While I have absolutely zero familiarity with the Love Live anime franchise, Inti Creates making a Metroid-like is quite literally all I needed to get on board here. While the developer has made similar games on multiple occasions, this is a rare example of a full-on classic-style game in the subgenre made by them, complete with the developer’s gorgeous pixel art and tightly honed game design. Yohane the Parhelion isn’t the most original game in the world and its storytelling might not grab much attention, but it’s well worth playing for Inti Creates fans looking to see how the developer fares with this specific type of game.
Yohane the Parhelion is a licensed game based on the anime of the same name. I haven’t seen the anime, nor do I have any intention of doing so, as it’s very much not my kind of thing. The anime is itself a Love Live spinoff, focusing on one of the characters if they existed in a fantasy world. Yohane is a fortune teller and many of her friends are trapped in a dungeon. She proceeds to head into it to find them and figure out what exactly is going on. As with most Inti Creates games, this one has plenty of CGs and dialogue segments, complete with full Japanese voice acting. I often read through these as quickly as possible, as cutesy anime girls having cutesy conversations isn’t my cup of tea. If it’s yours, you’ll likely feel differently.
But enough about all of that. I wanted to play this game for everything else. The sprites are up to the developer’s usual standard. They’re detailed and animate fluidly as you’d expect, even if there are a fair amount of palette swaps. The basic structure of the game sees Yohane travel to different biomes to beat bosses and rescue her friends. Each friend can be summoned to unleash an attack, but many of these also double as new abilities. The best summon in the game, as I see it, is Dia, who can deliver a few electric sword slashed or ride a motorcycle into a foe. These slashes can power generators that turn lights on or activate devices, too.
You’re not the boss of me
As such, you’ll be able to reach new areas after beating bosses and gaining new abilities. Much like Metroid, your goal is to defeat all the bosses, open a locked door, and then proceed to the final areas. There are also treasure chests to find that contain crafting materials, as well as side quest items that are used to unlock each summon’s second ability. Aside from summoning, Yohane can magically use a bunch of weapons which are either melee or ranged. These, much like accessories, must be crafted via crafting materials, which are dropped by enemies or found in various breakable objects. Accessories can bestow an array of effects, but also increase Yohane’s health and darkness points.
Darkness points in Yohane the Parhelion are used when summoning or using weapons. As such, you’ll want to balance which summons and weapons you use, as you can run out of darkness points if you don’t budget properly. If they run out, Yohane’s health will be drained instead. It’s fun to switch out weapons and accessories as needed. Different pieces of equipment (and different summons) are useful depending on circumstance. I wish there was a way to switch weapons outside the menu, though, as this gets fairly tedious, especially since there are points where you need to use specific weapons against certain enemies.
Speaking of which, there are balance issues with both summons and weapons. I used Dia and two specific weapons throughout the whole game, as they’re just so good that there wasn’t much reason to use the others. For summons, many are only situationally useful or, worse, not useful at all. One summon emits a pink cloud that blocks projectiles directly in front of Yohane, but I absolutely never needed this. Another shoots Yohane out of a cannon, but you can count on one hand the number of times you actually need to use it, as it’s useless in combat. As such, you’ll be sticking with just a few things. I really do wish there were more reasons to switch summons around.
One area of Yohane the Parhelion that could have used some additional creativity is in the game’s biomes. They’re honestly quite plain and somewhat devoid of any sense of place. That being said, there are certainly some memorable areas here and there. After beating the game, it can be tough to remember them, however. Despite this, it’s still perfectly enjoyable to explore the game’s locations and find your way around. Unlike similar games, you’re able to freely warp to any save room you’ve visited at any time from absolutely anywhere, as well as to Yohane’s home, where you can buy healing items and buffs. This makes the game considerably shorter than it might have been otherwise, but it makes exploration an absolute snap
Control-wise, the game is plenty responsive, although Yohane’s abilities mean that you shouldn’t expect high levels of responsiveness, as she’s not a warrior. Certain treasure chests have abilities in them, such as a double jump or the ability to climb walls. Once you reach the end, you’ll need to fight all of the game’s bosses again before taking on the final boss. The boss battles are very solid here, with some of them actually being quite challenging. An early game boss is one of the toughest you’ll find, oddly. Since you can carry so many healing items, you can come out on top even without memorisation.
You’ll also find music sheets after beating some enemies, used to resurrect and buff Yohane when her health bar empties. This functions exactly as Anthems do in the Gunvolt games, which is a fun nod. However, music sheets are fairly rare, so you won’t be able to constantly make use of this ability, making the game considerably tougher than that of other series. It’s easy to find yourself dying while exploring the biomes, as the enemies can hit quite hard. I’m overall pleased with the game’s level of challenge, as I was with Gal Guardians.
Yohane the Parhelion is a good Metroid-like that captures most of the subgenre’s highlights in its six-to-seven hour length. You may not care for the license or characters, but this is still well worth a look for genre fans or followers of Inti Creates looking to explore a dungeon while crafting gear and fighting monsters.
Yohane the Parhelion – Blaze in the Deepblue: While not the most original Metroid-like, Yohane the Parhelion – Blaze in the Deepblue is a well-made game that offers the typical Inti Creates level of quality in a familiar package. – Andrew Farrell
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