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Mystic Square/Gameplay

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The Fifth Project Touhou - 東方怪綺談 ~ Mystic Square - ZUN 1998



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, also known as a Spell Card (presuming that any are left)
  • 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 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 Spell Cards used.

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


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.


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 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. However, bomb use is not an effective method for collecting point items, as during a bomb's effect enemies will not leave behind point items after being destroyed. 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 will start off with 3 bombs. Bomb items will increase your current stock by one. You can carry up to a maximum of 8 bombs at a time. If you receive a bomb when you already have the maximum, that bomb will be lost.


With default settings, you will start off with 3 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. It is not clearly marked on the sprite, but it is 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 Kazami : 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.

The player is awarded extra lives upon reaching certain point item totals or by collecting 1up items. Extra lives are awarded every 100 point items. If you receive an extra life when you already have the maximum, you will receive a bomb instead.

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 and you will reach a "Bad Ending" if you finish the game. You may continue up to 3 times.


There exists a rank system in this game. As rank increases, the gameplay becomes more difficult.

Factors that increase rank:

  •  Play Time (excluding dialogues)
  •  Extra lives gained in the stage
  •  Point items gained within a stage
  •  Attaining full power and collecting Power items

Factors that decrease rank:

  •  Dying
  •  Using bombs

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.

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.
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.
  • 悪霊さん (The Evil Spirit)

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.
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

  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
    • 霊撃 (Bomb): the number of remaining bombs
    • 靈夢 (Player): the number of remaining lives
  5. Player Status
    • 累計 (Total): displays the total number of Point Items collected throughout the game
    • 点 (Point): displays how many Point Items you collected during this stage
    • 弾 (Graze): displays how many times enemy shots have grazed your hitbox during this stage
  6. 夢 (Dream Bonus): displays your current dream bonus value
  7. 霊力 (Power): displays your shot power level
  8. Difficulty Setting


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


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, 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 a bullet" means to have a bullet come dangerously close to your hitbox. 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.

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, however laser-like bullets can (as in those found during a couple of Extra Alice's attacks.)

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 (near-top of screen) to 2000 points (very bottom of screen). 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 is not fully powered up, power items are worth only 10 points. However, once 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 will 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 had collected 10 normal power items. However, if a large power item is collected when the power item worth is at maximum (12,800), the player receives 25,600 points (12,800 x 2) instead.

Full power items (F) are worth 1000 points.

Dream Gauge System

Mystic Square's proprietary scoring system exhibits many of the properties of Perfect Cherry Blossom's Cherry system, but also differs in a number of ways.

The dream gauge (夢) 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 (more so if collected at or near the top of screen)
  • A power item is collected for the maximum potential worth (12,800 or 25,600)
  • A non-boss enemy is on screen (the more enemies, the faster the gauge fills up)

The dream gauge level decreases when:

  • A life is lost
  • A bomb is used
  • A point item falls from the field area (does not occur when at dream gauge MAX)

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

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

Enemy Bullet 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). Certain eliminated bullets are worth a bonus number of points which are awarded immediately. This bonus is not connected to the Boss Clear Bonus below.

Boss Clear Bonus

When you defeat a stage midboss or clear an attack pattern of a boss (by depleting a portion of their health bar), all enemy bullets on screen are tallied up and contributed to a Boss Clear Bonus. The more enemy bullets there are on screen, the higher this bonus becomes. The worth of bullets is determined by their size and type, up to a maximum of 12,800 points per bullet (displayed in yellow). Some bullets' values are not displayed, but are added to the Boss Clear Bonus, regardless. The total bonus is displayed after the midboss or boss is defeated.

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 x 1000 (stage number, Extra = 7)
Dream bonus  x  100 (numerical worth of dream gauge value)
Graze count  x   50 (graze count)

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 being hit:

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 being hit 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, a stage bonus of 10000 is used instead, and the following is added:

Lives remaining in stock              x 10000
Total number of point items collected x 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:    x 0.7
5 Initial Lives:    x 0.5
6 Initial Lives:    x 0.3
Easy Difficulty:    x 0.5
Normal Difficulty:  x 1.0
Hard Difficulty:    x 1.2
Lunatic Difficulty: x 1.4
1 Continue Used:    x 0.8
2 Continues Used:   x 0.6
3 Continues Used:   x 0.4

The end result is then added on to your score.

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