Impossible Spell Card/Gameplay

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This article covers the gameplay of Impossible Spell Card.

Gameplay

Controls

  • The Arrow Keys will move Seija Kijin around the screen, the only playable character
  • Shift slows the character's movement
  • Z causes a short barrage of shots to be fired; it may be held down for rapid fire
  • X will activate the item that is on the "Main" slot
  • Ctrl fast-forwards through any replay or dialogue
  • Esc pauses the game and brings you to the in-game menu
  • Q returns you to the title screen when the game is paused
  • R returns you to the beginning of the mission when the game is paused
  • Shift plus C in the pause screen returns you to the title screen.
  • Home or P produces a .bmp screenshot in the /snapshot directory. (Only works in 32-bit color mode.)
  • Alt plus Enter toggles fullscreen gameplay.

Item menu controls

On the mission select screen, press left or right to choose an item slot. Pressing Z again will toggle the item menu, from here you can choose one of your items to equip on the selected slot.

General gameplay

Impossible Spell Card plays almost like a normal Touhou Project shoot 'em up game; the objective is to clear Spell Cards by defeating the boss. A major difference is that the player has to choose spells from a list of "scenes", similar to Shoot the Bullet and Double Spoiler.

The main gimmick of the game is the usage of "cheat items" that give you the capability to clear the spell cards. The spell cards themselves are considered "impossible" to dodge (hence the game's title), so the items can be used to make them possible.

Items

The items mechanic introduced here allows the player to use items during Spell Cards. The effect of items go as follows:

Nimble Fabric: Seija will become invincible for the duration of the button press.
Tengu's Toy Camera: Allows Seija to clear enemy's bullets, like Aya Shameimaru's and Hatate Himekaidou's cameras.
Gap Folding Umbrella: Allows Seija to warp from side to side of the screens (both horizontally and vertically), similar to the gap used by Reimu Hakurei in aid of Yukari Yakumo in Subterranean Animism.
Bloodthirsty Yin-Yang Orb: After usage Seija teleports to the front of the boss. Holding the button allows Seija to change the location of the warp.
Four-Foot Magic Bomb: After usage it will stay on screen and detonate after a few seconds, clearing all the bullets in a set radius.
Ghastly Send-Off Lantern: After usage Seija will become invincible for the duration of the lantern. She can continue to attack.
Substitute Jizo: Allows Seija to survive some hits, equals to having extra lives in other Touhou games.
Cursed Decoy Doll: Tricks the boss into into aiming bullets at this doll rather than at Seija.
Miracle Mallet Replica: After a short delay, delivers heavy damage to the boss (must be at point blank).

Items can also be assigned to the Sub-item slot, in which they grant passive effects:

Nimble Fabric Sub: When Seija's item on the main slot runs out she can use the nimble fabric.
Tengu's Toy Camera Sub: Increases Seija's unfocused movement speed.
Gap Folding Umbrella Sub: Allows Seija to warp between the edges of the screen.
Bloodthirsty Yin-Yang Orb Sub: Seija's hitbox becomes smaller.
Four-Foot Magic Bomb Sub: Every time Seija uses an item on the main slot it will clear bullets in a small radius around her.
Ghastly Send-Off Lantern Sub: When Seija is hit, she can use her main item like a deathbomb.
Substitute Jizo Sub: Allows Seija to survive a single hit.
Cursed Decoy Doll Sub: Widens Seija's main shot.
Miracle Mallet Replica Sub: Powers up Seija's item on the main slot.

These are the bonus the Miracle Mallet Replica offers:

Nimble Fabric Sub: Increases usages.
Tengu's Toy Camera Sub: Increases usages and viewfinder size.
Gap Folding Umbrella Sub: Increases usages.
Bloodthirsty Yin-Yang Orb Sub: Increases usages.
Four-Foot Magic Bomb Sub: Increases blast radius.
Ghastly Send-Off Lantern Sub: Increases usage time.
Substitute Jizo Sub: Incrases number of hits Seija can survive.
Cursed Decoy Doll Sub: Increases usages and allows the doll to cancel bullets.
Miracle Mallet Replica Sub: Increases power and usages.

Unlockables

Levels (Days):
Unlocking Next Day: Clear 4 scenes from previous day.
Items:
Unlocking Bloodthirsty Yin-Yang Orb: Clear mission 1 from day 3.
Unlocking Four-Foot Magic Bomb: Clear mission 1 from day 3.
Unlocking Ghastly Send-Off Lantern: Clear mission 1 from day 3.
Unlocking Substitute Jizo: Clear mission 1 from day 5.
Unlocking Cursed Decoy Doll: Clear mission 1 from day 5.
Unlocking Miracle Mallet Replica: Clear mission 1 from day 5.
Unlocking Sub-items equip: Clear mission 1 from day 6.

Levelling up items

Items can level up for increased performance.

Each item tracks the number of scenes it has been used to clear. After a set amount of cleared scenes the item will level up. Levelling up has different effects, like increasing usages or times. Additionally, for each scene Seija clears without using any (main) items all the items she possesses will be awarded with the "scene" clear counter.

The following stats are increased when an item is levelled up:

Nimble Fabric: Usage count and maximum invincibility period.
Tengu's Toy Camera: Camera range and number of uses.
Gap Folding Umbrella: Amount of time Seija can hide off-screen.
Bloodthirsty Yin-Yang Orb: Number of times it can be used.
Four-Foot Magic Bomb: Usage count and blast radius.
Ghastly Send-Off Lantern: Duration of invincibility.
Substitute Jizo: Duration of invincibility after being hit and usage count.
Cursed Decoy Doll: Amount of time the decoy lasts and usage count.
Miracle Mallet Replica: Number of times it can be used.

Scoring

Score in Impossible Spell Card comes from three sources: spell card bonuses, grazing, and bullet canceling.

Spell Card Bonus

As the name of the game implies, most stages in the game contain spell cards. Each spell card, when declared, starts with a set bonus, which decreases over time, starting 5 seconds after the spell card starts.

The spell card bonus starts at out at a value equal to:

50,000 × (day number + 3)

When a spell is successfully captured (by depleting the boss's health before the timer reaches 0), the bonus is added to your score. Unlike bombs in other Touhou games, using items will not fail the spell card bonus.

Stage 3-7, "Fire Bird -Legend of Immortality-", is a special case. Whenever Fujiwara no Mokou's health is depleted, the spell card bonus is added, then the spell card is re-declared and can be captured again. The spell bonus is added one last time when the stage is cleared by the timer reaching 0.

An additional 100,000-point bonus is added when a stage is successfully survived or cleared

Grazing

Whenever a bullet comes dangerously close to Seija's hitbox, small items are released, adding from 10 to 1000 points.

PointItemCount = Min(Graze Count+Cancelled Bullet,1000)
PointItemRate  = PointItemCount/10
PointItemRate is the value that yielded by either grazing or cancelled bullet, it's value is always rounded up. 

Grazing is possible even while invincible from the Jizo statue item.

Most bullets can only be grazed once, but lasers and certain non-standard bullets (such as Mamizou Futatsuiwa's animal danmaku) can be continuously grazed as long as you are close to them.

There is no visible graze counter during gameplay, but the graze count is displayed after successfully clearing a scene.

Bullet canceling

At the end of a scene, any remaining bullets on-screen are converted into small items, which are auto-collected. This also occurs when bullets are canceled by a boss, such as with Aya's and Hatate's cameras, but not when canceling bullets with Seija's items. Bonus yielded by these small items does the same with grazing.

Strategy