Sit-Rep: Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet – Shooting Only Blanks

+A concept new to player versus player games
+Interesting story concepts that become enjoyable with time
+Grabs the true ideal of being a bullet hell title

-Gameplay balancing is a huge issue
Tutorials are awful and could use reworking
Online latency is a huge issue.


Bullet Hell games are nothing new when it comes to games. Titles such as Gradius, Darius, and a host of many more, the genre is still alive, and is receiving the content needed to keep the genre alive. This latest entry is one that decides to blend the worlds of fighting games and bullet hell games into one. Like any fighting title, the goal is to whittle your enemies health down to nothing before unleashing a “spell” to take them out.

Touhou Genso Rondo is just that. A bullet hell fighting game. As strange of a concept it is, these two genres mesh together for a very interesting title. Unfortunately, due to some choice design decisions, it doesn’t work out as well as I would have hoped.

Tohou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet’s Great Ideas are Poorly Executed

Fighting games and bullet hell shooters have always existed in two separate genres until  now. Blending the two has been a questionable thing for some time and now we’re seeing the first attempt at it. While the fusion of the two seems as if it would fluidly transition between the two, instead of choppy, confusing, and oddly coordinated controls with lackluster tutorials.

Unfortunately, Tohou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet finds itself in some awkward places as it doesn’t do much to welcome newcomers like myself. Instead I found myself mindlessly mashing at buttons such as my L2 button, my L1 button, and even smashing across the face buttons on my controller in order to perform randomized attacks I am still figuring out even after having spent a good ten-to-twenty hours in the game. While the idea of a fighting game based on bullet hell mechanics would have been lovely, this game is great ideas put into a flawed situation, and proves how flawed design executions can come to life

While the game itself, once figured out, becomes enjoyable, it proves that the team didn’t take the time to fix what was needed in order to ensure a successful launch. For now the flawed mechanics are intact and will become infuriating. While I could focus on the bad for an entire review, I prefer not, and would like to take my time to focus on where it can improve.


Tohou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet’s Tutorial and Speed Need Reworked

Improvement is something that all developers seek to do as their games life gets underway. Over time we see menu’s get reworked, bug fixes implemented, overall enhancements get underway, and even a few additions to the game that were already in place. However, this game needs quite a few improvements before it’ll be a solid, and steady game. Before we begin, lets bullet point the games most critical flaws when it comes to learning how to play it.

  • Training tutorials
  • Fight Pacing
  • Bug fixes for new rule sets

While these three seem so few, it isn’t unsurprising to see where the game needs to improve after playing for the many hours I have. While music, animations, and graphic novel scenes may seem rock-solid; because they are; the game still has underlying issues. Tutorials being the weakest one of them. As any gamer knows, when it comes to a new game, it is the utmost importance for a game like this to actually have solid tutorials, to guide players through the game they are playing, and help them understand it.

The second issue comes with the fact players will find themselves consistently using the games fast paced attack mode, where they will glide through the arena. Unfortunately, another thing that needs fixed is the downloading newer versions, which will appear if they’ve released new data. When you do, it’ll be not-so-uncommon to see the data state “corrupted”. Here at B.A.T.G.R.’s home office, I found myself attempting to download the file multiple times. Once downloaded, a few things changed quite well. However, for now, the game remains plagued with minor issues.

Tohou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PlayStation Vita
Developer: CUBETYPE
Publisher: NIS America
Price: $49.99
Released: Available Now

While the combat modes appear in the game through a single set of buttons players can easily find themselves moving towards trying to figure out what each one does. For example in slow mode, players can find themselves grazing past enemy bullets in order to boost up their charge bar. In other modes players move fast, seeping up less charge bar, players can move across the screen faster in order to damage their opponent. Lastly, we have charge, which is all about dealing as much damage as possible in one swift go.

Closing Thoughts as the Ballet Ends

While Tohou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet is a troubled game, it is also a game that offers a chance for players to try something new despite its shortcomings that in many ways, could hurt it in the long run, but shouldn’t deter players from trying something new. For now, I’ll be sticking to the game as a pick-up and go title as the stories are actually quite easy to ignore if players are wanting to just jump straight into the action.

Our review is based on a copy provided to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.

 Final Score: 5 out of 10

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

2 thoughts on “Sit-Rep: Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet – Shooting Only Blanks

    • It was a cool idea. I think with some fine tuning, a bit of tweaking, and minor reworks? This game could be a masterpiece. I’m a huge fan of the Tohou franchise.

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