Maidens of the Kaleidoscope

~Bunbunmaru News~ => Front Page Headlines => Topic started by: raikaria on July 22, 2022, 06:22:16 AM

Title: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: raikaria on July 22, 2022, 06:22:16 AM
I don't see anything on the frontpage, so... here we go.

Touhou 18.5; 100th Black Market has been announced; and will be releaseing at Comiket 100 on August 14th; with Steam shortly afterwards.


Translation of ZUN's comments:

Touhou Project 18.5th
Barrett Philia's Black Market ~ 100th Black Market.


The story will be after the Rainbow Dragon Cave.


"The god of the market said.
"Ability cards will become widespread, obsolete, and the market will return to everyday life."
However, unlike God's wishes, cards are only increasing in value for some reason.
Is someone manipulating the value?
Or is it because some collectors are buying up?
When the card market was extremely confused,
A market where God cannot intervene ── A black market has been opened. "


This time, Marisa Kirisame will go out to investigate (& collect) alone. It's a surprisingly rare game in which Marisa plays the leading role.
Unlike Nijiryu-dong, it is a game where you collect new cards and challenge the stage repeatedly while capturing the stage that develops at high speed and randomly. One play is short, I play repeatedly, and I feel like I'm heading for collecting cards. It's a content that you can play regardless of the story.


There are some screenshots on the blog of gameplay:

1: Stages seem to be "Markets". 1st Market is shown. Difficulty is rated in stars. ZUN says the stages "develop randomly"

2: The game seems to be wave-based. There are fairy waves, it's not just a boss rush.

3: Eternity Larva and Mike are confirmed for the game

4: There are a lot of new cards shown, includeing a Flandre card, a Larva card, a Keiki card, a Sekibanki card, a card depicting a black knife on a red background, and a card with a rabbit with a mochi pounder. The Dowsing card now seems to be purple, and there is another card I cannot make out under the "Wave" counter.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Gesh86 on July 22, 2022, 10:07:08 AM
Neat  :cirnotan:. What amuses me most about this new release is that you could argue Reimu, Touhou's poster shrine maiden, is suddenly falling out of ZUN's favour. Not only does Touhou 17.5 make her look like a total chump who doesn't amount to anything, but now her life-long protagonism-rival gets a solo game. Poor Reimu...
Although all that would make for an opportunity to give her a bigger role in this one than you'd think. Extra Stage boss possibly?

Going to grab this on the hopefully timely Steam release!
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Sena on July 22, 2022, 03:11:01 PM
Interesting to see Marisa's eyes have gone red, I guess we can infer that consumerism and hoarding has rendered her insane.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: raikaria on July 22, 2022, 06:36:44 PM
What amuses me most about this new release is that you could argue Reimu, Touhou's poster shrine maiden, is suddenly falling out of ZUN's favour. Not only does Touhou 17.5 make her look like a total chump who doesn't amount to anything, but now her life-long protagonism-rival gets a solo game. Poor Reimu...

I mean, Reimu's still the 3rd most important playable character in 17.5. [Murasa and Flandre are the real protagonists, although you could argue since Murasa dosen't help Reimu or Flandre reach Yuuma that even Murasa is filler. Kanako and Joon are literally filler who could be removed without impacting the plot at all; and Marisa is outright non-canon]

However, this would be the 2nd game that might feature Marisa but not Reimu [After Great Fairy Wars].

Which I guess would actually officially make Marisa Touhou's primary character; since there's been 1 game with Reimu but not Marisa [HRtP] but if Reimu isn't in 18.5; you'll have 2 games with Marisa but not Reimu. [Of course, Reimu's been the protagonist more than Marisa still; seeing as she was enemy only in SoEW and GFW]

Interesting to see Marisa's eyes have gone red, I guess we can infer that consumerism and hoarding has rendered her insane.

Or more Youkai-like. I think Marisa's hair is a different shade too.

Oh; and I updated the picture in the OP with the one from ZUN's blog rather than the one I initially saw. The screen is just placed to basically censor Marisa's toes


Edit: Apparently from a source I found; the cards are not ZUNArt... they're ZUN's Wife Art
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: nintendonut888 on July 23, 2022, 08:59:43 AM
If you want to play the appearances game, Reimu did appear in Great Fairy Wars - not in the main game, but she did feature in one of the endings. And while it's debatable whether Gold Rush even counts as an official Touhou game, Reimu did feature there while Marisa did not.

But regardless, I'm happy Marisa finally has her big day. I'm quite curious how semi-random Touhou gameplay will shake out, but I'm excited to see ZUN try an entire new kind of game. Looking forward to Comiket.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: nook on July 24, 2022, 12:51:10 AM
ZUN's wife is credited as doing the card art in UM's credits.

As for Reimu, I don't think she's falling out of anyone's favor. It just makes more sense for Marisa to be interested in this kind of thing. If I had to make any prediction about the new game, it's that we'll probably get a proper Tsukasa theme out of it.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Suspicious person on July 24, 2022, 04:50:45 PM
Touhou 18's card system was too good to be wasted on only a single game, so I'm not so surprised that ZUN decided to build upon it. Although the most curious part about this game is the rapidly changing stages and short playthroughs parts.

Anyway, my observations,, going by the screenshots, are as such :

-The stages are called "Markets" and should allow you to unlock a few possible cards from a limited pool upon completion : for example, there should be 22 cards that can only be acquired in the first Market, so you wanna do shopping there over and other again until you acquire all the first Market has to offer ; furthermore, since the "stages" seems to have waves, I believe you'll face either one or a bunch of patterns per wave and get rewarded by the black market at the end

-Comparing the 3rd and the last screenshots, it seems you can only use "regular" money to buy cards in the "regular" market, while you rely on bullet money to buy cards possibly between waves

-Eterrnity Larva seems to have only one life an no other spell cards, unsure if it's because it's late in her fight or this is the only phase she got, but her Death butterfly spellcard seems to make use of her good old "trademark" pattern that she commonly uses : if Eternity isn't the only one doing this, then this game's pattern design may quite probably have the Violet Detector syndrome

-The background for the screenshot with Mike seems to be LoLK's stage 1 background, which is a bit of a shame for the HSiFS blue sky and the UM rain & rainbow enjoyers

And while we can't be so sure about the effects of the cards, we can glean a bit of info by looking at the right part of the UI :

- The reworked Patchouli cards (a white silhouette of Patchouli reading a book + the magic symbol) seems to increase your M. Atk by 50%, as one of those increase the M. Atk multiplier by 50%, since you have 150% M. Atk in the screenshot with mob fairies, while you have 200% in the screenshot with Eternity
- Apparently it's possible to have at least two of the same cards (probably for the stat enhancing ones), as we can see in the screenshot with Eternity
- The reworked Aya card should probably increase your speed by 20%, as we can see in the screenshot with Eternity (since Aya = speed most of the time)
-The new Flandre card should probably increase the M. break multiplier by 25%, as we can see in the screenshot with Eternity
-The Mike screenshot's got a new Aunn card with Two Komainus and another card with what looks like small Jizos probably, and while we can't be sure which card got which effect, we can see that one of them increase the S. Atk multiplier by 20%, and decrease the M. Reload by -33% ; however the Mike screenshot also got 3 small pink hearts in the bottom right corner of the screen while we don''t see those elsewhere (possible effect of the Jizos ?)

Anyway, a bunch of new characters popped up before this one, so I'm curious to see if ZUN is gonna implement them all, and give us some kind of Market for Hell and the Animal realm. I would also love to see Kokoro, the Yorigami's, as well as Toutetsu for this game, but I am not counting on it so much.

And I also agree with the suggestion that this game is a great opportunity for ZUN to give Tsukasa a proper theme : since this mini-incident is a continuation of sorts for Touhou 18, imo it would be appropriate that a character that had a hand with the whole card business to be involved in some way or another with what's going on. Although I'd much appreciate it if ZUN chose to introduce some sort of anti-Chimata kind of new character for this one, that'd be cool, and we'd finally get a new girl that started in a shooter spinoff game besides Hatate.

Also appreciate the fact that the Flandre's skirt in her card got the two shiny pins, the japanese tweet featuring Flandre's full design is quite possibly the most powerfull tweet of this fandom's history since all the proper falndre chara design discussions and fanarts that derived from it totally had some bearings to this particular illustration
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Roashiki on July 24, 2022, 05:56:47 PM
The frontpage really needs to be updated more often
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Ka Takane on July 25, 2022, 07:08:07 AM
Has anyone noticed Eternity Larva's eyes being red and Mike's eyes being a bit redder than usual? I thought at first that Marisa's eyes being red is probably due to her actually being Rumia disguising as Marisa, but I'm now doubting my own theory. Must be larger than that.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: williewillus on July 27, 2022, 02:25:50 AM
One thing I've noticed about the menu HUD.

ZUN usually likes to keep one side clear and put most things on the other side. That was the case in ISC, and in photo games the photos go on the left (save for overflow).

Here we have both powerups on the right and cards on the left. This probably means that he's foreseeing enough powerups or cards (or both) to clutter things up if they were to be on both sides of the screen. I wonder how many waves a typical stage will have?
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Branneg Xy on July 30, 2022, 11:04:34 PM
I noticed through the " Entitled Ability Card Rows of (on the lower-left screen)",though it is not difficult, that in the   1st (Stage) Market we can see (4th Screenshot) Eternity Larva appearing after the 4th and during the 5th Wave is cleared,(3rd Screenshot) Black Market Ability-Item Shopping afer clearing the 2nd Wave which is the 3rd-to-last Wave before reaching Eternity's5 th one ,(2nd Screenshot) 3rd and 2nd-to-last wave reaching the before mentioned.
However on the 5th Screenshot we are still seeing the same 1st (Stage) Market ,but it is both a different playthrough  since the " Entitled Ability Card Rows of (on the lower-left screen)" , a different and not-shown-previously Wave(end of the 4th one) with Mike as different and not-shown-previously Boss Character at the end of it.
The last and 6th Screenshot displays the "Card Shop" whose Text-Option we can see on the 1st Screenshot which is also the Before-Gameplay Starting Screen.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Suspicious person on August 09, 2022, 10:58:19 AM

Steam black market page is up for Touhou 18.5

My main takeaways :
-The magic circle surrounding Marisa seems like it can be fired off to deal AOE damage. I believe the damage that magic circle deals is probably based of M. Atk, and the cooldown between its uses is what's affected by the M. Reload (unless M. Reload is about the active Card's CD)
-The magic circle thingy seems to stop (or massively slow down?) the clump of bullets that are inside of it, seems to interract pretty nicely with the Miracle Mallet for scoring and money grinding reasons
-The Marisa we have in the trailer seems to have the UM sprite, which means golden eye and a proper hair braid with a white ribbon, and non rainbow buttons, quite unlike the red eyed, braid lacking, rainbow buttons having Marisa in the title screen. Something suspicious is afoot, I daresay.
-Similarly, the Eternity featured in the Steam Black Market screenshot's eyes lack that red tinge, unlike the Eternity screenshot we see in the Touhou news site where we get to glean a hint of red, hmm.

On the scoring aspect of the game, aside from the dominance of the trifecta of UM's Mallet, bullet stacking, and potentially Miracle Mallet CD reduction (if any card reduce the mallet's CD like in UM), but the highlight this time's gotta be the small zone that's create whenever Marisa sends her magic circle : in the trailer, we get to see the player generate Bullet Money (which I assume the small purple collectibles are) spawn from the field created by the magic circle. To put it in an easy to relate example : all the bullets included in the space generated by the magic circle gets LoLK grazed and generate bullet money instead of graze items, so this promise to be interesting.

Anyway, going by Mike's nonspell and Eternity's spellcard's look, it seems pretty much certain to me that this game is sure to bear the Violet Detector Syndrome, by which I mean the reuse of patterns from previous titles, the relative simplicity of the design of the patterns (especially in the earlier stages).

Stage design this time seems more about pattern design, as in ZUN could have designed a number of patterns that belongs to a pool from which a limited number of those would get picked up and thrown at you during your playthroughs. Depending on whether these patterns have harder version of themselves or, better yet, could mix and mash with other patterns, the roguelike aspect of this game may prove quite wild, and scorerunning would require a much higher learning cap. The only question is to see whether some random cards are gonna be important for scoring, cuz that's gonna bring back RNG dependance from UM, which is quite no bueno

The wave's patterns are probably gonna be what's gonna devide whether this game is gonna flop or receive a warm welcome, since no matter how complicated a wave may be, once you learn it's pattern you won't have much issue with it going forward : what I'm most interesting in is whether the waves patterns are gonna have various level of difficulties and whether they are gonna get mixed and mashed with each other, somewhere down the line : Nightmare scenes from VD were not super popular because they were often dismissed as lazily and not creative, a bit understandable since there are only a few combinations of small kinds of patterns, but this game may manage to avoid that problem if it  gives a lot, and I mean A LOT, of types of patterns that could randomly mix and mash with other ones : a randomly mixed and mashed pattern honestly seems to me like it could be a good fit for the roguelike approach the Man seems to be going for this time.

Also a few additionnal gameplay takeaways :
-The Aunn card most certainly reduces the M. Reload by 33%
-The Sutra Scroll card seems to increase the M. Size (which I presume is the size of the zone created by Marisa's magic circle)  by 33% (it can stack), so it's functionnally different from how it was in UM but may still prove to be very useful scoring wise
-Waves functions like some sort of mini-stage sections ; and you seem to have about 30 second per wave and a little over 1 minute for bosses, so no UM grindfest this time
-Mike didn't have any stars under her name, but her, uhhh, life circle seems to have the blue marker for spellcards

All in all, this game's got potential, but should lean heavily towardds Violet Detector, design philosophy wise. Scoring system seems to be straighforward enough for a bozo like me to deduct from the trailer, while random patterns are justied by the approach towards a more roguelike genre. Unless ZUN decides to make the magic circle system to be as clunky as VD's teleport, this game should turn alright.

Just please don't make us double tap shift, I get that the C button is probably already reserved for the active, but use D or even B or something else please just not double tap shift
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: williewillus on August 10, 2022, 01:43:59 AM
-The magic circle surrounding Marisa seems like it can be fired off to deal AOE damage. I believe the damage that magic circle deals is probably based of M. Atk, and the cooldown between its uses is what's affected by the M. Reload (unless M. Reload is about the active Card's CD)

Given that all the other "M" things are about the magic circle, I doubt M. Reload is about the mallet. Also it seems like the starting item can be changed, so wonder what else would go there besides the mallet.

Also, I'm curious what the real money (not bullet money) will be used for.

The title music is really nice. It's like a mix of UM and Independent Simulacrum with just a smidge of SHoSS Toutetsu.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Suspicious person on August 10, 2022, 09:19:20 AM
Also, I'm curious what the real money (not bullet money) will be used for.
There's a Card Shop on the market selection screen, and you even get to see the number of your gold items there (1st screenshot from the official 2hu news site), so that's probably where you use your normal money. It seems like you'll have a selection of 5 cards to buy (going by the last screenshot from the official 2hu news site), could be more, could be less as we go on.

Basically, here's how it'll go :
-Bullet money is created by using Marisa's magic attack thingy on enemy bullets
-You use the bullet money you have to buy cards at the black market
-Money (gold items) randomly drop from killed enemies and can also be generated by other means such as the miracle mallet
-You use the real money to buy cards at the item shop

Speaking of cards, the Eternity item card featured in the screenshot seems to have 0/1 written on it. Maybe there's some extra condition to fulfill in order to properly unlock cards or something.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Gilde on August 11, 2022, 05:08:37 AM
(    ・O・)つ I come bearing translated tidbits as usual

-The "0/1", "0/2", "0/3" indicators show how many copies of a given card you can have equipped at once. The equipment cards shown so far are all non-stackable, meaning you can't outfit yourself with tons of the same option. (tragic)

-Larva's card: sprays butterfly scales in every direction around the player, at very short range.
-Nitori and Reimu's cards: same as in UM.

-Nazrin's card: immediately gives you between 50 to 100 bullet money for 0 cost, in exchange for not being able to buy any other cards from the current shop menu (so that you can't grab the free money and then grab free cards with it, lol).

-Futo's card ("plates + yin-yang" art): extends the duration of your magic circle attack by 33%. Stackable up to 3x for 200% duration at max.
-Aya's card: increases your movement speed by, quote, "1 level" (= 20%, as Suspicious person psoted above). Stackable up to 5x for 200% speed at max.
-Flandre's card: makes your magic circle delete some bullets rather than just slowing them down. Stackable; can't see the cap in the video, but 1 card grants 25% to your M.Break stat, as pointed out above.

-There's also a couple frames in the trailer showing that you can still buy individual 1up cards, which explains those hearts in the lower corner.

-Larva's eyes turning red is just part of her attack animation; it's been there since HSiFS. Marisa, though... ZUN said on the latest Nikenme Radio that the title screen art does have plot relevance... hmmmMMmmmMMMmm
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: N-Forza on August 14, 2022, 11:07:32 PM
Game was released at Comiket and on Steam yesterday.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: nintendonut888 on August 15, 2022, 12:04:04 AM
Reached the ending after 5-ish hours. I was a little curious how ZUN would do this concept, but I dare say I like the game a lot.

Regarding the overall game system, I think ZUN really nailed his idea to base the ability card system around a series of randomly-selected waves. It encourages me to engage with the system in a way I never really did in UM, and it's very enjoyable to play around with the silly new cards. I had a blast until the end.

So far as difficulty goes, the game was a fairly smooth ride for me, speaking as a lunatic player, but the game is definitely going to be a challenge for a lot of players to reach the end - though you only need to beat each market once to advance. It's a pretty smooth increase from easy difficulty to mid-range lunatic by the end, though I think ZUN avoided making any particular pattern too hard in the interest of making sure most players can finish the game. But that's just right for a light-hearted adventure like this.

And a quick aside on the plot: I was mostly able to understand the Japanese this time around, and that was certainly the most Marisa way the plot could have ended.

Overall, another great entry to the series. I'm looking forward to getting all the remaining cards.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: raikaria on August 15, 2022, 07:49:46 AM
Well; this game is a lot kinder to Marisa than 17.5 was; where she was literally there because she's Marisa so has to be in the game but her route is 100% filler content and 100% non-canon.

The first narration line of the tutorial makes Marisa canon in Touhou 18. It says "The Market God was defeated by the Magician". This is becoming a bit of a trend in .5 games; after 17.5 made Reimu-Eagle canon in WBaWC [Yuuma specifically says Reimu was the one her spirits helped to defeat Keiki] and EoSD [Flan remembers fighting Reimu; but if you choose a route where she fights Marisa she dosen't have any special reaction to her or vice versa]

This game also marks the first time in official canon where Marisa has defeated Reimu... unless we assume all Stage 4's except Nitori don't actually happen. I mean I guess it's possible Marisa didn't fight Reimu but I think we can give her the W here.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: nintendonut888 on August 15, 2022, 08:17:10 AM
re: Marisa canon

The impression I've long had is that with a few exceptions the basic encounters and endings in most games "happened" in some way, shape or form, though not necessarily the way we see them in the games. Most notably, every route in HSiFS has been referenced in a future work, so in that case at least they all definitely happened in some fashion. Additionally, Grimoire of Marisa implies Marisa saw many of the cards featured during specific incidents.

Still, Marisa is more inclined than most to be screwed over, because I think her route in SWR is also non-canon (Her encounter in Yukari's scenario implies she has yet to go to heaven despite the story taking place after where Marisa's would have taken place). She's been long overdue for a big game to herself, and I'm happy she finally got it.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: raikaria on August 15, 2022, 05:15:53 PM
Oh; it's my general idea that unless something else in canon explicitly makes it impossible for something to have happened, it happened.

For example; in PCB I'm of the opinion that all three protagonists were involved, and the Yukari fight was 3v1. [Or 3v3, seeing as Yukari does have a spellcard involving Ran and Chen].

However, in some other games; like IN, it's fairly obvious that some routes can't be canon, especially since at that time, it was canon that Marisa had never defeated Reimu; making Magic Canon impossible [And while Sakuya can stop time, her ability to do something on the level of the spell of Imperishable Night is questionable at best so Scarlet also probobly isn't canon; while Nether could just have Yuyuko ask Yukari like she did in PCB]

And then there's UFO where one of the Sanae endings leads pretty cleanly into future Myouren canon.

But in the recent side games; we've been getting explicit "This is canon" references. Which is an interesting change. The statements in 17.5 and 18.5 are pretty clear cut "Hey; this route is canon" down to the *shottype* in WBaWC.

17.5's chain of events also makes it abundantly clear that Marisa's route is filler and non-canon and Marisa is there because every game must have Marisa. [Marisa and Reimu fight and the winner goes underground. Other routes like Kanako have Reimu's fights happen. Meanwhile; Murasa encounters Marisa sulking off home after starting the flooding; something which dosen't actually happen until after Reimu Stage 5 where she's fought Utusho chronologically.]
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: nintendonut888 on August 15, 2022, 07:03:23 PM
You say it's canon that Marisa had never beaten Reimu, but if anything the fact that Marisa has master spark would lead one to assume she won the fight in Lotus Land Story (though Yuka acknowledges having seen both of them before in PoFV). In general I think that it's impossible to definitively make an account of any game's events outside of the Tasofro ones (and even then IaMP's routes are all mutually exclusive). Reimu "helped" the eagle spirit, sure, but she helped all of them by fulfilling their collective goal - you can't really use Yuuma's statement to say Reimu Eagle was the canon route, or even that Reimu was the only one who got involved in the incident. And so far as Sakuya's route in IN, her article in BAiJR had her shiftily denying she was involved, and arguably the scarlet team's ending was the catalyst for Remilia's desire to go to the moon.

Anyway, what I mean to say is that outside of very specific examples, you should tend towards skepticism on being able to pin any one thing as absolute. The timeline of events is intentionally vague so no one route is more canon than the other, so we should avoid drawing conclusions where they aren't irrefutable (like, sadly, Marisa's route not being canon in 17.5).
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Suspicious person on August 16, 2022, 06:48:43 PM
Alright ~, game had potential, and it lived to it for the most part ; here's my critique of how it turned out, while keeping in mind previous titles such as UM and VD :

When it comes to this game's "Wave"'s pattern design, generally, with the exception of VD at large, spinoff titles usually have ridiculously hard attacks that possess both fast bullet speed and a particularly pronounced RNG reliance for the patterns : while randomness takes a large place in this game, patterns are actually VERY reasonable and quite consistent : understanding patterns is rewarded since the various patterns you see won't radically transform even in their harder variations ; and for the mixed bullet patterns, while there doesn't seem to be a conscentious change in pattern A and pattern B's behavior when they interract (unlike how some nightmare week in VD patterns were handled for the sake of balance), you pretty much will never get a true RNG wall.

The new Magic gimmick this time also works quite well with this game's intended design : while later market attacks can be super difficult, the bullet slowing effect gives you control over the bullets : it's like you have a button that enables a Youmu slowdown effect in a limited area at your convenance. This adds a bizarre but welcome bullet management aspect to the game, where you can pretty much never be truly treatened so long as you properly use your magic, notably in some bosses puzzle patterns with actual walls (Komachi, Sanae, Clownpiece) which are clearly balanced around the use of Magic ; while you can still cuck yourself over brainless use of Magic, as it can create walls where doesn't need to be (for example against Mamizou, Suika, and some intense Wave patterns combos).

The simple use of the X button is very reasonable for a game where reliance on its main gimmick is to be expected. The magic gimmick is extremely important in this game since it's what'll mainly earn you the Bullet Money that you buy the cards with, and once proper understanding of its proper use will MASSIVELY reward. However, the value you can get from proper magic use is only proportionnal to the amount of bullets that'll come your way per wave : with magic, the difficult patterns becomes not only manageable, but will also reward you with some fat loot, but easier patterns with scarce amount of bullets just don't give you much opportunity to farm much money. Easier patterns are generally reasonnable for tutorial and earlier stages, but in this game, I feel like these easier patterns don't show you how the farming game gets properly played. The game may be about the cards like in UM, but in actuality, the Magic system is the most important feature this time.

Still regarding the magic system, while proper use of it translates into massive Bullet Money gains, the lack of a proper score-like score is like both a good and bad thing. It's bad cuz a lack of score means that scoreruns becomes inexistant and that drastically reduces the replayability of the game outside of the farming for card aspect ; and it's good in the sense where we don't get a repeat of UM scoring where you cross your finger and hope for Mokou's card to suicide more, even moreso since this time there are quite a few cards that directly affects the quality of Magic.

And speaking of cards, while I like the fact that we can buy a maximum of 3 so long as we can afford any, I personally am not a fan of the fact that the black market cards have to be bought before being included in the pool of randomly available selection of cards. To illustrate : the game has a MASSIVE amount of new cards, but the general pool of cards that are randomly available at all time are pretty much the only thing you'll get to play with most of the time : simply unlocking a new card normally requires completing a market THEN hoping a new card show up. The problem is that most of the cards are NOWHERE AS GOOD AS THE GENERAL POOL CARDS IN THE LONG RUN, as the general pool cards, specifically the passive ones, are STACKABLE : more cards overall is interesting, but it is actually not so rewarding when the default cards that are available at all time allows you to pretty much reach god mode when they reach their full potential / are fully stacked.

Furthermore, the replaying-in-order-to-unlock-more-cards aspect can make this game super repetitive, especially for the earlier stages : the first market has like 22 card to be unlocked : that means playing the first market 22 times. Which means 30 seconds X 3 waves + however long it takes to beat the boss 22 times. Now project that unto later stages.  This game has a lot of patterns, but not enough to give you something novel every single time. This game has a learning aspect, but for the earlier markets, where you don't deal with mixed patterns, the skill cap required to approach attacks is much lower, and the learning needed to understanding patterns is super low. And while it will always be nice to try the new cards you unlock,  I feel like not really knowing how it actually works is kinda ehhh. Imo it would have been better if all the cards that could be unlocked in the first market were straight up available in a first market exclusive random card pool, and so for the 2nd, the 3rd and the other market AND the Challenge mMarket ; and I think it would also be slightly more convenient if upon the first clearing a market, you unlock a whole bunch of new cards, just like how you unlock a bunch of cards once you clear the tutorial.

To illustrate, let's take the Challenge market for example : the cards that'll pop up in its black market are the general pool cards plus whichever cards you've unlocked after stages : I can totally picture a player who went straight to the end of the game get to pick nothing but the same old cards everytime. Things honestly could have been more interesting if cards that you haven't unlocked could be picked up in the black market imo.

Replaying is fine and all, but replaying the earlier markets can get too repetitive and relatively dull, since there's not a lot of bullet anyway. The way cards get unlocked make it so that it takes time before you'll be able to go for a proper build of such or such kind, as you won't randomly find for example an equipment card to go with your weapon equipment DPS build until you've randomly picked it up in the exact market where it happens to be available.

Anyway, speaking of the cards in general, just like in UM, I feel like there is no truly bad card. Some cards were obviously rebalanced in light of how they fared in UM and also in order to fit beter with this new game, although I feel like some balance changes are not really sensible. Take for example the famous Vampire fang from UM : in UM it was super cheap, had a super low cooldown, and dealt Morbid amound of damage. Clearly ZUN took note of how absurdly good it was and made it costlier with a higher cooldown in this game. The problem, however, is that damage is NOT very valuable in this game. In the context of mainline Touhou games, damage is good since it kills fairies and bosses quick, which means less bullets to threaten you. In this game, however, mobs have TONS of health, and are pretty much guaranteed to shoot bullets at you. Likewise for bosses, who cannot be expected to go down super quick. Something like that could be said about the Subterranean Sun card, which lost most of its duration in exchange for more burst damage, or even the Centipede passive card. Damage dealing actives do not provide much utility in this gameaside from dealing some damage since there will ALWAYS be bullets, and their rebalanced cost and cooldown honestly do not seem pertinent to me in this game, even moreso due to the fact that they take A LOT of space in your loadout.

I say damage is a bit weak in this game, but a dedicated damage build more than solve that issue, even more so with the new damaging equipment cards plus the fact that you DON'T LOSE POWER when you die. That is a nice idea we could have made use of one year and a few months ago. Later stages are difficult, but just like in UM, cards are generally good enough that they practically lower the difficulty.

And still on the topic of cards, another potential issue is the fact the magic system is so good and so rewarding that you really don't have a reason NOT to pick cards that improve it further : it's a bit reminiscent of UM's scoring system, where the Mallet was too centralizing to an unhealthy degree, leading to go Sakuya-Mallet-Scroll-Barley Rice + suicide for bombs and hoping to randomly chance upon Mokou card : the lack of a proper score system means that you don't have to build exclusively around the magic system this time, but even so it's RIDICULOUSLY GOOD : it slows the bullets (or stop em entirely if you equipped Urumi's card), can be SPAMMED when you've fully stacked your Aunn cards, has MASSIVE REACH when you've fully stacked your Byakuren cards, WORKS AS A DEFACTO BOMB when you've got your Flandre cards rolling, can even be used for damage with the Patchouli cards, and more importantly bacomes EVEN BETTER AT FARMING BULLET MONEY if you max any of the stats pertaining to your magic and therefore allows you to get other cards. These cards are so common that you're probably gonna run into them too. Imo, other cards would be interesting too if they could be stacked the way these available-since-the-beginning-general-pool-cards are. Reaching godmode always count as part of the fun in these build strengthtening games, allowing the truly broken strats only for the magic system not only encourages one particular playstyle, but also feel like it takes away from the other cards, which is a bit of a shame. Only a conscious desicion to NOT use the X button is what'll provide you with an alternative experience, and doing just that misses you so much bullet money to buy funny cards with.

Anyway, while there are some aspects of the game that looks bad when I put them this way, these will probably only appear if you're playing the game with a min-maxing and efficiency mindset. This game seems to encourage something that could-have-been a scoring machanism. With a casual approach, I'm not so sure if non-score thinking regular players would instantly figure the best way to abuse this game.

And finally, on the bosses pattern designs, as expected, it's like in VD where the attacks are similar to something you've previously seen. This is not really a big deal IMO even less so since not only there is a respectable number of new attacks or at the very least slight changes in the attacks ; but you also get to tackle them with new ways thanks to the magic you can use and the cards you have at hand : it's like UM gameplay gets extended to other games, or something around these lines.

And last but not least, par for the course for any Touhou game discussion, the music. I typed enough crap already, so I'll say straight up that I enjoyed it. Not my favorite in terms of OST, but a lovely addition nonetheless. The wave boss themes are pretty short, which surprised me, and they don't arguably sound menacingly boss like imo. Personally I think it would have OK if ZUN used Lunatic Dreamer for places other than the tutorial (underrated song imo). My favorites themes for this game would be the later market stages themes (100th black market something something), the previous wave theme about balck market happening anywhere anytime, and the later market boss theme. Also nice screen title theme, but honestly it's pretty hard to top VD's title screen.

So yeah, all in all, pretty nice game, although it's pretty short and I don't think it's got much replayability outside of how it was designed (as in, replaying to unlock cards), especially if you're coming at it with a completionist mindset, since all the achievements are acquired once you unlock every card.

A few minor takeaways :
-New modern portrait for Nitori
-The big bad cat turns out to be Takane, lol. It makes sense plot wise, but I like the goth Chimata theories better, that would have been funny
-Tsukasa gets a spellcard background
-I like this new character called Crown Peace, but chara design looks like it could have been copy pasted from someone else's
-More of Ki-san's artwork, I like how she make the fairies look like dolls
-English in game text to save us without moon runephile deciphering  eyes

I also appreciate how ZUN released the game on steam just after allowing people to buy more than 1 physical copies (as in, baiting scalpers). Mans make a game about black market but chooses to troll the true black hearted marketeers's black market, what a chad
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: williewillus on September 04, 2022, 01:46:42 AM
Adding my thoughts a bit later on.

I had quite a bit of fun playing this game live on stream for basically seven hours. The magic circle system is really quite fun (though you can buff it to pretty broken states which is a bit meh). The only part of the game I didn't enjoy was grinding for the last 20 or so cards I didn't have after finishing the main scenario, which was basically just resetting with Junko card over and over.

The pool of cards is big but there are very obvious good cards and the rest are kind of ignorable, which is a shame balance-wise.

Reused patterns in most of the boss battles were a bit disappointing.

The music is really good, particularly the middle stage theme.
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: Tenshisad Real on September 04, 2022, 09:26:40 PM
I both love and dislike 18.5, it's a fun game but I feel like the idea of mixing the mechanics of StB (Via the magic circle system) and the UN system is a bit too much. I find myself avoiding the active ability cards due to being unable to focus on dodging bullets and also swapping through my ability cards if I have several. Along with this the market 3 to 4 difficulty spike is insane to me, I'm not much of a Touhou player. (I only touch the mainline games on occasion

(I've been playing 18.5 really hard though)

But the difficulty spike of eh, not so bad to HOLY fire truck BULLETS EVERYWHERE AAAAAAAA has really thrown me off, I'm still enjoying the game so far though messing around with card combos is really fun.

(Fairies of Light cards sweep)

Gonna keep playing and I'll probably post here again once I complete 18.5 in like 20 years
Title: Re: Touhou 18.5 - 100th Black Market has been announced!
Post by: ReUKing on September 05, 2022, 12:25:34 AM
Well, new to the forums, but not to 2hu.

Just a Normal/Extra clear player with some noticable stuff like No Bomb Hard LoLK PBD mode. So use that as a base of how good I am.

The game spikes in difficulty, but it is to encourage you to abuse stacking certain cards together. Magic Circle/Bomb spam is my personal formula for success.

The End Game is money grinding which is done with Shinmy's Hammer plus Junko against the extra Bosses.

Overall a fun experience.