While Stella Glow is the last game Image Epoch created, Toushin Toshi is the last game they released (as Stella Glow ended up being released by Sega).
Now, this game was actually released almost 2 years ago. But after playing Stella Glow and learning about this game, I realized that if I don't take the opportunity to get this game now, it will be forever lost because Image Epoch's bankruptcy means the E-Shop no longer sells this AND there will be no longer any restocks. So I got it.
The Image Epoch president talked about how they spent quite the money creating the game, and after playing, I kind of see why.
BTW, this game is actually the remake of Toushin Toshi 2, by Alice Soft. However, the original is an eroge (R-18) AND was made 20 years ago, so there are quite a number of differences. I'll do some extra talking in a separate post.
I have to say the game is pretty damn well done. The gameflow is easy to understand and move around, for instance. Symbols appear in the locations where events occur, so you always have an idea. Not much of a learning curve, so if you have played an RPG before, it should be easy to understand. The main dungeon you use is similar to the one you see in Etrian Odyssey. Different floors have a different atmosphere with different monsters. For instance, the first two floors are a basic dungeon but the 3rd two floors are a Eastern, fiery environment.
You can also capture girl monsters (not monster girls, but girl monsters) and use them in battle. They have a Main and Support ability which you can toggle, and they are really important in playing a part of your battle strategy. When you use them, there is a cut-in, but by bringing them along your journey and fighting enemies, they gain what is pretty much experience. And you can then level them up. Every time you level them up, their abilities get stronger. Once you reach MAX, their cut-in becomes an animation! Oh yeah...
One of the best balanced RPGs I've see. For instance, the normal enemies you encounter are pretty much... normal. You won't take that long, but you can still suffer a bit if you are completely playing without thinking.
Then you have the EX enemies. These are symbol encounters and you do not have to beat them, but you get rewards like a weapon that is not only stronger than the currently available weapons but is also stronger than the next arc's weapons. In exchange, they are hard to beat. But by coming up with strategies, you can beat them.
Not only that, but when you game over, you can restart the battle from the beginning, so if you accidentally died from some mistake, you don't have to go all the way back to your last save point. That said, your only choice is to restart the fight or just game over, so against enemies that you can't run away from, your only other option is to restart, if you really can't win. But those enemies are few and there are always save points before them.
So not only are the battles interesting and have good tempo, stuff like the girl monsters and their animation, and the EX monsters and their rewards do really well to motivate the player into trying to get them. You know, do something and get rewards. The basics of games, right?
While it isn't incredible or anything, the characters are still likeable and there are enough character developments. You have your normal childhood friend who, surprisingly, starts off at full affection towards you. Heck, you two have already promised each other to marry. You also have a tsundere oni-girl who is actually an addition to the 3DS version of the game, as a second heroine. Yes, she has a route too.
Each arc in the 1st half of the game also spends enough time developing your enemies, which is definitely good.
The story itself is fine enough. It tries to do something and does it well enough, including the plot twists.
I guess the only thing I would complain about is the protagonist, who is both a wimp and always tries to help people... You know, that type. It's fine and all though, since his moments of pathetic-ness doesn't last long enough or have that much negative impact in the overall results...
Phew, the fanservice. I'll touch more directly on that in the separate post, but it is definitely satisfying. Actually, the CG for the girl monsters are probably more... that than the human girls, so if you like monster girls, that makes this game all the much better.
But the fanservice is still extra and doesn't play a part in the main game, which is a plus indeed. Just a reward for you during your process through the game.
BTW, the main artist for the game is syakaP, who is an unknown artist without a website or wiki or anything.
And other than girls, the illustrations for the men and monsters are all fine enough too.
Took me 40 hours for one route
There is around 97 to 98 CGs. There is a mode to listen to music and see the CGs, yes. All the more unfortunate that Stella Glow did not have one.
As there are two heroines and therefore requires at least 2 playthroughs, there is plenty of stuff to bring to the 2nd playthrough. Money, equipments, skills you got throughout the game, your AO...
I had plenty of fun with it, despite getting the game mainly because of its rarity in the future. The characters were memorable enough and the fanservice was totally awesome, especially the girl monster CGs.
If you can find a copy and is able to play it with a JP 3DS, I would totally recommend getting the game while there is a chance, if there is still a chance.