An extremely rough description of how to play well without being able to read the manual.
Table of Contents
Guide to Basics
How to Play
If you’ve played a mainline touhou game released within the last two decades you’ll know most of the controls already (source: I’ve only played this and touhou 7). Shift is focus (more on that later), z is shoot, X is charge (more on that later), and C is bomb (more on that later too). The goal of your game in all modes but story mode is to flood your enemy with bullets and kill them, while in story mode it’s mostly survival but with ways to speed things up. Focusing and shooting still are normal, though with 19 characters there’s a LOT of intricacies that I’m not getting into right now. There’s a melee character in touhou now, it’s that crazy in here.
At the bottom of your screen is the Charge Meter, which is the source of the majority of the difficulties. You charge it up by collecting point items that drop from dead enemies, grazed bullets, or bullets caught in your Zone (more on that later). They’re hard to see, but they’re there. Holding X charges the meter to one of 4 levels, which all have different effects. Level 1 is usually more bullets, level 2 depends heavily on what character you are but is frequently more bullets+, level 3 is a big attack on your opponent, and level 4 is a boss attack on your opponent. Your meter can’t drop below level 1, and using a level 2+ ability drops the meter by the corresponding amount (not counting however much it takes to get to level 1) If you don’t have your shield, doing a level 3+ attack will regain it, and if you’re in story mode doing a level 3+ attack will call the next attack early.
This is MOSTLY the same as other touhous, except every character has a zone that comes out while focusing that slows bullets, tames spirits, and produces point items. This is different for everyone, so play around with them.
You usually have 3 bombs per match (varies depending on card and character), and using a bomb creates a bullet clearing zone in the same approximate shape and movement pattern as your zone, using all your meter to extend its lifetime.
Harassing Your Enemy and Spirits
I don’t know exactly how this all works, but killing enemies sends bullets to your opponents side, while killing spirits (especially in combos) sends them and your “regular” attacks over there. Using your level 3 and 4s more often also levels them up, but be careful your opponent isn’t doing crazy grazes off them because things can get wild fast.
Unfortunately this is one of those things that I would need to be able to read for, which I notably can not do. They have effects ranging from stat changes to additional options to that one card nazarin has that gives you two more bombs. You get a random one in a versus match.
According to the touhou wiki apparently everyone is using everyone else for real estate scams, which is entirely typical tbh.