By Steve Baltimore / December 13th, 2023
|Yohane the Parhelion: BLAZE in the DEEP BLUE
|INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
|INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
|November 16th. 2023
|Switch, PC, PlayStation 4|5, Xbox Series S|X
Years ago when I watched Love Live! Sunshine!! I was very taken with Yoshiko Tsushima, AKA Yohane. I thought she was by far the cutest member of Aqours and her chunni antics just made me love her even more. So I was very excited when I found she was getting her own spin off anime project, Yohane the Parhelion: Sunshine in the Mirror, and even more so when Inti Creates announced they were making a Metroidvania title based off the anime, called Yohane the Parhelion: BLAZE in the DEEP BLUE. After I enjoyed the anime series, I was very excited to dig into the game to see where this story continuation was going. Let’s see how everything turned out!
The story here begins as a strange undersea dungeon suddenly surfaces near the town of Numazu. It quickly becomes all folks in town can talk about, so Yohane’s friends each begin to explore the dungeon one by one, but they never return. Yohane decides to venture into the dungeon to rescue her lost friends with the help her faithful dog Lailaps. What mysteries lie ahead of her in the dungeon, and will she be able to rescue her friends?
The story here is pretty basic, but for those who enjoyed the anime this is a great side adventure. I love seeing the girls interact with each other, and the Easter Eggs they threw in here for fans of the anime and Aqours in general. This one isn’t going to blow you away with amazing storytelling, but if you’re a fan of Yohane or Love Live! Sunshine!! you will have a good time here seeing all the girls in action once again.
Graphically the game is done in that fantastic pixel art style Inti Creates is known for. The character sprite works still comes out quite detailed this way, and all of the girls’ sprites were very cute, down to the last details! Enemy models look great as well, with a pretty good assortment of them. There are still re-colors, but I felt like there were less here than in some of their other games. The boss monsters really shine with their huge size and impressive looks. You can tell the team put some love into each one. The environments themselves are great as well. Each one is very detailed and you really get immersed into the type of area, from lava filled volcano to fluffy candy style areas. The game ran great on the Switch from start to finish with no frame drops.
In the music department, Yohane the Parhelion: BLAZE in the DEEP BLUE really shines. Each area has amazing theme music that fits the feel of it. This includes a mysterious sounding theme for the temple and more upbeat theme as you begin to explore this underwater dungeon. The theme song, “Deep Blue”, is an amazing tune that got stuck in my head for a long time after I stopped playing this one. I wish Inti Creates would’ve included an in-game music library, or something for completing the game, so you could enjoy these tunes on the fly, but there was nothing unlocked post game. Which is one of my complaints here: it’s pretty bare bones overall outside of the main game.
The gameplay here is very much that of your standard Metroidvania title. You will explore each area of the dungeon, battling enemies and bosses as you save your friends and gain new abilities. Each girl has two unique skills, one you gain as soon as you free them, and the other when you find a hidden item in the dungeon. All of these skills can be used to slay enemies in the dungeons, such as Dia’s electric slash and Hanamaru’s adorable rolling attack. These skills can also be used to solve puzzles in the dungeon to gain access to new areas as well, but players should also look out for special items in treasure chests too. These will give Yohane some new skills and allow her to equip more accessories as well.
Yohane can purchase a number of healing items and items that will buff your stats from her fortune telling shop with in-game currency. These help you out in a pinch if you need to restore your health or Darkness points. The latter is what you use to call out your friends to help you in combat or use the variety of weapons you can cast. That’s right: you can cast a variety of weapons and accessories from the materials dropped from defeated monsters.
Weapon casts include several different types of bows and swords, each with different properties, so you can choose whichever fits your play style the best. Cloaks and accessories can be cast as well. These give you various buffs that will keep you alive during the harshest areas of the dungeon. Some will give immunity to status aliments while others may cut down different types of damage. Each one will give Yohane a boost in HP and Darkness points, so you will have to balance her out as you see fit. I went with a big HP build and tanked a lot of the bosses, but this is totally up to you.
Overall I had a great time with Yohane the Parhelion: BLAZE in the DEEP BLUE. I loved exploring the dungeon and seeing all of my favorite Aqours members once again. Each girl’s skills were very unique and suited them very well. Hanamaru having a laptop fall from the heavens to make it explode with a single touch made me laugh out loud since I got the reference from the original anime, and this is what games like this should do. I feel like the package is a bit light on extras since there is nothing to do after completing the game. No new game plus with more difficulty, unlockable galleries or even a way to listen to the music post game. It will take you around eight hours to see everything the game has to offer and I feel like it is worth the $29.99 price tag for fans of the anime or Yohane, but everyone else might want to wait for a sale to snatch this one up. While I loved everything here personally, I was a big fan of the series going into this, so I know I got a bit more out of this than those just looking for another Metroidvania to pick up. That said, I have no issue telling fans to snatch this up ASAP, it’s a lot of fun with girls you know and love.
Game was purchased by the reviewer.
Inti Createslove live sunshineMetroidvaniaYohane the Parhelion: BLAZE in the DEEP BLUE