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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 1.00 power (0.07 is 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. You will also lose 1/3 of your current funds (up to 100).
Upon losing all their lives, the player is given the choice to continue right where they left off at full power. However, if you do continue, your current score will be reset back to 0 plus the number of times you have continued, and your bomb and life fragments will be reset to 0. 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 and the Blank Card).
Upon clearing the main game, the number of available starting card slots increases to two and Chimata's ability card, the Blank Card, is unlocked.
Upon clearing the main game after buying the Blank Card in the Stage 5 shop, this number increases to its 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:
- Three random Ability Cards that the player does not yet have (four with Lucky Cat with Good Business Skills)
- Blank Card (if unlocked): Removes all currently held cards, but grants you every non-item card that appears in the following shop. Free.
- 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 Dumplings: Grants 0.50 Power. Free.
- The boss' signature Ability Card(s).
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.
Full Unlock Code
To unlock all unlockable content at once, navigate to to the Achievement screen, select number 13 and type out mastersdream. 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 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. Enemies will also drop more items if they are destroyed quickly.
"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 has no 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 (or 500 times the player's current funds in Easy mode), up to a certain value based on the current difficulty:
The maximum point value of money items will always be at least 10,000, regardless of the player's current funds.
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 with bombs, by defeating a boss phase, or by using certain Ability Cards. Their value is equal to the player's current funds, rounded down to the nearest 10.
Spell Card Bonus
Occasionally, a boss will attack using a spell card. You'll know this is happening when the background changes (except for the Extra stage midboss) 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 using the Underground Sun card, 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||Normal||Hard||Lunatic||Extra (considered to be stage 7 in the formula)|
At the end of stages 1 through 5, the player is awarded a small stage clear bonus.
(stage × 1 million)
At the end of either the main game or the Extra Stage, the player is awarded a larger game clear bonus as well.
Base clear bonus (E/N/H/L: 6 million, EX: 7 million) + (5 million × lives) + (1 million × bombs)
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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 the trial versions:
- Shoplifting: After purchasing an item from a shop at the end of a stage, the game can be paused and then unpaused to cause to open the shop again, allowing for indefinite purchases. Combined with the money card, this allows for infinite money and thus infinite purchases of any card. Fixed as of v0.02a. Video of this glitch.
- Card stacking: By performing the Shoplifting glitch, it is possible to obtain multiple copies of the same equipment card, passive card or active card. If you purchase around 100 or more of the same card, this may cause the game to crash.
- Byakuren card desync: Byakuren Hijiri's card, Sutra of Dharmatic Power, can desync replays if used, no matter if it is equipped from the start or purchased mid-run, as the decreased card cooldown fails to carry over across stages.
- Kanako card desync: Kanako Yasaka's card, Offerings to a Sacred Mountain, can desync replays if used. This happens because the lowered point of collection line is not carried over across stages.
- Sannyo death glitch: Sometimes, Sannyo's nonspells will spawn on top of the player character, killing her instantly. This is caused by the angle of the pattern being an uninitialized variable, which leads to undefined behavior. Video of this glitch.
- Sakuya Youmu: If the player uses Sakuya and saves a replay, Sakuya's name will show as Youmu instead.
Glitches reported in the full version:
- Centipede desyncs: Momoyo Himemushi's card, Gluttonous Centi pede, can desync replays if equipped from the start as the increased power fails to carry over across stages. This can also happen if it is purchased on a stage prior to Stage 5 and a next stage is entered with its value higher than 1000. Replays affected by this glitch can be viewed normally through the universal practice patch.
- Card switch desync: The player can press D to switch cards after clearing a stage, before the next stage begins. If this is done in a full game run, it will desync the stage that comes directly after the switch. Replays affected by this glitch can be viewed normally and even fixed permanently through the universal practice patch.
- Aya invincibility exploit: Using Aya Shameimaru's card, Gale Geta, it is possible to stay invincible indefinitely by rapidly inputting movement, at a rate of around 30 Hertz. Video of this glitch.
- Remilia extended hitbox: Using Remilia Scarlet's card, Vampire Fang, is used during Sakuya's bomb, it hits the boss regardless of where on the screen it is used. This does not work if Byakuren Hijiri's card is also equipped, as it affects the bomb.
- Card disappearance bug: If the player restarts a run through the pause menu, any previously bought cards will no longer appear in any shop. This can be fixed by quitting to the menu.
- Practice empty bomb stock: In Practice mode after starting the game, the player will start without any bombs. This can be prevented by starting a full game run first.
- Spell Practice timeout crash: The game crashes if the Chimata Tenkyuu's final Spell Card is timed out in Spell Practice mode.
- Byakuren cooldown bug: In Extra mode, if the player buys Byakuren's card in the shop, the decreased cooldown of the active card does not apply. Its effect of strengthening the player's bomb, however, still applies. If the card is equipped from the beginning, replays will usually desync once the Momoyo boss fight starts. Replays affected by this glitch can be viewed normally through the universal practice patch.
- Saki/Momoyo oversight: If the player has both Saki Kurokoma's card, Law of the Survival of the Fittest, as well as Momoyo's Centipede card equipped, the increased power from Saki's card will override that of Momoyo's card, rendering the latter useless.
The following apply to multiple games, including Unconnected Marketeers:
- Wrong play time: The play time information in Player Score is inconsistent and usually does not reflect the real in-game playtime, being much shorter than it should be.