Terra Feminarum is a vertical, bullet hell shmup game based on Finnish folklore and inspired heavily by Japanese bullet hell franchises such as the Touhou Project. The northern lights that illuminate the night sky of Terra Feminarium “Land of Women” have been fading recently, also threatening to strip the clan of its magical power. Only three shamans set out to investigate what’s going on and restore the auroras, but not without running into a few gods and mythical creatures who won’t let them travel to Pohjola, land of the dead, easily.
Developer: Polar Night Games
Released: 28 March 2020
Well, let’s get on moving!
Terra Feminarum includes two game modes: Story which lets you play a single chapter at a time, and Arcade which has you play through the whole game on just one credit. The game also includes four difficulties, from Novice up to Brutal, with Normal providing a decent difficulty curve for casual players by starting with some mild challenge and steadily increasing as the game advances. This means that the game is friendly to both people new to the shmup genre and bullet hell subgenre and provides sufficient challenge for seasoned players. The action takes place across the entirety of the game’s resolution, which means adjusting your peripheral vision to account for the huge play area may be a little tricky but still doable. Unfortunately, there is no ability to save and load replays.
All of the three characters are equipped with their unique weapon shots, a focus (slow down) ability showing the hitbox, fast movement with residual damaging spells, and a special bullet-clearing bomb. The bomb is powered by mana items, which allow you to clear a short distance of bullets if filled halfway and clear a larger range and increase the strength of your main weapon temporarily. At the end of each stage, you can upgrade your health, weapon, or fast movement, and for Story mode, you can try winning challenges in chapters to gain additional upgrades.
Terra Feminarum’s enemies are varied and test you in quite a few areas, such as slow and precise micro dodging, or weaving through several layers of bullet curtains. Aside from Chapter 1, both the enemies and boss fights were eventful, action-packed, and fun to fight thanks to the creativity of both the boss spell patterns and the enemies in regular stages.
The aurora is beautiful tonight
The hand-drawn artwork of Terra Feminarum is beautiful, this includes both the atmospheric background art for each level as well as the expressive and varied character designs, though they like to employ a lot of slightly revealing clothing. The game’s soundtrack, based on Finnish folk songs, is also a nice blend of genres, including waltz and black metal. You can also download it for free!
The story and lore are simple and easy to follow, though the English game script has a few spelling errors here and there, such as using “he” in the description of Lempo. Despite this, the errors are minor inconveniences that have not hampered my enjoyment of the game.
For an incredibly low price, Terra Feminarum is worth your attention especially if you like the Touhou bullet hell series and want more of it. Thanks to its gameplay and spell attacks, beautiful art style and eclectic soundtrack, the game has everything for both newbies and experienced players. The only things hampering the experience is the spelling errors and lack of replays, and those are honestly minor problems that don’t make the game any less enjoyable!