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Ten Desires/Gameplay

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Title screen of the game



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 rapid fire
  • X releases a bomb, also known as a Spell Card or spiritual attack (presuming you have bombs left)
  • C causes entering the Spiritual Realm (presuming the Trance meter is full)
  • Shift slows the character's movement, and changes the nature of the character's shot; it generally makes your attacks more focused.
  • F10 switches between fullscreen and windowed mode
  • 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 stage 1 when the game is paused
  • Shift plus C in the pause screen returns you to the title screen.
  • Ctrl fast-forwards through any dialogue and replays
  • Home or P produces a .bmp screenshot in the /snapshot directory. (Only works in 32-bit color mode.)

Basic Gameplay

Ten Desires plays like a fairly typical vertically-scrolling 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 a 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 number and type of enemy Spell Cards used. Divine spirits also appear in greater numbers in Hard and Lunatic.


A character's "shot" is the player's primary method of attacking enemies. The shot's attack area and behavior varies depending on the character the player has chosen, as well as whether the player is focused or unfocused.

Point of Collection

Like previous Touhou games, there is a line most of the way up the screen called the point of collection. If you move your character at or above this line, all items on the screen will be drawn to your character. As with Mountain of Faith onward, you don't need to have full power or focus to use the POC - it's always available.


Like Undefined Fantastic Object, Ten Desires features bombs with distinctive visual styles that differ between characters. A character's "bomb" is the player's limited-use method of getting out of difficult situations. A bomb's attack area, duration, and power varies depending on the character type 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. The player's character becomes invincible during and for a short time after the bomb's effect wears off.

At the beginning of the game, you will start off with 2 bombs. Green divine spirits will give one bomb fragment (two in Trance mode); eight fragments are required per bomb. The doubled fragment in Trance mode will not carry over to the next bomb, however: if you have 7/8 fragments and you collect a green spirit in Trance mode, you'll have 0/8 fragments, not 1/8.

You can carry up to a maximum of 9 bombs at a time; the game only displays 8, but you continue to accumulate bomb fragments for a hidden 9th bomb. If you collect a green spirit when you already have 9 bombs, that bomb fragment will be lost. Like Undefined Fantastic Object, if the player loses a life the bomb counter only resets to default value of 2 if the player has less than 2 bombs — which means the player can always utilize all their accumulated bombs. In addition, accumulated bomb fragments are preserved when the player loses a life, whether the player had less than 2 bombs or not. The counter is reset to 0 upon continuing after a game over, however.

Also, as in Undefined Fantastic Object, bombing does not auto-collect every item on screen.

As usual, deathbombing is here. After being hit by a bullet, the player is given a very brief window of time to bomb and negate their death. The "death" sound effect will play, and the bomb will then activate.


You start off the game with 3 lives (that is, 2 extra lives). You can lose a life by getting "hit" by an enemy attack.

The hit box for your character is quite small in comparison to your on-screen sprite, approximately only 5 pixels by 5 pixels in size. If you hold Shift, a colored dot will appear, showing the hitbox precisely. 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.

In Ten Desires, the player's life stock is represented by hearts. Purple divine spirits give one life fragment (two in Trance mode). The number of fragments required for an extra life depends on the number of extra lives already gained, with the requirement being 8 fragments for the first extra life, then increasing to 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, and 25 for successive lives. Unlike bomb fragments, doubled life fragments in Trance mode do carry over towards the next life: for example, if you have 14/15 fragments and you collect a purple spirit while in Trance mode, you'll have 1/18 fragments.

You can carry up to a maximum of 9 extra lives at a time; the game only displays 8, but you continue to accumulate life fragments for a hidden 9th life. If you collect a purple spirit when you already have 9 extra lives, that life fragment will be lost.

When you lose a life, you also lose 1.00 Power points (0.07 are scattered for you to collect); however, your power cannot decrease below 1.00. Also, all the bullets on the screen are cleared, and you become invulnerable for a short period of time.

Upon losing all their lives, the player is given the choice to continue right where they left off. However, if you do continue, your current score will be reset back to 0 + the number of times you have continued, your number of life and bomb fragments will be reset to 0 (but the number of life fragments required for the next extra life will remain unchanged), you will not be able to save a replay after continuing, and you will reach the "Bad Ending" if you finish the game. You may continue up to 3 times on Easy and Normal, 6 times on Hard, and 9 times on Lunatic.

Boss Battles

The main challenge and the main attraction. Each boss has multiple lives, which are represented by stars shown at the upper left of the screen. Bosses usually alternate between attacking normally and attacking with Spell Cards, switching once with each health bar. Markers on the health bar indicate the start of a Spell Card attack when the boss' health is depleted that far.

Normal attacks are typically incrementally stronger versions of the boss character's basic attack. Spell Card attacks bedazzle the player with combinations of complex patterns that often involve the use of projectiles and obstacles crafted especially for use with that Spell Card. If the player manages to defeat a Spell Card attack without getting hit, using any bombs, or spending any time in the spiritual world during the attack, a substantial score bonus is rewarded for the feat.

Each attack is accompanied by a timer. When time runs out, the boss will switch to their next attack pattern even if their health bar isn't empty. Waiting for a boss character's attack pattern to self-destruct may be enough to beat them, but mere survival won't earn the player any score bonuses. The exception is when the boss is invulnerable for the duration of the spell card; in this case the player will receive the bonus on survival.

When fighting a boss, a position marker shows up on the bottom margin of the screen, indicating where the boss is on the horizontal axis. Since your target can be completely obscured by bullets or darkness at times, use this marker to help you aim your shots. The marker will dim when the boss is being hit, and will flash red when her health bar gets sufficiently depleted.


There are 4 characters to choose from in Ten Desires, and like Subterranean Animism, every character has their own unique special abilities.

  • Reimu: Homing amulets and needles
  • Marisa: Lasers and missiles
  • Sanae: Mighty wind and blast
  • Youmu: Sword slash

Screen Layout

Screen layout
  1. Your character
  2. Player Score
    • High Score: your highest score for the current character, type, and difficulty
    • Score: your current score
  3. The number of remaining lives and bombs / The approximate location of the point of collection
    • Right numbers: purple / green divine spirits needed for an extra life / bomb
  4. Player Status
    • Power: your shot power level, maxing out at 4.00
    • Point value: the maximum points achievable of the point items
    • Graze: the number of enemy shots that have grazed your hitbox during the game
  5. Enemy Status
    • Stars: the number of health bars the enemy has left
    • Middle number: the amount of time left before the enemy's attack spell fails (self-destructs)
  6. Trance meter
  7. Spell Card Status
    • Title: the name of the Spell Card being used
    • Bonus: the constantly-updating value of the Spell Card Bonus
    • History: the number of times you have "collected" the Spell Card currently being used, and the number of times you have faced it.

Unlockable Features

  • Stage Practice: This feature allows a shottype to practice a stage that they have reached in a full game run. You begin with 9 lives and full power. If you lose all your lives, you can't continue.
  • Extra Stage: By beating the game on Normal difficulty or higher with a certain shottype, the Extra Stage is unlocked for said shottype.

Full Unlock Code

To unlock all unlockable content at once, navigate to the Extra Marisa records in Player Data and type out beerislife. If done correctly, the 1up sound effect will play and the practice mode stages as well as the Extra Stage will be unlocked for all shottypes.



Any damage you deal to any 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 is not a significant amount at all. However, destroyed enemies release items for you to collect, and those are very important for scoring as covered below.

Point Items

As its name implies, point items are a 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 defined maximum. You can easily tell when you are collecting point items for their maximum value, since they show the value in yellow text. The auto-item-collect line is the same height as the height where point items reach their maximum value, so take advantage of this fact wherever you can for massive points. As in Undefined Fantastic Object, autocollected items are still worth their full value if you happen to leave the autocollect area before items contact your hitbox, or if they're autocollected in another manner such as after defeating a boss.

The point items' starting value depends on the chosen difficulty:

Difficulty Start value Maximum value
Easy 5,000 100,000
Normal 10,000 250,000
Hard 15,000 500,000
Lunatic 20,000 500,000
Extra 20,000 500,000
Overdrive 100,000 1,000,000

The point item value is increased by 10 points for each blue spirit collected (100 points during trance mode), plus:

(number of enemy bullets canceled / 10) + (graze counter) 

This is rounded down to the nearest 10. Enemy bullets canceled can come from finishing a boss attack, or using a bomb. When the point item value reaches the maximum value, it cannot increase further.

On Overdrive difficulty, blue spirits will not increase the point item value.

Power Items

Power items increase your power gauge by 0.01. Power items collected at full power will give you 10000 points.


Divine spirits are dropped by defeated enemies, as well as by bosses after defeating a spell card (with the exception of the last spell card in a stage). Any enemy in the game can drop blue and gray spirits, while green and purple spirits are only dropped after boss spell cards and by specific enemies at predetermined points in the stage. Additional enemies with green/purple spirits may appear if you kill those specific enemies fast enough (usually before they fire their second salve of bullets).

In order to make blue spirits appear, enemies must be defeated very quickly after appearing on screen. Each enemy will produce up to a certain number of blue spirits if defeated (depending on the difficulty and type of enemy); however, the longer you take to defeat an enemy, the fewer spirits will appear when it's defeated, with no spirits at all appearing if you take too long.

In addition, bosses will continuously drop blue (and possibly gray) spirits while they are damaged; this also occurs with some normal enemies that have a large amount of health. The rate at which the spirits appear increases the closer the character is to the enemy/boss. This can be anywhere from almost none at long distances, to 3+/second when the character is very close.

If at least 10 blue spirits are produced in a short amount of time, gray spirits will appear in addition to the blue spirits. The player is alerted to the presence of gray spirits by a distinct sound effect that plays when they appear. As long as the player continues to defeat enemies quickly enough or shoot a boss at a close enough range, gray spirits will continue to drop. However, if exactly one second passes without a blue spirit appearing, gray spirits will cease to appear, and the player must build up their "combo" once again.

Spirits will persist for approximately 10 seconds, shrinking in size before dissipating. The speed at which spirits are collected does not affect their value— a spirit collected the moment it appears yields the same value as collecting one just before it dissipates.

Collecting a divine spirit will fill the trance gauge slightly. Each type of divine spirit has unique effects as follows:

Blue: Adds +10 to the player's point item value (+100 while in a trance state). Gives 1% of one flame of the trance gauge (1.5% for Sanae).

Gray: Acts as a point item, granting points equal to the player's point item value. Fills the trance gauge to a greater degree than other spirits. Gives 1.5% of one flame of the trance gauge.

Green: Adds +1 to the player's bomb meter (+2 while in a trance state). An extra bomb is awarded for every 8 bomb points the player collects. Gives 1% of one flame of the trance gauge.

Purple: Adds +1 to the player's extend meter (+2 while in a trance state). The first extend is granted at 8 extend points, with the amount required increasing for each successive life (see the Lives section for details). Gives 1% of one flame of the trance gauge.

Trance Mode

The Trance gauge consists of zero to three flames that are built up by collecting divine spirits. The player begins the game with one flame, and can collect up to a max stock of three. Pressing the 'C' button when all 3 gauges are full will trigger a powerful, 10 second long trance state, where the character gets an upgraded shot type and is not damaged by enemy bullets. While in a trance state, the divine spirits take on a new shape in which not only are they easier to see, but all types except gray spirits are increased in value. Blue spirits have x10 effectiveness, while purple and green have x2 effectiveness. In addition, if a character is struck by an enemy bullet while there is at least one full flame in the trance gauge, the trance-state will automatically trigger, with the loss of a life once the timer runs down. The duration of the death trance depends on the amount of gauge collected to that point.

When a trance (whether activated manually or upon receiving damage) expires, the player's trance gauge is reset to 0. In-game dialog will force the trance mode to deactivate; if the trance was activated manually one additional flame will be subtracted but any remaining spirit gauge will be retained, while if the trance was activated on death the player dies as normal. You can also make a deathtrance, similar to a deathbomb: if your trance gauge is full, press the C key within a short time after being hit, and your character will not die after the trance mode wears off.

Except for a short period at the start of the attack, being in trance mode during a boss's spellcard will cause you to lose its capture bonus. This applies even if the player entered trance mode before the spellcard was activated.

Spell Card Bonus

Occasionally, a boss will attack using a Spell Card. You will know this is happening when the background changes and the Spell Card's name appears in the upper right corner of the screen. If the boss's health bar is depleted within the time limit and without getting hit, using a bomb, or activating a trance state, the Spell Card bonus will be added to your score.

The bonus starts at out at a value equal to:

1 million * (stage number + difficulty value)

with difficulty value being:

Easy 0
Normal 1
Hard 2
Lunatic 3
Extra 4
Overdrive 5

Extra is considered to be stage 7 in the formula.

Except for Mamizou Futatsuiwa's "Mamizou Danmaku in Ten Transformations", the bonus decreases over time, starting 5 seconds after the spell card starts. The bonus decreases at a constant rate of:

0.75*(starting value)/(time limit in seconds - 5) per second

Clear Bonus

At the end of a stage, the player is awarded a clear bonus.

(stage * 1 million)

At the end of the game, the player is awarded a clear bonus as well.

Easy: (stage bonus (6 million) + 1 million * lives + 0.25 million * bombs)
Normal: (stage bonus (6 million) + 3 million * lives + 1 million * bombs)
Hard: (stage bonus (6 million) + 5 million * lives + 1.5 million * bombs)
Lunatic: (stage bonus (6 million) + 10 million * lives + 2 million * bombs)
Extra: (stage bonus (7 million) + 40 million * lives + 4 million * bombs)


This is a list of known glitches, bugs or other unusual capabilities that aren't supposed to be part of the original gameplay.

Glitches reported only in past versions:

  • Mamizou crash: The game will crash at the end of Mamizou's timeout Spell Card, unless you bomb during the last 3-4 seconds before the card ends.
  • User replay bug: User replays, that is th13_udXXXX.rpy, do not work whatsoever. Unfortunately, this means you can only have up to 25 replays viewable in-game at a time; user replays must be renamed to e.g. th13_01.rpy or th13_25.rpy.
  • Spell Practice nonspell bug: In Spell Practice mode, the first Spell Card in both Stage 4 and Stage 5 on Lunatic plays the nonspell instead.
  • Spell Practice freeze: In Spell Practice, the game can freeze if trying to access a Spell Card set for which none have been unlocked.
  • Stage 3 replay crash: Replays may crash the game at Stage 3.[citation needed]
  • Bomb/skip bug: At some point during the game, a character's bomb cannot be activated and dialog cannot be skipped.[citation needed] Once this occurs on one character, the rest of the characters have the same issue. This can be solved by exiting the game and reopening it.
  • Replay glitch: If you clear the game with at least one death, the replay screen will be bugged. During a replay, you can move and shoot on your own, without harming the replay itself. Fixed as of v1.00a.
  • Youmu selection bug: Youmu is not remembered as the last selected character. If you go back to the Difficulty Select screen and then to Player Select again, Sanae Kochiya is selected. Fixed as of v1.00a.
  • Yoshika crash: Beating Yoshika can crash the game. This is caused by her final Spell Card, likely due to her trying to absorb a spirit to replenish health while she has no health left. Fixed as of v1.00a.
  • Nonspell skip glitch: If you don't skip Kyouko, Kogasa's, or Yoshika's dialogue, and let it naturally play, their battles will start at their first Spell Card, skipping their first nonspell. This might be because the nonspell's timer runs out during the dialogue. Fixed as of v1.00a.

Glitches reported in the full version:

  • Marisa replay desync: Marisa replays will always eventually desync if not started from Stage 1, forcing you to watch them fully. This is not the case for other characters.
  • Stage 1 midboss glitch: The Stage 1 midboss can keep spawning enemies after the fight. This happens when it is defeated on the same frame as it spawns an enemy. The enemies will keep spawning for a while after the fight, also firing circles of blue bullets. Video of the bug occurring.}}
  • Youmu option glitch: When the player presses shift immediately after a boss at the end of the stage, Youmu's spirit script that the player sees around Youmu when on focus will stay in place around her while unfocused. When the player presses focus again on the next stage, the spirits will stay in one place on the screen through the whole game, even after continuing. Youmu is still shown with spirits around her after focusing again, but this doesn't remove the bug spirits.
  • Trance FPS bug: On older computers, FPS drops slightly after every Trance Mode.[citation needed] It returns to normal at the beginning of each stage.
  • Retry glitch: In the Extra Stage, when out of continues, the "Retry" option is not selectable, but it can be made selected again by saving a replay and then coming back. If chosen, the game starts over, as if the player had selected "Give up and Retry".
  • Youmu hitbox error: The game says that Youmu's hitbox will become smaller while she is charging, but actually, this never happens. Her hitbox is always the same during the gameplay, just like everyone else's.
  • Timer glitch: During boss fights, the timer shown at the top of the screen may become misaligned after clearing a Spell Card or nonspell. The timer fixes itself again once the next attack begins.
  • Misplaced Futo marker: There is a health bar marker on Futo's final Spell Card that is placed at the end of her health bar although there is nothing after the Spell Card ends except the boss's defeat. Additionally, in all difficulties, there is a phase change (that has her notably spread blue amulets across the entire screen on higher difficulties) nearly after halfway through the Spell Card's health bar that isn't displayed with a phase marker, making it appear as if the marker at the end of the Spell Card is misplaced.
  • Boss position bug: In Spell Practice mode, some Spell Cards have the boss positioned higher on the screen than they are supposed to be. The spells affected by this bug are Yuyuko's second and third spells, Seiga's first boss spell, Futo's second spell and Miko's final spell. Additionally, for Miko's fifth and sixth spells, she is positioned slightly lower than intended.
  • Miko missing aura: Miko's aura is present during her final Spell Card on Spell Practice, but is missing during stage practice and regular runs. Additionally, one can hear the sound effects used when Miko summons her aura before she declares the Spell Card during runs or stage practice.
  • Tojiko sprite glitch: This is hard to observe without slowing down the game in a replay, but in Spell Practice, if you capture Soga no Tojiko's Spell Card, her sprite will change into that of Mononobe no Futo.
  • Extra Midboss missing artwork: Nue Houjuu's artwork doesn't show up when declaring any of her spellcards.
  • Kyouko life count error: Kyouko doesn't display any lives during her first health bar in her boss fight, when it should display 2.

The following apply to multiple games, including Ten Desires:

  • Missing "Game Over" message: the "Game Over" banner does not appear if you get a Game Over, even though graphics for it (identical to that used in Fairy Wars) exist in the game files. This glitch would persist in Double Dealing Character.
  • Slowdown glitch: If you die while the game is slowed down, you lose more power than you should. This is due to the slowdown being implemented as frames running multiple times, including the frame on which power is lost. In the case of TD specifically, this glitch also means that you generate more grey spirits when you die during slowdown. This is used in score runs to gain more points from Miko's final Spell Card.
  • Practice replay crash: During a replay of a Practice run, the game will crash when attempting to add the clear bonus. Stage 6 is exempt from this, possibly because it lacks post-battle dialogue.
  • Fantasy Seal piercing glitch: Reimu's bomb, Fantasy Seal, can pierce invincibility. She can deal a very slight amount of damage to Mamizou during her Spell Cards in the Extra Stage. This is most likely due to the splash damage of Fantasy Seal extending beyond those frames. Video of this glitch.
  • Manual glitch: If the manual is opened from the main menu 15 or more times, this has strange effects on the difficulty selection screen. After selecting a difficulty and then returning to the difficulty screen, it will be all garbled up. Selecting this garbled up difficulty and then selecting a shot causes a "run" of the Extra Stage on Hard mode to begin, in which nothing happens, or various other weird combinations.
  • Spritesheet glitch: On very rare occasions, the game will load incorrectly, resulting in erratic behaviour during gameplay. The game will randomly and rapidly flash chunks of the entire spritesheet during play. If it occurs, the game stays this way until it's closed.
  • Extra Midboss life count error: The Extra stage midboss never shows any life count, when 2 and 1 should be displayed for the first and second spellcards respectively.
  • Extra final card missing life markers: Mamizou's final Spell Card doesn't show any health bar markers, when the pace of the rings she fires increases after getting past certain HP thresholds. The health bar marker displayed in-game is a dummy leftover that carried on from the health bar from the 8th nonspell and spell and is misplaced.