TOUHOU GENSO RONDO: BULLET BALLET
Ballet: An artistic dance form performed to music, using precise and
highly formalised set steps and gestures.
Rondo: Bullet Ballet kinda fills those shoes, but the word
“bullet” in there might give you a hint as to what’s in store. This
ain’t no Black Swan.
Instead it’s a deft collision
of bullet hell shooters (aka “danmaku”, which is basically the
Japanese way of saying “barrage”), one-on-one fighting games and
gorgeous manganese graphics. Uh, not the chemical element – think
Japanese anime. OK, so we sucked at words just then.
proliferation of shit “reality” TV shows and endless Hollywood
visitations upon things we’ve all seen before, you could be forgiven
for believing that creativity is hobbling about, readying its final
disillusioned breath. TGR:BB gives us hope. Born from a
one-person fan-made shooter series, the combination of shmup and
fighter rates high on the good idea scale. Not least of all with the
fabulously vacuous-yet-compelling dialogue. We’re not sure if it’s
just due to a lost in translation scenario, but boy did it make us
You choose one of up to 12 girlie fighters (hello
DLC!) and let loose various varieties of, well, bullet hell upon
your opponents. Occasionally you might move in closer for a brief
spot of slappity-slappity biffo, or cast a spell and go in for the
2D shmup boss mode-styled kill.
The tutorial is a bag of
shite, so you can feel lost at first once you hit either the story
or arcade mode. A great way to learn the ropes is local two-player,
whereas online is like a cheap Tinder knockoff when it comes to
TGR:BB is far from perfect, but the
glorious cheekiness of banging these genres together delivers oodles
of fun. It may be ephemeral, but damn you’ll have some fun while
you’re en pointe with it.