Scarlet Symphony is not a new game. It is a remaster of a PC-only Japanese title that first released in 2009, with new graphics and new features to entice a new group of gamers. It is coming back to PC as its first console port.
Will Koumajou Densetsu: Scarlet Symphony be released on other consoles after this? It all depends on the success of the game right now. Based on review feedback, the game may have a tough mountain to climb. Other things make it feel like a 2009 game, but in a bad way.
7 Best: The Retro Graphics
Scarlet Symphony's subtitle reflects a Metroidvania classic as well as the cover art. Reimu looks a lot like Alucard on this cover which is a fun homage. Reimu wields a whip like the Belmont clans sacred Vampire Killer.
The backgrounds aren't as detailed as Symphony of the Night, but they're decently varied, from forests to libraries.
6 Worst: The Story
The gameplay isn't that great; you'll be able to guess some meaning from the Touhou series; action platformers who joined in for the gameplay may be lost. The dialogue is also limited and it's disappointing since this is a remake.
Remasters should strive to be better than the original material, and nothing about this latest version distracts the story or sound from the original. There is a movie gallery that is a good accompaniment to any excellent remaster, but there isn't much reason to relive these moments ever again.
5 Best: A Mixed Castlevania Experience
Scarlet Symphony is a collection of two Castlevania design concepts. The series began as level based action platforms that evolved as a game developed. That is how this game works as well, taking players from stage to stage with exciting bosses waiting at the end. Symphony of the Night altered things by incorporating RPG elements like leveling up and equipment. This was how the Metroidvania genre became a genre.
Scarlet Symphony, which exists as an in-between to both ideas, is an interesting combination, to say the least. It plays like Castlevania 3: Draculas Curse, which is fantastic.
4 Worst: Brings Nothing New To The Table
Koumajou Densetsu: Scarlet Symphony being a Metroidvania can also be a betrayal. The trailers demonstrate one thing, but the game is different from what some players might expect. That's not a serious criticism of the game as some players may prefer a staged action platformer rather than a true Metroidvania.
The real problem is that there isn't much to the gameplay loop. Reimu starts and ends with two weapons, but doesn't receive upgraded equipment either. Three bosses will join her, acting as sub-weapons, but this isn't enough to make the overall mechanics stand out.
3 Best: Goes Beyond Assist Levels
The one thing about this action platformer that stands out from other action platformers is the difficulty levels and assist-like options. These are all variations that will make enemies stronger or weaker, and will also dictate how much damage Reimu can take. Players can also change the number of additional lives they get, ranging from three up to twenty.
Even with these settings set up, playing on Extra Easy with twenty lives should make the game a breeze. The only drawback is that Koumajou Densetsu: Scarlet Symphony might be too easy to handle.
2 Worst: Very Short And Expensive
Smaller indie games like this can cost between $10 and $30, depending on how much the game costs, and participants may think this is a solid experience for that amount. The game is unfortunately not for many reasons.
As there are only eight stages, players should be able to complete the game in an hour or two. There are challenges to tackle, and some bonus content will be added after beating the game, but those extras only last for a short time.
1 Best: Boss Battles
Scarlet Symphony was inspired by the Touhou series, which began as a shoot-em-up game. They can be quite dangerous as bullets will swing from every direction. Practice makes perfect, and after learning the patterns of these bosses, they will go down quickly.
They can be exhilarating encounters, which is what a boss battle should be like. They do not match the intensity of a Metal Gear boss fight, although few games do. For what this game is, the matches are decent, and the graphics arent too shabby.
Scarlet Symphony was re-released on July 28, 2022 and is now available on PC and Switch.