🎮 Rumia Throws!

2024年 6月 29日
Indie Tsushin 2024 May-June issueThis article was featured in our 2024 May-June issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.
Title screen of Rumia Throws! by Tosa Laboratory

In the Japanese doujin game scene, there are few things that comes close to the importance and ubiquity of Team Shanghai Alice's sprawling Touhou Project. While most conversations about indie games tend to focus on recent releases, fan games and other doujin works featuring the residents of Gensokyo share a long history passed through uncountable developers' hands. The popular shooting game series has been transformed over the years to cover just about every genre imaginable, and the sheer volume of lore built by the community makes Touhou Project a cultural touchstone for doujin and indie game fans both here in Japan and abroad. With all of this history, it can be quite intimidating for newcomers to find a welcoming entry point to the series.

And so, I would like to introduce Tosa Laboratory's Rumia Throws! It's an upcoming doujin game that pays homage to the original Touhou Project while developing its own identity as a standalone game.

Rumia throwing a box towards an enemy. The level has NAGE RUMIA written in big blocks of dirt, with enemies and crates strewn about

Throw, throw, throw! Keep throwing boxes and washbasins and fish until you've cleared the stage!

Rumia Throws is a 2D platforming game with simple and charming pixel art, compact stages where players make full use of the items strewn around the level, and cameo appearances by Touhou Project regulars. It stars Rumia, the boss of the first stage of Touhou Project ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, and the story here is that she got so hungry that she lost her danmaku abilities. She needs to clear out all the enemies from the level by crashing into them with crates, boulders, metal washbasins, and other objects, and then grab the big hunk of meat that spawns as a reward. The levels have a chaotic energy that is a joy to play, and respects the legacy of Touhou Project while offering a fun and unique experience.

Rumia standing on a crate as it flies horizontally across the top of the screen towards a hunk of meat, with a tutorial message underneath showing the button presses to ride objects

Wait, I've seen this somewhere before...

The opening tutorial will teach you the different ways you can interact with objects. You can lift a crate over your head and throw it forward at enemies, or you can kick it in a straight line. You can also throw it straight up and have it fall down on enemies from above, which deals double damage. You can even hilariously jump onto an object that you have thrown and ride on top of it, as if it were a famous scene from Dragon Ball. It doesn't matter that this should be physically impossible! I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this. But be careful, since enemies can also kick, throw, and drop objects onto each other and on you.

Rumia throwing a box and defeating an enemy. Around her are flaming slime and fairy enemies.

Most stages are a single screen, letting you take in all the information you need and start planning your route.

Each stage is compact, usually consisting of a single screen but packed with enemies, platforms, and objects. Players can approach them like puzzle levels, carefully considering the most efficient way of dropping objects on enemies from above for maximum damage. But players are also given ample health to be able to brute-force their way through the chaotic action if they so choose. I encourage you to play the game in the way that is most enjoyable for you.

A level filled with leaping mermaids who shoot an arc of magic water at the player, plus the usual assortment of fairy and slime enemies

Later levels have enemies that shoot magic, calling back to this game's danmaku roots.

When I played the demo, I first took in the entirety of the level. I carefully observed the movement of the enemies and tried to figure out the best way to drop items onto their heads. But when I threw a crate at what I thought was the best place, it ended up missing the enemy, who then kicked the crate back towards me. When I leapt out of the way, this caused the crate to hit another enemy, who also sent the crate flying back in the opposite direction. As I watched all my careful strategizing fall apart in a flurry of chaotic crate-kicking, I couldn't help but burst into laughter as I struggled to get things back under control. Dealing with these breakdowns in control is a ton of fun, and irresistibly funny.

Boss screen for Cirno, the ice fairy

Currently the demo has two boss fights, including the ice fairy Cirno!

There is a wide variety of objects, and some of them have additional effects, and can be worth going out of your way to grab. The metal washbasin, for instance, does a lot of extra damage when dropped from above, and as you'd expect, makes a big satisfying clang. There are also level obstacles like springs that bounce you or objects high into the air, blocks that automatically send back any items that hit them, and bubbles that grab onto objects mid-air to turn into platforms. The stages are fairly open-ended, so even if you beat a stage, it can be fun to replay and find a way to clear them without taking any damage or using items more efficiently.

Title screen for Area 2: Misty Lake. Rumia is running towards a fish, with a large lake in the background.

Different areas have different enemy types, objects, and other interesting level gimmicks to shake things up.

There is a staggering amount of levels included in the free demo. The full game is expected to have over 100 levels, but as it stands now, it will easily take players an hour or more just to clear the demo. It is split into two areas, with the second half full of enemies that cast magic in wide patterns, a nice callback to their danmaku roots. It will take strategy, quick reflexes, and a good sense of timing to clear. It makes me very excited to see all of the new mechanics and levels in the full release.

Rumia holding up a huge hunk of meat with the message 'Area Complete!!'

Rumia Throws is packed with affection for the world of Touhou and its huge cast of characters. But even players who can't catch every Gensokyo reference will still be entertained by its quick and humorous action. It is truly a game that shows off the power of doujin games, inheriting the long and storied history of games that came before and evolving it in new and amusing ways.

The full version of Rumia Throws! is coming soon to Steam, with the demo out now. Visit Tosa Laboratory's Booth for more of their games. And you can watch us play Rumia Throws on stream!