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- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Scoring
- 3 Glitches
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 (presuming you have bombs left);
- ⇧ Shift slows the character's movement and changes the nature of the character's shot; it generally makes your attacks more focused;
- C activates the currently selected Active Card;
- D cycles through your Active Cards;
- Esc pauses the game and brings you to the in-game menu;
- Q returns you to the title screen when the game is paused;
- 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).
Unconnected Marketeers plays like a fairly typical vertically-scrolling danmaku shooting game like the rest of the Touhou Project games, 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 type of enemy spell cards used.
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 and attack type the player has chosen, as well as the player's power level and whether the player is focused or unfocused.
Point of Collection
Like previous Touhou games, there's 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.
Bomb (Player Spell Card)
Like its predecessors, the game features bombs (actually "Spell Cards") with distinctive visual styles and behaviors 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, as well as automatically collecting every item on screen.
At the beginning of the game, you will start off with 3 bombs. Extra bombs are obtained with certain Ability Cards.
You can carry up to a maximum of 8 bombs at a time. If you collect a bomb fragment when you already have 8 bombs, that bomb fragment will be lost. Like in the earlier Touhou games, on dying the number of bombs will reset to the initial value of 3 bombs. Accumulated bomb fragments are preserved when the player loses a life. The counter is reset to 0 upon continuing after a game over, however.
As usual, deathbombing is possible. 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.
The hit box for your character is quite small in comparison to your on-screen sprite, approximately only 5×5 in pixel size. If you hold Shift, a white dot will appear, showing the hitbox precisely. If the hit box of a character comes into contact with the hit box of an enemy bullet, laser, or the enemy itself, then you have been hit.
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.
In this game, the player's life stock is represented by a health bar with hearts. Extra lives are obtained with certain Ability Cards.
You can carry up to a maximum of 8 extra lives at a time. If you collect a life fragment while you have the maximum number of lives, the life fragment will be added as a bomb fragment.
When you lose a life, you also lose 1/3 of your 1.00 Power points (0.07 are scattered for you to collect); however, your power can't 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 bomb fragments will be reset to 0, plus the number of times you have continued. You can no longer save a replay, and will reach the "Bad Ending" if you finish the game. You may continue up to 5 times in the regular game. You may not continue in the Extra stage.
The main challenge and the main attraction that appears at the end of each stage. 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 (usually first seen during the midboss section). 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 a bomb, or activating certain Ability Cards, 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'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 however 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.
Ability Cards are the main gimmick of Unconnected Marketeers. There are four types of Ability Cards:
- Item Cards: These grant the player resources. Enemies can also drop these.
- Equipment Cards: These add options to upgrade the player's shot or help erase bullets.
- Passive Cards: These give benefits to the player without needing to be activated.
- Active Cards: These clear bullets or give other benefits to the player by pressing C. Each one has a cooldown. If the player has multiple Active Cards, they can select which to use by pressing D.
The player can choose to start the game with any card that they've previously obtained (barring Item Cards); upon clearing the main game, this increases to two, and upon clearing the game with the blank card, to a maximum of three.
In addition, after each boss, and before the Extra boss, the player has the option of buying an Ability Card. The cards available are as follows:
- Life Card: Grants an extra life. Cost: 80.
- Spell Card: Grants an extra bomb. Free.
- Money Comes and Goes On its Own: Grants 50 money. Free.
- Ringo-Brand Dango: Grants 0.50 Power. Free.
- The boss' signature Ability Card.
- Three random Ability Cards that the player does not yet have.
As expected, buying an Ability Card decreases the player's funds. If the player doesn't have sufficient funds to buy a card, they may also pay using their Power: 0.01 Power translates to 1 unit of money, but you can't go below 1.00 Power.
There are four characters to choose from in the game, each with a unique shot and bomb.
|Unfocused Shot||Focused Shot||Bomb|
|Reimu Hakurei||Homing amulets shot out in a spread.||Needles fired straight ahead.||Large orbs which fly around and home in on enemies.|
|Marisa Kirisame||Lasers shot straight forward, and in a narrow spread at 3.00+ power.||Slow, straight-moving missiles with a blast radius.||A massive front-facing laser. Marisa's movement is greatly slowed while firing it.|
|Sakuya Izayoi||Knives which can be aimed by moving. Moving left and right changes the angle, moving down increases spread, and moving up decreases spread. Staying still will bring the knives back to the default angle.||Locks the knives' angle.||Stops all bullets on screen, then clears them.|
|Sanae Kochiya||Frogs with a blast radius fired in a spread.||Snakes fired forward which home in on enemies horizontally.||A delayed explosion that covers the entire screen.|
- 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 any difficulty with a certain shottype, the Extra Stage is unlocked for said shottype.
Any damage you deal to any stage enemy, whether it'd 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, destroyed enemies release items for you to collect, and those are very important for scoring as covered below.
"Grazing" is the act of having a bullet pass near one's hitbox. You can only graze a bullet once, so you won't gain any additional graze by following a bullet. Lasers can be continually grazed throughout their duration, but once again, moving around will not gain you any additional graze.
Grazing in Unconnected Marketeers does not appear to have any effect on score.
In addition to increasing the player's funds, money items are the major source of points in the game. The higher up on the screen you collect them, the more points they're worth, up to a defined maximum. You can easily tell when you are collecting point items for their maximum value, since they'll show the value in yellow text. The point of collection is the same height as the height where point items reach their maximum value, so take advantage of this fact whenever you can for massive points. As in Undefined Fantastic Object onwards, auto-collected items are still worth their full value if you happen to leave the auto-collect area before items contact your hit box, or if they're auto-collected in another manner such as by bombing or dialogue.
The maximum point value of money items is 1,000 times the player's current funds, up to 500,000.
Power items increase your power gauge by 0.01 and are worth 100 points. Power items collected at full power will grant points like Money Items instead.
Green Point Items
Green point items are released when bullets are cleared, either with bombs or by defeating a boss phase. They grant a small amount of points.
Spell Card Bonus
Occasionally, a boss will attack using a spell card. You'll 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 triggering a Spirit Strike, the spell card bonus will be added to your score.