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Touhou Luna Nights is a Metroidvania-type game by Team Ladybug and WhySoSerious,inc., based on the Touhou Project series. After spending a time in Early Access, the full game was released on February 25, 2019, with an additional content update hitting on June 14. Ports for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch were released in late 2020. An additional update, featuring Cirno as a Bonus Boss, was released alongside these ports and then later added to Steam in January 2021.

The game focuses on Sakuya Izayoi, challenged by her master Remilia to explore a replica Scarlet Devil Mansion, and utilizes time manipulation for both puzzles and combat.


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Tropes:

  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Although it's established from the beginning that all of the characters are in a fake world, one of these is an early hint that not everything in the replica mansion is as it seems. When Akyuu (who was previously established was also a replica created as part of the world) calls you before Patchouli's boss fight, she continues talking about how Sakuya should be able to handle the fight by slowing down time, even after Sakuya corrects her due to having regained the ability to stop time. Then, she starts talking a little strangely...
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Whenever the player retries a boss fight after dying to it once during the current play session, all subsequent attempts will skip the pre-fight banter and cut to the chase.
    • An in-universe example is the (in-universe) "game's" implementation of Bottomless Magazines: Sakuya actually has a limited (if large) number of knives, and normally relies on her flight and temporal powers to collect them for reuse, using magic to tag them when thrown so she can reflexively recover them in an (even subjective) instant. (This is why manually recollecting a knife recovers some of the magic cost of throwing it). When Remilia first mentions she didn't entirely cut off Sakuya's power, this is part of what she was leaving alone: the game wouldn't be fun for her to watch either if almost all of it consisted of Sakuya constantly having to get to and extract her knives from random ceilings and corners.
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  • Anti-Grinding: While the game has a level-up system and gems give passive bonuses, the bonuses from it are quite minuscule. Ultimately you're much better off learning the patterns of enemies and bosses rather than trying to brute force grind your way through the game.
  • Boss Rush: Becomes available through Nitori's shop after completing the extra stage.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the Early Access versions, the game abruptly ends after the latest boss, with Sakuya and Remilla Scarlet talking about how the game still needs to be updated. In the full game on versions from before the extra stage's release, they discuss the extra stage that is in development, instead.
    • In the full release, if you die after beating Remilia and forgot to save, the next time you challenge her she'll chastise you for it and remind you that the game doesn't have auto-save.
    • Bosses will remark on your level if you maxed it out, with Patchouli suggesting to dropping it down to one for a challenge.
  • Bullet Time: Even without her stopwatch, Sakuya can still slow down time, which is especially useful for dodging objects that can move in the stopped time, especially as grazing is more beneficial outside of it.
  • Chainsaw Good: Unusually, the Chainsaw is used as a projectile in this game. It is thrown up in the air with an arch, making it a rough equivalent to Castlevania's Axe.
  • Classic Video Game "Screw You"s: If you die without saving after beating Remilia, she'll remind you of that fact before forcing you to fight her again anyway.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Much like everything else that can damage you, falling chandeliers don't turn to greyscale when time is stopped. This is one of a few ways in which you can tell them apart from the safe ones.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Possible to inflict this on yourself if you stop time in the wrong place. While there is Mercy Invincibility, it often doesn't last long enough for you to get through whatever obstacle knocked you down in the first place. If you're boxed in, your only option is to let time flow again until an escape route opens up.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: All bosses explode on defeat even if they have no reason tonote , although the actual character you're fighting is relatively unharmed afterwards.
  • Developers' Foresight: In the final boss fight against Flandre, she will reveal that she's really strong thanks to all the gems you've sold to Nitori's shop. If however you play through the entire game without doing this, she will instead complain about it before starting the fight as normal.
    • If you manage to max out your level, various bosses will remark on this. More often than not the remarks have a tone of This Is Gonna Suck.
  • Double Jump: One of the power-ups Sakuya gains while exploring the replica Mansion, which takes the form of throwing knives downward to propel herself up. A later power-up allows her to stand on her own knives during a time stop, including the ones from the double-jump.
  • Dramatic Unmask: After you defeat the boss in the throne room, she takes off her wig to reveal that she's actually Flandre, having infiltrated the replica Mansion to reclaim the gems that Remilia took from her to build the fake world.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Cats, Foxes, Tanuki, Fairies, Dragons, Coy fish, Dragons, Fujin/Raijin replicas attack Sakuya throughout the game. Then again, it wouldn't be very interesting entertainment for Remilia.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: There are several spread throughout the mansion interspersed with ones that don't fall. Thankfully, you can tell which is which because the falling ones keep their color in stopped time, and have particularly beat-up looking chains.
  • Flechette Storm: It wouldn't be a Touhou game starring Sakuya without this trope. Aside from the standard attack, which throws three knives at once and can be spammed, there's also the Auto Aim and Thousand Dagger abilities. All of these attacks can also be used while time is stopped in order to create solid walls of knives.
  • Foreshadowing: It's too understated to really be a Chekhov's Gag, but one of the first things the player will notice entering the game world is that it's raining. Remilia will comment that it's raining (and that it wasn't necessary), and the topic will come up later when (while this is in-character for her) Patchouli bows out of her boss fight as soon as she's weakening. Water is used throughout the game as an obstacle for Sakuya. Furthermore, there's a powerful holy weapon introduced into this version of the mansion (although this is by itself actually in-character for Remilia). All of this together is foreshadowing that Remilia, a vampire, made this space as a playground for her dangerous and not always sane little sister, that Patchouli lost track of said vampire and surrounded the fake mansion with running water as a precaution against her getting loose and out of bounds while preserving enough strength to call sunlight if necessary for self-defense, and that by the time of Sakuya's battle with Flandre all the mansion's other residents have figured out what was going on.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Almost always present in the room immediately preceding a boss fight.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Nitori serves this role, using a mech to break into the replica Mansion in order to buy Sakuya's magical gems and sell her power-ups in exchange. She can also be summoned to any room in the game with an item. By the end of the game it's revealed that Nitori is actually Flandre in disguise who's been trying to get her gems back and, to that end, has been lending Sakuya a hand in order to undermine Remilia's game.
  • It Amused Me: Remilia created the virtual world as a means for her own personal entertainment. Or atleast she claimed to...
  • Laser Blade: The very likely last ability/secondary weapon to be unlocked is, to all appearances, a lightsaber that flies around and automatically attacks all enemies and breakable walls on screen.
  • Logical Weakness:
    • Sakuya can attack during the frozen time, but as she doesn't have an unlimited supply of knives, there's an upper limit to how much damage she can do during it. Therefore, extra knives serve as a power-up item.
    • Similarly, she can't move through things that are solid during a time stop. Trying to use time stop in water will just freeze her along with everything else, and any form of vertically-running water becomes a barrier.
  • Maid Corps: Remilia's fairy maids appear as standard enemies, wielding anything from feather dusters and bubble blowers to cannons and heavy machine guns.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Grazing enemies gives you a very brief period of time where you can take no damage from attacks. Using this, it's possible to beat bosses without using the time slow or stop abilities; albeit with extreme difficulty. The Thousand Daggers skill gives a much more generous invincibility period, at the expense of locking you in place until the move is done.
    • There's also the more standard form of post-hit invincibility. Interestingly, since it lasts just as long regardless of whether time is stopped or not, it creates an interesting trade-off with Sakuya's time stop abilities in which it's sometimes better to tank a boss's attack in normal time whereas you'd take multiple hits in stopped time.
  • Metroidvania: At least as much as Koumajou Densetsu. On the Steam page, however, they use the term "Search Action Game".
  • Mini-Game Credits: The credits for the postgame dungeon is this, where Sakuya can shoot the letters in the credits with Nitori's mech as she escapes the virtual world before its demise.
  • Mini-Mecha: Nitori rides around in a somewhat Kappa themed one whose main body is barely larger than the cockpit.
  • Money Spider: All enemies inexplicably drop gems upon defeat, even ghosts and screaming mandrakes. Justified at the end of the game, where it is shown that everything that is part of the fake mansion was actually made of gems.
  • Multiple Endings: One for finishing the main game, and one for finishing the postgame Extra Stage. There's also technically endings for each of the Early Access versions.
    • Early Access: The game abruptly ends with Meiling's (first update) or Patchouli's (second update) boss fight, with Sakuya and Remilia Breaking the Fourth Wall at how the game is incomplete.
    • Normal Ending: Flandre hijacked the virtual world in rage and Remilia leaving her alone and stealing her gems for her scheme. After her defeat, the sisters reconcile, and everyone goes home.
    • Extra Stage Ending: An alternate ending from the original: Sakuya finds a replica Hakurei Shrine in the simulation - along with a not-so-simulated and very angry Reimu, as the replica shrine is causing issues with the real Shrine and damaging the real Gensokyo. After her defeat, Flandre reveals her ruse, and Remilia reveals that the virtual world was made for Flandre so she could practice controlling her power without hurting anyone. Unfortunately, due to the shrine issue, Status Quo Is God and the virtual world has to go - for now. All of Nitori's tools for creating it are still in place; she simply hadn't considered the shrine problem in advance. Remilia and Flandre are discussing the next version of the Luna Nights plan at the close, with the intent to "invite" Sakuya again to test it out when it's ready.
  • New Game+: One of the two modes that becomes available for new save files after clearing the Boss Rush.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The other option for new save files after clearing the Boss Rush.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Remilia's shortsightedness leads to the endgame conflict. She had wanted the virtual world to be a surprise for Flandre, giving her a world where she could learn about Gensokyo and learn to control her powers with no casualties. The cost for this however came from stealing Flandre's gem collection for the power source and roping the entire Mansion staff into a test run, leaving Flandre both lonely and rightfully pissed, leading to her taking measures to undermine and destroy the virtual world instead.
  • Practical Currency: Gems can be gathered from defeated enemies and destructible objects, and while they give Sakuya passive boosts to her stats, Nitori will also trade power-ups for them.
  • Projectile Platforms: One of the power-ups Sakuya gains allows her to stand on her own knives during a time stop.
    • Also, certain fairies in the replica Mansion are equipped with cannons, and Sakuya can stand on a fired cannonball if she slows down time with her powers.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: In the postgame dungeon, Reimu reveals that the virtual Hakurei Shrine in Luna Nights is causing issues with the real Hakurei Shrine in Gensokyo, causing major problems with the Great Hakurei Barrier that allows Gensokyo to exist.
  • Schizo Tech: The virtual Scarlet Devil Mansion features several significantly higher tech elements than is normal, which are justified by Nitori's personal involvement in it's creation. In particular, checkpoints consist of a phonebooth and nearby vending machine that dispenses healing drinks. Sakuya's unfamiliarity with the tech in question is actually used to justify the tutorial explaining these elements.
  • Sequence Breaking: It wouldn't be a Metroidvania if it didn't have some.
    • There's a health boost in the first area that normally requires the double jump to obtain. With a bit of practice, it's possible to get it before acquiring the slide knife by utilizing the extra air-time you get by throwing knives downward while in mid-air.
    • Using glitches, it's possible for speed runners to go straight to the final boss after getting the double jump.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The third theme that plays against Flandre is a hectic remix of none other than Night of Nights, BeatMARIO's arrange of Flowering Night note  that was made infamous thanks to the "Rampaging Sakuya" flash animation made by Yamato Damashi in 2009.
    • The normal ending, in which Remilia snaps her fingers into a Fade to White that causes the virtual world to disappear as its pieces revert back into their original gem forms, is highly reminiscent of a particular now-infamous scene in Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Submissive Badass: Sakuya is capable of taking out multiple enemies who are more powerful than she is, yet always remains her master Remilia's servant. Sakuya starts exploring the alternate world simply because Remilia told her to. And while Sakuya might grumble about it, she never disobeys Remilia's requests.
  • This Is a Drill: The Screw Knife upgrade, which spins Sakuya's knives fast enough to make them resemble drills and enables Sakuya to break crates.
  • Time Stands Still: The game's main gimmick. While the replica Mansion's aura limits Sakuya's use of her powers, time can still be frozen in bursts, allowing Sakuya to dodge traps, combo enemies, and stand on water. Sakuya also has Snail Time, which temporarily slows down time without using the time gauge.
  • Treacherous Checkpoint: One of the checkpoints in the extra post-game area is actually a fox in disguise.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: All the participants in the Boss Rush are no stronger than they were the first time you fought them. Consequently, the first few bosses are likely to go down in seconds.
  • Wastebasket Ball: Sakuya can recover all her health in rooms with a soda vending machine, and get a few gold if she kicks the can into a nearby trash bin.
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