Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle
Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle
Title screen of the game
4 June 2015 (Trial)|
7 June 2015 (v0.02b trial)
1 December 2016 (Full)
5 December 2016 (v1.01a)
6 December 2016 (v1.02a)
8 December 2016 (v1.03a)
25 December 2016 (v1.10a)
26 December 2016 (v1.10b)
17 September 2017 (v1.20b-c)
23 September 2017 (v1.20d)
26 September 2017 (v1.20e)
27 September 2017 (v1.20f)
|Genre||Vertical Danmaku Shooting Game|
|Gameplay||Single-Player Story Mode|
|Official Site||Trick Nostalgie|
|Download||Download from "Freem!"|
The game was first announced on 31 January 2015. On 4 June 2015, a trial version was released, consisting of 3 stages. After over a year of development, the full version of the game was released on 1 December 2016 as a free download. After another year, an additional major update was released on 17 September 2017.
Name and Concept
Unlike previous Len'en Project games, the title consists of six Japanese kanji rather than five, plus an English sub-title that relates to the main title without necessarily being a translation. In the title, "Ten'eisenki (天影戦記)" is referencing the war (戦) between two major factions, with "Heaven" (天) being the Pagoda of Devanagara and "Shadow" (影) being the Dragonfly Castle. "Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle" refers to those two factions, but it also references the gameplay mechanics, where the player can choose to go to one faction or the other. The kanji "記" possibly references Suzumi Kuzu. Also, this game changed the first kanji len (鏈 lit. "chain") in the Japanese title Len'en Project (鏈縁Project) to a more simpler-looking 連; both have identical meanings. This was because it makes writing a lot easier and "it seems lighter". This was also put into affect to all previous games.
The most distinctive part of this game is the cell system. Within each cell, a random formation of enemies will be chosen, with random boosts added. Over the course of each cell the player can choose a left, middle or right route using their movement, which leads to different cells. In addition, the boss of the stage and the next stage will be chosen depending on how far left or right the player ends up.
Mugenri is enjoying warm weather as spring approaches. Despite the lack of any real incident going on, the skies are crowded with warring soldiers from two factions: the youkai-led Dragonfly Army, and the capital city's Imperial Military. In the midst of these two factions' "mock war," Tsubakura Enraku and Yabusame Houlen are paid a visit by Kuroji Shitodo. In exchange for healing an injury that Hooaka suffered under mysterious circumstances, Kuroji tells them a strange rumor. "When sake is poured into the vessel of the skies, and cheap ideas and pride are blended in, the mirror of Heaven shall surely split." Tsubakura, Yabusame and Shion head out to investigate, partly because they suspect the rumor means it'll rain free saké, and partly because Jinbei wants them to deal with a vaguely-defined threat outside.
Meanwhile, Taira no Fumikado, along with their lackeys Tsugumi Umatachi and Fujiwara no Iyozane, has run into some unexpected difficulties on their way to taking over Mugenri as its 'New Emperor.' Their Dragonfly Army allies are refusing to follow their orders, having left them for a "more fitting Emperor" chosen by the legendary Dragonfly Castle upon its descent. Hardly satisfied with this turn of events, Fumikado and their lackeys set out to find the truth behind the matter. Also joining in the chaos are Tenkai Zuifeng, Sukune Katano and Sese Kitsugai, the latter two of whom are dragging the former along on a quest to get payback from Tsubakura and Yabusame.
Why are the two factions going to war so suddenly? What changes will the mock war bring to Mugenri? What is the truth behind the strange rumor, what "threat" does Jinbei want the priests to deal with, and what information is Kuroji hiding from them? What do all these things have to do with each other? And, perhaps most importantly... who's writing this all down?
The game features original tracks composed by JynX that mimics ZUN's style. There are up to 54 tracks total in the game; only 20 tracks were revealed in the trial. As there are characters as bosses who re-appear from JynX's previous games, there are some that were re-arranged from the characters' original themes. Similar to the Touhou Project games, the music room doesn't show the names of all the themes from the first time playing and thus requires to select one theme twice if the player wants to listen to the track if they haven't listened to it during gameplay. There may be a few melodies in most of the tracks that strongly resembles those from the Touhou Project.
The game went under major development in comparison to the previous game, taking over a whopping two years to fully develop. JynX first announced the game on 31 January 2015, and made multiple following blog posts describing the game's new mechanics. JynX stated that they planned to prepare various difficulty levels for this game because they intended it to appeal towards a more casual audience.
The initial trial version, v0.01a, was released on 2 June 2015. The trial is notable for being the first of JynX's releases to allow easier access to game resources, making translation of the game much easier. An update for the trial version, v0.02a, was released on 16 June 2015. Another update, v0.02b, was released on 7 July 2015.
The full version was originally scheduled for release on October 2015. However, it has later been confirmed on JynX's twitter that the full release might be delayed until sometime around Christmas due to scheduling reasons. Unfortunately, those same reasons have delayed the game's release further, without any actual release date. This also forced JynX to skip their April Fool's video for 2016. After several months, JynX had nearly finished development of the game, but further delayed the finished version due to a major bug. On 30 November 2016, JynX finally indicated that that the game was completed and they would have it uploaded to a unique hosting website. Without further delay, JynX announced on Twitter that the full version of the game was finally released on 1 December 2016.
After the full version's initial release, updates were happening rapidly as various bugs were fixed. After the release of v1.10b on 26 December 2016, things went quiet for a while, but more updates were yet to come, especially since the fifth team had yet to be implemented. Estimated to be released by the end of summer 2017, JynX finally released v1.20b on 17 September 2017, with several additional updates for minor bug fixes throughout the rest of the month.
On 11 November 2020, JynX announced in the Len'en 7th Anniversary Video that they were working on Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle -Golden Chapter- (天影戦記 -金章- Ten'eisenki -Kinshō-), a remake of the game. The game is planned to have adjustments to the original game system, difficulty and balance adjustments, implementation of "Arcade Mode" and increased platform compatibility, being developed in Unity. Arcade Mode was an additional game mode planned for the original Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle along with Challenge Mode, although they were never implemented. It is planned to feature a new story and new character(s) in Golden Chapter.
- Free official download from Freem for v1.20f
- Official blog
- Trial download link for v0.02b
- Full 1.20f English patch
- Latest English patch for full version (currently at revision 11) (See here for more information)
- English translation of the latest trial version
- The title screen of the game features silhouettes of Yabusame and Tsubakura flying past occasionally, along with a silhouette of the Pagoda of the Heavenly Mirror.
- The Staff Roll background features the Senri Shrine Road, the Dragonfly Castle and Devanagara, representing the three routes of the game.
- mugenri.blog.shinobi post "2015 Original Game, "Connecting Link: Heaven & Shadow War Record"
- JynX Twitter: "I plan to upload the full version sometime in October."
- JynX Twitter: "When am I ever going to finish BPoHC? My schedule's gotten so out-of-hand, I don't even know anymore...But for now, if I don't finish it before my Christmas video, I'm going to die."
- JynX's Twitter: "Just now, I have finished production of BPoHC and have given my application to Freem! It is now under inspection.
If all goes well it should be uploaded after a few days, so I'll make another Twitter announcement when the time comes! I reaaaaaaaaaaaly made you all wait!"
- JynX's Twitter: "The newest game in the Len'en series: "Len'en Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle" is free for download on Freem! now! It's quite a special game for a bullet hell STG, so please give it a try~♪!"
- JynX's Twitter: "If you have time to go to Summer Comiket then go make an update for BPoHC."
- JynX's Twitter: "BPoHC ver1.20b is released! I added the hidden playable character, achievements and all sorts of other things too."
- JynX's Twitter: "BPoHC Ver1.20d, this should fix various bugs the game had. Disappear bugs!
- JynX's Twitter: "BPoHC ver1.20e is uploaded. There still many updates to come. (For bug fixing, I mean.)"