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Video Game / Touhou Shinpiroku ~ Urban Legend in Limbo

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Touhou Shinpirokunote  ~ Urban Legendy in Limbo is a video game created by Team Shanghai Alice and Twilight Frontier for Windows computers and PlayStation 4 in 2015. It's the 14.5th videogame installment in the Touhou Project franchise.

Urban Legends from the Outside World have started to materialise in Gensokyo - from old Ghost Stories to conspiracy theories to Creepypasta, they comprise entities and phenomena more fleeting but more unpredictable than a youkai. They are soon followed by the Occult Balls - strange stones that allow one to harness and amplify the urban legends' power. It's said that bringing together seven balls will cause something good to happen... but mysteriously, no one can agree on what's supposed to happen or where the stories came from. That night a cloaked figure appears from thin air near the Hakurei Shrine, overflowing with the power of the occult, and when Reimu attempts to fight it she gets knocked out...

Built on the engine of the previous aerial Fighting Game, Touhou Shinkirou ~ Hopeless Masquerade, ULiL features a modified flight system - rather than moving freely, there's a midair "floor" line from which characters can jump up or down. The popularity mechanic is replaced by Mystery Spots - stage-warping phenomena that spawn an Occult Ball which can be collected to power special Occult Attacks. More gameplay information can be found on the wiki.

The game has two official websites (both in Japanese): for the PC version and for the PS4 version.

This game provides examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Mokou and Kokoro find themselves manifesting the urban legends of Spontaneous Human Combustion and the Slit-Mouth Woman respectively, despite having no idea that the incident is going on. Though in Kokoro's case she believes she is the Slit-Mouth Woman due to one of her masks being damaged.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: Rather than being drawn by alphes of Twilight Frontier, the character portraits are now drawn by Moe Harukawa, artist of Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery. The game UI is also restyled to evoke manga panels.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One of Sumireko's win quotes against Reimu is that "The Girl in the Gap" is unfitting for a protagonist.
  • Continuity Porn: This game simultaneously advances and connects the plots of Touhou Ibarakasen ~ Wild and Horned Hermit and Touhou – ZUN's Music Collection, while also bringing back the Lunarians and planting the seeds of multiple future storylines. Even the metaphysics of the Occult Balls and the Great Hakurei Barrier are Call Backs to a Touhou Kourindou ~ Curiosities of Lotus Asia chapter published in 2004.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: At the end of Mamizou's route Sumireko claims "Gensokyo's own power stone", which allows the holder to travel freely between Gensokyo and the Outside World. Sumireko's route reveals that the stone is a fake which Mamizou used to trick Sumireko into moving her "anchor point" to Gensokyo, allowing the cast to fight her normally.
  • Field Power Effect: Each "Mystery Spot" has an effect based on a different Landmark of Lore:
    • Pyramids: All Occult attacks are treated as max level.
    • Stonehenge: The stage walls become narrower.
    • Tower of Babel: Touching the Occult Ball launches it as a projectile attack.
    • Nazca Lines: Touching the Occult Ball restores life and spellcard meter.
    • Yomotsu Hirasaka: Players take continuous damage depending on their distance from the center of the stage, but it disappears when the Mystery Spot ends. The Occult Ball's hitbox is larger.
    • Hell Valley: Fills the lower part of the stage with damaging fog.
    • Lunar Capital: Projectiles become slower.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Played straight and Inverted. Someone who crosses the Great Hakurei Barrier "improperly" will be pulled back home after a short time, experiencing their trip as if it were a dream - an effect which allows Sumireko to spread Occult Balls at her leisure while also making it difficult for the cast to hunt her down. In the final two routes, Sumireko is tricked into fully entering Gensokyo and becoming re-anchored there, followed by Reimu being temporarily re-anchored to the Outside World for the Final Battle.
  • Foreshadowing: The presence of the Occult Ball of the Lunar Capital is a hint to the Lunarians being involved with the Urban Legend Incident. It's not long afterwards that the Lunarians begin an invasion of Gensokyo in Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom
  • Gotta Catch Them All: When all 7 Occult Balls are brought together, something will happen. Though it soon turns out that there are actually far more balls than this in existence, with multiple characters trying to collect their own set.
  • Landmark of Lore: The Occult Balls are actually power stones - items containing the energy of seven "power spots" from around the globe (a paranormal-themed alternate set of Seven Wonders of the World). Activating them inside Gensokyo causes their surroundings to become aligned with the Outside World, placing dangerous strain on the Great Hakurei Barrier.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Occult Balls take this appearance.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Like Hisoutensoku its main title is derived from that of the previous game built on its engine, though a bit more loosely.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Characters returning from the Outside World feel like they just had a strange dream, and question if what they saw really happened.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: Reisen's story mode in the PS4 version takes place after everyone else's, after Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom even. The last fight is a mysterious incident where Mokou for some reason ends up possessing Reimu, setting up the events of Antinomy of Common Flowers.
  • The Promised Land: Sumireko sees Gensokyo as this, and spends most of the plot trying to create a passageway to it.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: In the penultimate route the player controls Sumireko, whom the cast have trapped inside Gensokyo in an attempt to scare her so badly that she'll never want anything to do with it again. Unfortunately, by the final route Sumireko thinks she's genuinely going to die, and starts overloading the Occult Balls in an attempt at taking Gensokyo with her.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Byakuren plans to seal the Occult Balls away so that they can't be used for evil, prompting Miko to snark that Buddhists seem very fond of putting a lid on things they don't like.
  • Shout-Out:
  • SNK Boss: The PS4 version's Arcade Mode adds EX versions of Mokou and Sumireko as the two potential final bosses on Over Drive difficulty. The former isn't much more difficult than her regular counterpart other than hitting like a truck while the latter has teleportation, loves to spam projectile attacks that are hard to graze/dodge (and often serve as traps for other attacks), and all of her attacks are expanded to cover a greater area.
  • Teleport Interdiction: The Occult Balls cannot distort space while inside a Senkai, which Miko intends to take advantage of in order to study them.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The plan to create a portal to the Outside World by activating Outside World power stones inside Gensokyo has one flaw: Sagume has mixed in a Lunar Capital power stone with enough energy to hijack the effect.
  • Urban Legends: As side-effect of the antagonist's plan, physical manifestations of urban legends (for a loose definition of the term) have started to appear in Gensokyo. Each character draws power from a different urban legend that they've found an affinity with, granting them an Occult Attack and a Weird Last Word.
  • Violence is the Only Option: Enforced. The occult balls cannot change hands without battle, so even when Miko is willing to pay for Nitori's in her scenario, combat is inevitable.
  • Wham Episode: Despite being a spin-off, there's a couple of plot twists that change the image of some characters. The Occult Orbs that everyone are gathering turn out to be power stones that can punch through the Hakurei Barrier, and Kasen, rather than risk the barrier getting destroyed completely, punches a hole in the barrier with the stones herself and sends Marisa to stop the perpetrator while she takes advantage of the gap to search for her arm. Also, the perpetrator of the incident, Sumireko Usami, is the founder of the Sealing Club from the Music CDs and is heavily implied to be Renko's ancestor. And if that weren't enough, the Lunar Capital snuck their own power stone in with the others, with the probable intention of connecting Gensokyo directly to the Lunar Capital, leading into Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom.
  • Wham Line:
    • From the first route (Marisa): "In the name of the sage ××××, release the ban of 130 years!", said by Kasen before ripping open the Great Hakurei Barrier.
    • The Final Boss gives her name and title: Sumireko Usami, First President of the Secret Sealing Club
    • From the final route (Reimu 2): "But the Lunar Capital ball is the only one that's not from the Outside World!"

Alternative Title(s): Urban Legend In Limbo