Mystic Square/Gameplay

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Title screen of the game

This article describes the overall gameplay and background information for Mystic Square.

Gameplay

Controls

The game may be played using either a keyboard or a gamepad. Keyboard controls are as follows:

  • The Arrow Keys move the character around
  • Z causes a short barrage of shots to be fired; it may be held down for rapidfire
  • X releases a bomb (equivalent to the spell card in the Windows era)
  • Shift slows the character's movement
  • Esc pauses the game and brings you to the in-game menu

Basic Gameplay

Mystic Square plays like a fairly typical vertically-scrolling Touhou Project danmaku shooting game, in which the player's character is always facing towards the top of the screen, shooting at anything that moves, avoiding and weaving between enemy bullets, and confronting difficult bosses at the end of each stage.

There are 4 levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Lunatic. Each difficulty level features differences in the number of bullets fired by each enemy, rate of fire, variations in the bullets' pattern of movement, and the intensity of enemy phrases used.

The player will traverse 6 increasingly harrowing stages through the course of this game. Once the game has been completed without continuing on any difficulty, an optional Extra Stage is unlocked, available for play with any character that has accomplished that feat. The Extra Stage features significantly stronger and faster stage enemies, an extremely difficult midboss and boss battle, and no option to continue if all lives are lost.

Shot

A character's "shot" is the player's primary method of attacking enemies. While the shot's attack area and behavior varies depending on the character the player has chosen, the shot can be powered up by filling up the Power Level by collecting power items. Small items increase your power level by 1, large items by 10. The shot gradually becomes more powerful when the player reaches the Power Levels of 11, 15, 31, 47, 71, 95, and 127 (MAX), respectively. When the player reaches MAX power, all bullets on the screen cancel out.

Bomb

A character's "bomb" is the player's limited-use method of getting out of difficult situations, which is equivalent to the spell card from the Windows era. A bomb's duration and power varies depending on the character the player has chosen, but it typically deals heavy damage to every enemy it touches, in addition to canceling out any bullets in the bomb's way, as well as auto-collecting every item on screen. However, bomb use isn't an effective method for collecting point items, as during a bomb's effect any point items that enemies would drop are replaced by power items. The player's character becomes invincible during and for a short time after the bomb's effect wears off. By default, at the beginning of the game, and any time your character respawns, you'll start off with 3 bombs. You can select between 0 and 3 number of bombs in the Option menu. Bomb items will increase your current stock by one.

Lives

With default settings, you'll start off with 3 lives (that is, 2 extra lives). You can lose a life by getting "hit" by an enemy attack. You can choose between 1 to 6 number of lives in the Option menu.

The hit box for the player character is quite small in comparison to your on-screen sprite, approximately only 5 pixels by 5 pixels in size. It's not clearly marked on the sprite, but it's possible to approximate it's location well by looking at certain areas of each character's sprite:

  • Reimu Hakurei: her head
  • Marisa Kirisame: where her long yellow hair ends / the center of her back
  • Mima: where her hair ends / the center of her back
  • Yuuka: the center of the back of her top, beneath her hair

If the hit box of your character's sprite comes into contact with the hit box of an enemy bullet, laser, or the enemy itself, then you have been hit. Although it isn't as obvious as in the Windows games, deathbombing does exist. After being hit by a bullet, the player is given a very brief window of time to bomb and negate their death.

When you lose a life, you also lose 16 points on your power level. One large power item, and four other items that are randomly either power items or point items, are scattered and can be collected. If the life was your last life, your power will be reset to 0, but all five of these items will be full power items instead.

The player is awarded an extra life every 100 point items (this'll also cancel all bullets on screen), as well as by collecting 1up items. There doesn't appear to be a limit to the number of extra lives you can have at any one time; with default settings it's possible to reach 9 extra lives in the main game, by collecting at least 500 point items and both 1up items without dying.

Upon losing all their lives, the player is given the choice to continue right where they left off. If choosing not to continue, then it's game over, but if you do continue, your current score will be reset back to 0 and you won't be able to reach the "Good Ending"; instead, you'll "Bad Ending" if you finish the game. You may continue up to 3 times.

Rank

There exists a rank system in this game. As the rank increases, enemy bullets will generally become faster and more plentiful. This effect that the rank has in this game is most prominent with boss attacks, where the bullet difference between minimum and maximum rank can differ by a factor of 4 or more.

Factors that increase rank:

  • Play Time
  • Getting extra lives
  • Point items collected in a single stage
  • Collecting items during a bomb (Bomb Bonus)
  • High Clear Bonus
  • Attaining full power and getting power items
  • Clearing a stage without getting hit
  • Clearing a stage without using bombs

Factors that decrease rank:

  • Getting hit
  • Letting items go off-screen (not including power items)
  • Low Clear Bonus
  • Timing out on boss attacks

Character Statistics

There are four characters to choose from, each of which features a unique style of attack. The player decides which character to play at the start of the game.

Shrine Maiden (巫女さん): Reimu Hakurei

Basic Performance
Attack Power: ★
Movement Speed: ★
Attack Range: ★★★★★
Bomb Duration: ★★★★
Bomb Power: ★
Shrine Maiden; Homing Type
Main Firepower: Homing Card Shot
Summary: Excellent against swarms of weak enemies, but less effective against bosses.

Magician (魔法使いさん): Marisa Kirisame

Basic Performance
Attack Power: ★★★★★
Movement Speed: ★★★
Attack Range: ★★
Bomb Duration: ★★
Bomb Power: ★★★★★
Magic-User; Forward Concentrated Type
Main Firepower: Magic Missile
Summary: Though weak at low power levels, at MAX power, Marisa is the most powerful character in the game.

Vengeful Spirit (悪霊さん): Mima

Basic Performance
Attack Power: ★★★★★
Movement Speed: ★★★★★
Attack Range: ★
Bomb Duration: ★
Bomb Power: ★★★★
Ghost; High-Speed Shot Type
Main Firepower: Energy Shower
Summary: Performs well against stage enemies, but can encounter difficulty against bosses.

Youkai (妖怪さん): Yuuka

Basic Performance
Attack Power: ★★
Movement Speed: ★
Attack Range: ★★★★★
Bomb Duration: ★★★★★
Bomb Power: ★★
Youkai; Wide-Range Type
Main Firepower: Flower Shot
Summary: Excels in having a good range with bombs and regular fire; overall easy to use.

Screen Layout

Th05ScreenLayout.png
  1. Your character
  2. Player Score
    • HiScore: displays your highest score for the current character and difficulty
    • Score: your current score
  3. Enemy Health Bar
  4. Player Stock
    • "Bomb" (靈撃): the number of remaining bombs
    • "Reimu" (靈夢): the number of remaining lives
  5. Player Status
    • "Total (累計): displays the total number of Point Items collected throughout the game
    • "Points" (): displays how many Point Items you collected during this stage
    • "Graze" (): displays how many times enemy shots have grazed your hit box during this stage
  6. Dream (): displays your current dream bonus value
  7. Power (靈力): displays your shot power level
  8. Difficulty Setting
  9. Boss enemy (this been the midboss Wheel Demon)

NB: 靈撃, 靈夢 and 靈力 are replaced with "Bomb", "Player" and "Power" respectively if not playing as Reimu Hakurei.

Scoring

Scoring works similar to many other Touhou Project games in many aspects. Listed below are the details for how points are given in Mystic Square.

Enemies

Any damage you deal to any stage enemy, whether it be caused by your shots or your bombs, will cause your score to increase very slightly. Actually destroying enemies will award you slightly more points, but the points earned from this are around the range of hundreds to thousands of points per enemy. This isn't a significant amount at all. However, enemies shoot bullets for you to "graze" and release items for you to collect, and those are very important for scoring as covered below.

Grazing

"Grazing a bullet" means to have a bullet come dangerously close to your hitbox, or touching the character's sprite. Each graze will add a certain number of points to your score, specific to the difficulty setting, and will increase your "Graze number" by 1, which is used to calculate the Clear bonus. You can only graze 999 bullets per stage; any more won't increase your score or clear bonus.

Easy    : 250
Normal  : 500
Hard    : 1000
Lunatic : 2000
Extra   : 5000

You can only graze a bullet once, so you won't gain any additional points or graze by following a bullet. Lasers cannot be grazed (this doesn't include the laser-like bullets fired by some stage 5 enemies and Extra Alice's 5th/6th phases, which can be grazed), and neither can certain types of bullets, like Yumeko's largest sword bullet and Shinki's large round bullets.

Point Items

As the name implies, point items are the major source of points in the game. The higher up on the screen you collect them, the more points they are worth, up to a maximum of 51,200 points. You can easily tell when you are collecting point items for their maximum value, since they show the value in yellow text.

An important thing to keep in mind is that point items collected even a pixel below the maximum value threshold are only worth anywhere from 28,000 points (just below the maximum-value line) to 2000 points (very bottom of screen with an empty dream gauge). This is a non-trivial difference, so do your best to collect items without prematurely retreating down to the lower parts of the screen. However, when the dream gauge is at MAX, point items can be collected anywhere on screen for a much higher value (see:Dream Gauge System). The number of point items collected per stage is used to calculate the Clear bonus, to be discussed later.

Power Items

While your shot isn't fully powered up, power items are worth only 10 points. However, once the maximum shot power has been reached, each additional power item collected will be worth more than the previous one collected, up to a maximum of 12,800 points per power item. Unlike point items, power items will award you the same number of points anywhere on the screen. However, if you lose a life and your power level to less than maximum, power items will be worth only 10 points just like the beginning, and you'll have to start this process over again. The progression is as follows: 10, 20, 30... 100, 200, 300... 1000, 1500, 2000... 10000, 10500, 11000, 12000, 12500, 12800. In other words, it takes 42 power items to get from a value of 10 to 12,800.

Large power items act the same as normal power items, except that when you are at maximum shot power, they increase the current value of power items as if you have collected 5 normal power items. However, if a large power item is collected when the power item worth is at maximum (12,800), then the player receives 25,600 points (12,800 × 2) instead.

Full power items (F), as well as bomb items and 1up items, are worth 1000 points.

Dream Gauge System

The game's proprietary scoring system resembles many of the properties of Perfect Cherry Blossom's Cherry system, but also differs in a number of ways.

The dream gauge () is displayed at the bottom-right corner of the screen, directly above the power level meter. As certain conditions are met, the gauge is increased or decreased accordingly. As the gauge increases, the point on the screen where point items can be collected for maximum value gradually moves lower.

The dream gauge level increases when:

  • A dream item is collected (fills gauge to MAX)
  • A point item is collected at 51,200 value
  • A power item is collected for the maximum potential worth (12,800 or 25,600)
  • A stage enemy is on screen (the more enemies, the faster the gauge fills up)

The dream gauge level decreases when:

  • A life is lost (decreases gauge by ½ of its maximum, or ¼ if a boss is present)
  • A bomb is used (decreases gauge by an amount proportional to the character's bomb duration, halved if a boss is present)
  • A point item falls from the field area (doesn't occur when at dream gauge MAX)

When the gauge fills completely (MAX) and turns white, all bullets on screen will be canceled. Additionally, for as long as the dream gauge remains at MAX, the value of all point items increases tremendously, to a difficulty level-specific value, and point items may be collected at any location on the screen for that value.

Easy    : 60,000
Normal  : 100,000
Hard    : 150,000
Lunatic : 200,000
Extra   : 400,000

Additionally, dream items are worth 128,000 if the dream gauge is already at MAX.

Boss Phase Bonus

All bullets on screen are nullified when you defeat an attack pattern of a boss or midboss (by depleting part of their current health bar or defeating them). After most (but not all) boss phases, you also receive a fixed number of points, which are awarded immediately, and displayed as several yellow 12,800s. This bonus is not connected to the enemy bullet bonus below.

After most boss phases, the boss also drops 1 large power item and 4 small power items if not at full power, or 5 point items if at full power. This does not occur with midbosses, or the final phase of bosses. These items do not appear if you time out a phase by taking too long to deplete its health bar.

Enemy Bullet Bonus

When you defeat a midboss or boss, all enemy bullets on screen are tallied up and contributed to a bullet cancel bonus. The more enemy bullets there are on screen, the higher this bonus becomes, with each successive bullet increasing in value up to a maximum of 12,800 points per bullet (9,600 in Easy, 16,000 in Extra). This bonus isn't awarded if you time out the boss's final pattern.

For Alice in the Extra, this bonus is awarded every time you deplete the health of one of her phases, not just at the end. In addition, after all phases except her final, up to 35 point items will appear in place of the canceled bullets (in addition to the usual 5 point or power items). Like with other bosses, this won't be awarded if you time out a phase by taking too long to deplete its health bar.

There's also a very small amount of points gained every time bullets are cleared in any way (including by finishing a boss phase, dying, bombing, reaching full power or maximum dream bonus, or gaining an extend from point items), that's not connected to either of the previous bonuses.

Clear Bonus

At the end of each stage, the player is awarded a point bonus based on their performance throughout the stage. The bonus is calculated as follows:

Stage number  ×  1000 (stage number)
Dream bonus   ×   100 (numerical worth of dream gauge value - ranges from 0 to 128)
Graze count   ×    50 (graze count)

If the stage happened to be the last or Extra stage, a stage bonus of 10000 is used instead, and the following is added:

Lives remaining in stock × 10000

This combined total is then multiplied by the number of point items collected in that stage.

No-Miss Bonus

Bonus points are added if you manage to complete a stage without dying:

Stage 1     : 100,000
Stage 2     : 150,000
Stage 3     : 200,000
Stage 4     : 250,000
Stage 5     : 300,000
Stage 6     : 500,000
Extra Stage : 500,000

No-Bomb Bonus

If you complete a stage without dying and receive the No-Miss Bonus, you may also collect the No-Bomb Bonus if you managed to complete that stage without using a single bomb:

Stage 1     : 100,000
Stage 2     : 150,000
Stage 3     : 200,000
Stage 4     : 250,000
Stage 5     : 300,000
Stage 6     : 500,000
Extra Stage : 500,000

If the stage happened to be the last or Extra stage, the following is added:

Total number of point items collected × 2500

Finally, depending on the conditions you played under, the result is multiplied by these modifiers, rounded down to the nearest 10:

4 Initial Lives:    × 0.7
5 Initial Lives:    × 0.5
6 Initial Lives:    × 0.3
Easy Difficulty:    × 0.5
Normal Difficulty:  × 1.0
Hard Difficulty:    × 1.2
Lunatic Difficulty: × 1.4
// There is no multiplier bonus for Extra difficulty //
1 Continue Used:    × 0.8
2 Continues Used:   × 0.6
3 Continues Used:   × 0.4
Boss's final phase was timed out: × 0.0

The end result is then added on to your score.

Achievements

Bad Endings

To view the bad endings, finish the game on any difficulty having used one or more continues:

Good Endings

To view the good endings and the Extra Stage, finish the game on any difficulty without continuing once:

  • For Good Ending No. 1, use Reimu Hakurei.
  • For Good Ending No. 2, use Marisa Kirisame.
  • For Good Ending No. 3, use Mima.
  • For Good Ending No. 4, use Yuuka.

Extra Endings

To view the extra endings, beat the Extra Stage. It's not possible to continue in the Extra Stage.

  • For Extra Ending No. 1, use Reimu Hakurei.
  • For Extra Ending No. 2, use Marisa Kirisame.
  • For Extra Ending No. 3, use Mima.
  • For Extra Ending No. 4, use Yuuka.