When you’re one of the most popular Japanese indie games of the last 20 years, it’s only natural to eventually find yourselves in the world of Real Time Strategy. Introducing The Touhou Empires, a fan-made RTS based on the Touhou Project.
For those who may not be aware, the Touhou Project is a bullet hell style game series. It was developed by Japanese developer Jun’ya “ZUN” Ōta back in 1995, and has developed 18 games for it since then. Over time, the game gained attention online and the community became very much centered around the development of fan-made content, particularly online comics of the various characters. ZUN has gone on to express permission for fans to make content for the series, just as long as they don’t become over commercialized.
That’s what The Touhou Empires is. This fan-made game takes the characters and lore from the Touhou canon, and places them into an RTS game. Inspired by Age of Empires, it follows the same general flow of gameplay. Players collect resources, build structures, and amass an army. When the time for battle arrives, they can press against their enemies for control. Characters even has “Spell Cards” that can be activated to use special abilities.
The game features a story mode, which should be expected given the source material. It also will allow for online multiplayer with up to six players.
Visually speaking, it’s pretty rough. But we’re looking at a fan game, not the next triple A first party production. Generally speaking, fan-games are never made to be the best game it can be, but to be an expression of their passion for the source material. When that’s the case, looking at the game’s quality with a critical eye always feels a little rude, at least in my opinion.
Funny enough, this isn’t even Touhou’s first RTS fan game. The first one was in 2011: a fan game called “Age of Ethanols.” Though in all fairness, the developer of that game and The Touhou Empire is the same person (Neetpia). They are also known for developing Gensokyo Defenders, another Touhou fan game, in 2019. But that one was a 3D shoot-em-up.
The Touhou Empires isn’t available just yet, though it does already have a Steam page.