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Touhou Sky Arena: Gameplay

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This article discusses the various aspects of Touhou Sky Arena gameplay.

Touhou Sky Arena - Preview Battle 102:55

Touhou Sky Arena - Preview Battle 1


The game can use a keyboard or gamepad, the following is the default keyboard controls.

Q: Lock on enemy target
A: Combined with other actions to use spell cards
S: Move up vertical
D: Move down vertical
Z: Tap to dash, hold to fly
X: Tap to shoot, hold to charge
C: Melee attack
V: Block/raise shields
W: Centers camera angle behind the player when not locked on
A+X: Basic Spell card
A+V: Ex-Spell card
A+C: Hi-tension attack
A+Z: Climax Attack
A+S: Mirage Slide 1 - Slides in front of your opponent, uses 6 orbs.
A+D: Mirage Slide 2 - Slides behind your opponent, uses 6 orbs.
Space: Change Teammate CPU behavior

The basic button scheme as set by default on a controller is as follows:

  • Button 1 - Dash
  • Button 2 - Raise Shield
  • Button 3 - Shoot
  • Button 4 - Melee
  • Button 5 - Lock on enemy
  • Button 6 - Combine with others to use spell cards
  • Button 7 - Change teammate CPU behavior
  • Button 8 - Enter/Return
  • Z axis (triggers) - Move up/down vertical.
  • Thumb sticks - Player movement

If you need to know which buttons are which on your controller, look in the game controller options in your control panel and select properties, and pressing a button should tell you which number it is.

When played with a 360 controller, the controls correspond as follows:

  • Note, these controls are set as this on both XP AND Vista but on windows Vista the control scheme does not work as displayed as it moves the triggers to the bumpers, unassigns A, removes enter from start, and moves change target to select.
  • If you are having this problem, try using Xpadder. Reassign the A button to the Right trigger and the Q button to the left trigger and you will have effectively switched the bumper and trigger controls and and reassigned enter to start, giving you jury rigged version of the same controls.

A: Tap to dash, hold to fly
X: Tap to shoot, hold to charge
B: Block/raise shields
Y: Melee Attack
Right Bumper + X: Basic Spell card
Right Bumper + B: Ex-Spell Card
Right Bumper + Y: Hi-Tension attack
Right Bumper + A: Climax Attack
Left Bumper: Lock on enemy target
Triggers: Move up/down on the vertical plane
Back button: Change teammate CPU behavior
Start: Pause/quit

Main Menu

Touhou Sky Arena Menu

Menu options from top to bottom:

1) Story Mode

  • Here you fight against the CPU in a traditional story/arcade mode

2) Versus mode

  • Here you can set up a custom match vs CPU and human opponents.
  • You may have human players split screen on 1 PC while having CPU players.
  • Teams, difficulty levels, characters, map, song, and other options can be chosen to customize your game.

3) Online Play

  • Play against friends with a direct IP connect or play in the online matchmaking lobby.
  • To play in the lobby, register at the lobby webpage.
  • Make sure to forward port 18000 if you have connection problems.

4) Survival Mode

  • Play against a series of CPU opponents, staying at the life total you had at the end of the previous fight.

5) Tutorial

  • Learn the basics against an immobile opponent.

6) Training

  • Set custom training options for your CPU opponents. Life will regenerate as soon as the enemy is hit.


  • See how you have done over your career.

8) Replay

  • Watch Replays.

9) Game Options

  • Set various game options here.

10) Exit

Battle Screen

Sky Arena Gameplay

A) Time and Song

  • This tells you how much time is remaining and what the current BGM is.

B) Enemy Information

  • Green Bar - How much life they have.
  • Colored Square - Which team they belong to.
  • Bottom Text - Current tension level.

C) Player Info

  • Green Bar - Your life total
  • Red Orbs - Dash/Flight power
  • Bottom Text - Current tension level

D) Spell/Energy Info

  • Bar 1 - Shield energy
  • Bar 2 - Melee cooldown
  • Bar 3 - Shot energy/total - this will gray out and recharge when you reach 0.
  • Bar 4 - Spell Card energy - this will gray out and recharge when you reach 0.
  • Bar 5 - EX-Spell Card energy - This spell is normally defensive in nature. This will gray out and recharge when you reach 0.
  • Bar 6 - Hi Tension Spell Card - This card is only available during Hi Tension/Climax periods. It will recharge quickly after use.
  • Bar 7 - Climax Spell Card - Only available during the climax of the song.

E) Radar/Song information

  • Right Side - Radar Screen
  • Left Side - Song progress and tension meter. Lets you know when you and opponents are entering new tension phases.

F) Enemies on screen

  • The ringed enemy is your current target.

Tension System

Your character will behave differently based upon their current tension.

Low Tension:

  • No fast flying
  • No mirage slides.


  • Character acts normally during this time


  • Character has access to Hi-Tension abilities.
  • Character can perform longer melee chains (5 hits).


  • Character has access to Climax/Hi-Tension abilities.
  • Character can perform longer melee chains (7 hits).
  • When at the CF (Finale) or end of climax, you will perform a finale attack, which is similar to a climax attack but includes an extra move.

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