I've only played one game of tori shogi ... so these remarks are very preliminary. I would just say that the game redefines the word "incremental". In a sense, all shogi variants that include the drop rule are very incremental to begin with. (By "incremental" I mean the accrual of slight positional advantages as described by chessmasters like Steinitz). The incremental aspect of even standard shogi, I think, often leaves players of international chess (or even Xiangqi or Changgi) a little cold. But tori shogi takes incremental to a new level. In general, the pieces are weaker than in standard shogi and promotion is rather limited. The beginning of the game features a lot of pawn play ... on an order that would leave chess players somewhat dazed. The major pieces only find a role later as one player or another finds weaknesses to exploit. In standard shogi, early castle formation is important, but I can't tell if the same is true of tori shogi. Although centered, the king (phoenix) seems rather well protected.