Review: Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya Is a Delightfully Cozy Game Switch
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Review: Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya Is a Delightfully Cozy Switch Game

There are a lot of Touhou Project and Touhou-adjacent games, so much so that I didn’t even catch the doujin game Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya when it first released on Steam in 2021. I’m kicking myself now, because apparently I did myself a huge disservice by not paying attention. Now that the Switch version is here, I’ve found its one of the better cozy games I’ve played in 2024. 

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First, to assuage any anxiety you may have, you do not need any Touhou Project knowledge to play the doujin game Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya on the Switch. It is entirely self-contained. Mystia Lorelei and Kyouko Kasodani are both supporting cast members who even fans might not know or recognize at a glance. There are cameos from more notable members of the series’ cast, but they’re introduced and handled in such a way that you’ll be fine if you’re entirely new to the series. All you need to know is that the setting is a land filled with supernatural beings and yokai that’s basically next door to our own world. 

Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya plays with that notion at the very outset. In case someone didn’t notice Mystia’s sparrow wings and Kyouko’s horns, they will notice that the restaurant management simulation begins with the two opening an established izakaya for the evening, a being with a never-ending appetite decimating everything, and history-eating half-beast rewinding time to give Mystia a second chance to satisfy the menace. From there, it’s a fairly relaxed, incredibly cozy game about meeting Gensokyo’s residents, collecting ingredients and recipes, running a restaurant, and becoming a success.

When I first saw Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya, I initially wondered about just how easy it might be to play on the Switch and if it would be more stressful than cozy game. This is because there’s a bit of a zoomed out appearance, there are a lot of things happening on-screen during the serving process, and the series’ trademark spell cards come into play while running the restaurant at night. However, don’t let the sometimes simplistic view and array of information packed on the screen dissuade you. It’s all properly introduced and handled very well once you get into the game and start running your business.

In fact, its pacing is really pretty perfect. During the day, you prepare for service at night. This means going to gather ingredients, finding new recipes you can cook, and meeting Touhou Project characters. There are even some mild relationship elements, as you can befriend the “special” customers that are series mainstays like Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame. Getting to know them better makes it easier to serve them when they visit, since they won’t just tell you what they want like a normal customer, and increases their strength. This exploration phase is also how you find new employees to join Mystia and Kyouko, like Kosuzu Motoori or Sakuya Izayoi. You get to visit more and more areas of the region, granting access to new items, more types of food, and more people.

Once night hits though, you head back to the kitchen. Things start small, as initially Mystia is working to pay off Kyouko’s 3,000 yen debt. This also means only offering probably one type of drink and one or two food items. However, you eventually can set up additional cooking stations, different meals depending on ingredients and recipes found, and serve more people. Getting additional workers, with up to three assisting with serving, helps with the time management element. But really, it can come down to sometimes having certain items prepped and ready at all times if you know who is supposed to be showing up. Each dish only takes a few seconds to cook, so even though there is a time management element, it never feels like too much pressure.

What’s also great is that you’re getting the full Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya game on the Nintendo Switch, to ensure that you can really take your time and get cozy with it. The five DLC add-ons, which include more locations, characters, and story opportunities are available here. It also plays really well on the system, with the controls being perfect. The localization is fine, considering this is a doujin game. Most importantly, even though there’s a lot of text tossed on you, the full-screen sprite art looks absolutely impeccable on a Switch OLED. It’s well-suited to the handheld, which means I’m looking forward to heading back to it later to finish the add-ons I didn’t complete and just enjoy the ambiance.

In a way, I’m still shocked at how absolutely delightful Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya is, and I’m so pleased at the prospect that a Switch release might garner more attention for every version of the game. It’s so much better than I anticipated, and the pacing and nature of it make it a perfect cozy game for someone who wants to sit back, make some friends, and run a restaurant. While the idea of it being a Touhou Project doujin game might be a bit daunting, it’s worth a chance if you love the life sim and restaurant management genres or just want to build up your library of cozy games. There’s more to it than you’d expect.

Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya is available for the Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam

Touhou Mystia's Izakaya

Touhou Mystia's Izakaya is a fan game of the Touhou Project, where Mystia Lorelei, a resident of Gensokyo, struggles to revive her own izakaya. Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Don’t let the fact that Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya is a Switch Touhou Project doujin game dissuade you from trying this cozy gem.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.