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.)
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.
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
- Your character
- Player Score
- High Score: your highest score for the current character, type, and difficulty
- Score: your current score
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- Trance meter
- 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.
- Youmu is not remembered as the last selected character. Fixed: 1.00a
- Replays may crash the game at Stage 3. Affects: unspecified
- Can't activate bomb or skip dialog. Needs confirmation. Affects: unspecified There appears to be a bug where at some point during the game, a character's bomb cannot be activated and dialog cannot be skipped.
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.
- Game crashes during Stage 3 boss. Fixed: 1.00a Players have reported the game crashing at the very end of Yoshika Miyako's third Spellcard, the likely explanation being that she tries to absorb a spirit to replenish health when she has no health left at the time. This has been fixed in the 1.00a release.
- Youmu's options glitch when pressing shift after stage boss. Affects: unspecified This is a bit odd when using Youmu. 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. See a video of this bug on YouTube.
- Replay mode broken when finishing the game after dying. Needs confirmation. Fixed: ? Affected: 0.01a
If you play the game and dies at least once and then finish the game, the replay screen will be bugged. During a replay you can move and shoot on your own, without harming the replay itself.
- First non-spellcard is not played if dialogue is not skipped. Fixed: 1.00a If you don't skip Kyouko, Kogasa's, or Yoshika's dialogue, and let it naturally play, they will start their battles skipping their first noncard. This may occur because their first noncard's timer may run during the dialogue instead of after it, as it should.
- Some Spell Practice stages play non-spellcards instead. Fixed: 1.00c In a full version when you access Spell Practice, stage 5, spellcard 1, lunatic, you are given a nonspell instead of a spellcard. The same with Spell Practice, stage 4, spellcard 1, lunatic.
- In Spell Practice, the game can freeze if trying to access a spellcard set for which none have been unlocked. Fixed: 1.00c
- Replay files not recognized Fixed: 1.00c Affected: 0.01a, 1.00a
Both the trial 0.01a and the full 1.00a do not recognize the th13_udXXXX.rpy type of replays.
- Game crashes after the Extra boss. Fixed: 1.00c
- On older computers FPS drops after Trance Mode. Affects: unspecified On older computers, FPS drops slightly after every Trance Mode. It returns to normal at the beginning of each stage.
- On pause menu, "Retry" can be made selectable by saving a replay. Needs confirmation. Affects: 1.00c When out of continues, the "Retry" option is not selectable, but 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".
- Reimu's bombs can damage extra boss' spellcards. Affects: 1.00c Reimu's bomb, Fantasy Seal, can cause a very slight amount of damage to Mamizou during a spellcard at the end of her invincibility frames. This is most likely due to the splash damage of Fantasy Seal extending beyond those frames. The same bug exists in Touhou 12. See the video of this bug here.
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.
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|
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 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 approximately 2 seconds pass 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. In addition, 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).
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.
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.
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).
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:
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
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)