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. Holding it down during any dialogue fast-forwards the dialogue.
- X releases a bomb, also known as a Spell Card (presuming that you have any bombs left)
- Shift slows the character's movement, and changes the nature of the character's shot; it generally makes your attacks more focused
- Esc pauses the game and brings you to the in-game menu
- Ctrl fast-forwards the game
Mystical Power Plant 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.
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.
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 (unless you are below Level 1 on the Skill Tree; see below)
Like all official Touhou games, Mystical Power Plant features bombs (actually "spell cards") with distinctive visual styles that differ between characters and shot types. 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. Collecting eight bomb fragments is required to obtain one bomb. You can carry up to a maximum of 8 bombs at a time. 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.
Bombing also does not auto-collect all items on the 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 up to 6 lives (that is, 5 extra lives plus the one in use). 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 Mystical Power Plant, the player's life stock is represented by hearts. Collecting life fragment items will give you more lives. The number of fragments required for an extra life depends on the number of extra lives already gained, with the requirement being 10 fragments for the first extra life, then increasing to 12, 15, 18, 20, and 25 for successive lives. You can carry up to a maximum of 8 extra lives at a time.
The player is also awarded extra lives upon reaching certain score totals or by collecting 1up items. In the regular game, the player is awarded extra lives at 10, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 140 million points. A 1up item is dropped after defeating the midboss of Stage 3.
When you lose a life, the Skill Tree gauge (see below) will drop significantly. Also, you become invulnerable for a short period of time.
The full version of the game features 6 stages, with an extra stage to be added in a future patch.
- Stage 1:「神々の源泉」 Spring of the Gods
- Stage 2:「ラタトスクの奇知」 Wisdom of Ratatosk
- Stage 3:「光ヲ貪ルモノ」 That Which Craves the Light
- Stage 4:「発電する天の川」 The Power-Generating River of Heaven
- Stage 5:「煌く舞台の
歌姫はいずこ？」 Where is the Diva of the Shining Stage?
- Stage 6:「堕罪」 Lapse Into Sin
- Extra Stage: ---
The main challenge and the main attraction. Each boss has multiple health bars, represented by star icons at the upper left of the screen. Each health bar is shown as a ring around the boss. 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's 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 or using any bombs, 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 these cases 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.
In Hidden Mode, the ring-shaped health bar is replaced with a horizontal meter, and each boss only uses one Spell Card for the duration of the battle. Spell Cards on Hidden Mode involve more varied and difficult patterns than are typical of a Touhou game, and bear more resemblance to the danmaku in a Cave shooter.
(To be added)
- 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
- Player Status
- Power: your shot power level, maxing out at 4.00
- Point value: the current value of point items
- Graze: the number of enemy shots that have grazed your hitbox during the game
- Enemy Status
- Left bar(s): the number of health bars the enemy has left. White bars indicate the boss will use regular attacks, red bars indicate the boss will use a spell card.
- Right number: the amount of time left before the enemy's attack spell fails (self-destructs)
- Skill Tree
- There is a gauge to the left of the screen for the entirety of the game (excluding the ending). This gauge shows your current power level, and is increased by collecting leaf items. Filling the gauge will gradually give you special benefits. Maxing the gauge out will reset it to 0 and produce a life fragment.
- 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.
- Extra Stage
- Level Practice
- Spell Practice
- Hidden Mode: A special mode called 東方奪命樹 ("Eastern Life-Stealing Tree"). It's unlocked by clearing Normal or higher without using continues. This mode has several additional features, including a modified 7-level skill tree, and additional boss danmaku unlike that of regular Touhou games.
- A replay desynchronization bug has been noted by the developers, and is likely to be fixed in a future patch.
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 not award you any extra points.
As its 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 defined maximum. 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.
Skill Tree system
Certain enemies (identified by the green flames around them) will drop green leaf-shaped items. Collecting these items will fill the Skill Tree gauge in the bottom-left corner of the screen. This gauge continually depletes until more leaf items are collected. The gauge is split into levels ranging from 0 to 5 (0 to 7 in Hidden Mode). Gaining a level will provide unique benefits for each playable character, such as decreasing the size of their hitbox, increasing attack power, and auto-collecting items. When the gauge is filled to maximum, it will reset back to 0, and the player will receive 1 life fragment and 1 bomb fragment (2 bomb fragments in Hidden Mode). If the gauge is below Level 1 (most notably after the fragments are produced), the Point of Collection will disappear.
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 or using a bomb, the Spell Card bonus will be added to your score.