Inti Creates is one of those publishers where you know pretty much what to expect going in. They are the masters of 2D platforming and sprite-work, so there’s a certain amount of polish to be expected as standard.

Where they go from there, however, usually varies. Whether it’s the Castlevania 3 style platforming of the Curse of the Moon series, the high octane action of Azure Striker Gunvolt, or the gated exploration and rude shenanigans of Gal Guardians, they do like to make sure that each of their properties feels distinctly unique.

Needless to say when they announced Yohane the Parhelion, I was eager to see what they had in store for us!

Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.

Acting as a spinoff for the anime ‘Love Live! Sunshine’, Yohane the Parhelion – Blaze in the Deepblue –follows the exploits of the titular character as she ventures into a mysterious dungeon with her canine pal in order to find her missing friends.

With them joining her as she frees them, she’ll gradually get all the help she needs to find out why this monstrous place has appeared out of nowhere.

As is the case with Inti Creates’ games based on existing properties, familiarity of the property will no doubt enhance your enjoyment of the game as you interact with some familiar faces, but is absolutely not essential to the experience going in. As someone that was only aware of the anime after hearing about it in the press release, I had no idea who any of these anime girls were but it didn’t affect my appreciation of their bubbly characters.


The mysterious dungeon, as you probably can imagine, is laid out in a typical Metroidvania fashion. Despite having a rather linear opening sequence, you’ll soon reach new areas where things starts to open up a little more giving you plenty of options with where to go next. Of course, most of those routes will lead to dead ends that have to be returned to later on after gaining additional abilities; but the game does a pretty solid job at not being too overwhelming at first. Strangely, some small areas of the map have a randomised design and have you traipsing through a series of tediously linear sections as you make your way through each of the multiple teleporters, and these sections are a real drag to go through due to both their simplicity and their pointlessness. They’re infrequent enough as not to be an issue, but their strange inclusion is notable regardless and they probably shouldn’t have been included in the first place.

Additional abilities are acquired by saving your friends, who are scattered around in various different areas of the map – typically after boss fights – and these can grant you with some cool new offensive and defensive abilities. One such companion has as huge robot follower that is able to slam the ground with brute force – devastating to both enemies and weak floors alike.

Each of the game’s areas look great and show off some of Inti Creates’ best spritework yet. With anime artwork to complement character conversations, it really is just as good or even better than ever. The soundtrack is equally as good, with some great tunes to accompany as you play; my particular favourite was the melody that plays once a ‘Musical Score’ is activated. This life-saving item will not only restore your health and grant you guaranteed critical hits, but it’ll also show off Yohane doing a musical number for the duration,


Probably the most controversial element of the game lays in how items are acquired. They’re not earned nor acquired; instead they are crafted from randomly dropped materials dropped by enemies. Once you’ve acquired enough materials, the game will notify you that a new object can be crafted that may become useful. Unfortunately you are unable to compare the stats of items until after you craft it, meaning that you have to manually look at your item stats beforehand in order to ensure you aren’t wasting your materials on something worse than what you already have. It’s an imperfect system that makes new items feel rather unsatisfying, as they don’t really feel earned – and crafting something you only use for a brief period only makes you feel like you wasted your materials.

The crafting system is very much a specific taste, to say the least, but probably my biggest issue with the game resulted from the actual combat itself. Crafted items may feel unrewarding, but they’re also not particularly fun to use either due to how sluggish a lot of them feel – especially in the early game. Whilst there is an alternate means of attack by using your allies, I personally found most of them even worse. Some of them do have their uses, noticeably against bosses or certain enemies, but there seems to be no real good option for dealing faster attacks against weaker opponents and it really affects the overall pacing of the game.


I think the biggest issue with the combat is thateven when you have a weapon that can destroy weaker opponents, it’s often not guaranteed. Alongside the game’s crit system, there’s also a large degree of damage variance that means you’re occasionally just not going to kill a fodder enemy for no good reason. It forces you to take care with every single opponent lest you take unnecessary damage. And with a game that contains a fair amount of backtracking, which is a staple of the genre, it makes for a rather tedious experience.

It’s not helped by having a rather useless map that doesn’t allow you to mark objects of interest, nor does it give you much of an indication as to what barrier prevents your progress. Instead it often gives rough shapes of the room and exit locations (that are often inaccurate), which makes it pretty useless when trying to find your way around. Often I found myself just heading towards rooms where I hadn’t used one of the exits in the hope that I could progress a little further.

Even though the presentation and cast of colourful characters are top notch, I couldn’t click with the actual gameplay of Yohane the Parhelion -Blaze in the Deepblue-. Between the crafting, unfulfilling combat, and the terrible map, I found it a struggle to get through the whole game. Thankfully the game does have a meaty demo on the e-shop, so I’d strongly advise giving it a shot if you’re wondering about whether or not it’s for you.