural powers, end up getting unceremoniously sucked into the portal and trapped within the book. Now, the duo must work together to explore this story brought to life. They will meet with fictional characters and face off against powerful foes, seeking out the secret of the book's power and, with a lot of teamwork and a little luck, hopefully find their way home.

Is it any good?

This platformer may have a steep challenge, but once you get used to the controls, it'll slowly grow on you. Teamwork might be a wonderful thing, but no one ever said it's always easy. Sometimes, working with others can be a royal pain. At least, that's the case with Touhou Double Focus. While this isn't the first game to give players control of multiple characters simultaneously, it's not exactly one of the most comfortable either. There's actually a pretty steep learning curve to get the timing down for the best times to swap controls to make use of Aya and Momiji's unique abilities. Since each of them can only do a handful of attacks at a time, the switching needs to be fairly constant to be effective. It doesn't help that, even without this hook, the game would be a difficult experience on anything but the easiest setting. Basically, you can expect to die -- a lot. It's a frustrating experience, but it gets a lot more tolerable with practice and determination.

Once you start to get into the swing of things, Touhou Double Focus starts to have the makings of a decent platform adventure game. The back and forth exploration aspect makes the game feel a lot larger than it actually is, and the action can get intense. Of course, it would be nice if you were given a better sense of directions. Without any real cues to nudge players in the right direction, it's easy to find yourself chasing after the wrong abilities at the wrong time, stumbling into dead ends and being forced to fight back through the way you came. The game's a bit on the short side, with most players likely to be able to beat it in a few hours' time. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, as it's just long enough not to wear out its welcome. Touhou Double Focus is far from perfect, but if you're willing to put up with a little headache at the start, you'll end up with a cute little time sink that's just different enough to stand out.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teamwork. How does working with others make it easier to accomplish goals than working alone? What are some ways to foster good teamwork, even with people you may not always agree with?

  • Talk about books and fictional characters. If it were possible to visit the actual worlds in books, what are some of the characters and places kids would want to visit? 

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