"Something was amiss in Gensokyo, everyone was asleep and dreaming, even the Yokai of the night were sound asleep. Nights passed and still the people of this land were trapped within the Dream World, this was because the power of dreams was so unnaturally strong that it rendered the residents of Gensokyo in a state known as Mystical Dreaming; a dream containing every desire and ideal of it's dreamer. Unwanting to give up their greatest dreams come true, Gensokoyo denied reality and decided to live within the dream world forever. At this rate reality itself would begin to slowly deteriorate until it was no more, the Real World was destined to be entirely replaced with the Dream World if nothing was done.
Naturally Doremy Sweet; the keeper of the Dream World, had to do something about the incident at hand, even with her ability to eat dreams the divine property of the Mystic Dreams was too overpowering for consumption. When all hope of finding the culprit seemed lost Doremy came up with a plan, she was to merge the dreams of the people most capable of solving the incident, Reimu Hakurei the protector of Gensokyo would go with her to investigate. Then she would combine the dreams of the magic users Marisa Kirsame and Alice Margatroid as well as the Komeji sisters; Satori and Koishi whose mental abilities would enable them access to the dream world's secrets. With their Mystical Dreams converged each pair's ideals would counteract with eachother and snap them out of the Mystical Dream, allowing them to work as a team to resolve the incident with their powers combined. With no more than a subtle prompting from Doremy herself each pair of heroines set off to resolve the incident before reality is forgotten."
Touhou ~ Mystical Dreamcatcher just like the majority of it's predecessors is a vertical Danmaku (bullet hell) shooter where the player is tasked with taking on 6 consecutive stages (levels) to resolve an incident. After choosing one of the three pairs of heroines the player sets off on a journey, starting with 3 lives and should all of those lives be lost the player may use one of three continues to keep on going, however continuing prevents the player from recording thier score, restarts the score to 0 and disables certain content from being unlocked.
Z can be held to open fire and as power items (represented by a P in a red box) are collected the both the character's shot power and the number of bullets fired will increase, up to 4.00 power can be held with a single power item being worth .10, a large power item being worth 1.00, there are also point items that increase the player's score. By pressing the X key the character uses a Spell Card (commonly referred to as a bomb) capable of clearing bullets and dealing damage, at the cost of using up 1.00 power from the player, so it should be used cautiously. Death can also be avoided by bombing at the precise second a bullet makes contact with the character's hitbox, however doing so uses up 1.50 power. Every character has their own shot type and bomb and because they can be chosen from three teams of two, the player is able switch to the other character at will by inputting the C key, because both characters in a team have a separate amount of power it's also recommenced that the player should attempt to balance out both character's power if they intend on using both team members.
For the first time in the series two players are allowed to play the game at the same time either locally or online due to the team system. While the gameplay doesn't change much in any way besides granting bosses slightly more health, there has been some general gameplay tweaks that also apply to single player to accommodate the fact that two players can play at once. Those changes being the fact that the space to move around is noticeably wider allowing for two players to have much more space, spell cards are also noticeably weaker in the fact that the don't usually clear the entire screen or last a long time, however by bombing at the same time a Team Spell Card can be activated that are much more powerful and last longer, Team Spell Cards may also be activated in single player by pressing both X and C at once, Team Spell Cards however use up 1.00 power form both teammates so they should also be used cautiously.
Bosses, each faced at the end of a stage have Spell Cards of their own used in-between generic bullet barrages. These are attacks with pristine patterns meant to trick or disorient the player, some spell cards even include special mechanics like forcing the player to survive the card, that's just to name one. Should the Spell Card ended upon the boss taking enough damage, without dying or using a bomb then the player collects the spell card gaining a huge point bonus. Spell Cards attempted at least once in story mode can be practiced in the Spell Practice mode, the player can even capture Spell Cards in this mode.
Another new feature added is the addition of Dream items, represented as pink blob-like spirits dropped by enemies enveloped in pinkish energy. In every Touhou game there exists a point high up on the screen called the Point of Collection (POC) and should that point be passed the player will draw in and collect all items on screen. When Dream items are collected only by not shooting and making contact with them, the POC will move down a bit for every dream item, allowing for easier assess to resources such as power and point items. Should the POC make contact with the bottomost point of the screen the player will gain an extra life but the POC will return to it's hard to reach point. The player generally must decide weather they want to bring the POC to the bottom of the screen to obtain lives or leave it near the bottom for an easy way to gain power.
Enter the Dream World
The main game mode, after selecting a difficulty and team the player will go through six stages involving the gameplay mentioned above. Between gameplay sections there is dialogue that takes place between characters as well, the dialogue depends on what team was picked before playing, but it can be skipped quickly by holding Z. There are four difficulties, each ramping up the amount of bullets considerately and even adding additional or more difficult spell cards into boss battles, these difficulties are...
- Easy Mode- A sweet dream for all to enjoy.
- Normal Mode- A lucid dream, for all those who play danmaku shooters.
- Hard Mode- This is becoming a nightmare, not for the weak of heart.
- Lunatic Mode- A night terror, please don't play this.
When the game is over either by losing all continues or clearing it, the player will receive an ending, the former result being the bad ending and the latter result being the true good ending.
Enter the Dream World with another
Everything in this mode matches up with Normal Start, the main difference being the inclusion of two players. Another player can be added locally or by connecting to another computer by typing in the other player's "name", names being determined at the beginning of the game. During gameplay session each player has their own lives and power and bosses have more health to accommodate the inclusion of both players. Each player only has three continues and should they run out they will be removed from the game with the remaining player then regaining control over both characters, the same happens should both players be rendered disconnected.
Enter of world of neither dreams nor reality
A mode where the player can practice any stage they've played before, starting off will all eight lives and with maximum power. This allows the player to prepare for stages they find hard on their next playthrough. Additionally two players can practice with eachother as well with the same rules in Double Start applying. Even stages the player hasn't cleared yet can be played as long as they've made it to that stage in Start or Double Start.
In this mode any Spell Cards at least attempted in any of the modes with the "Start" prefix can be taken on and cleared. The player may do a spell card with any team on any difficulty they desire, however spell cards exclusive to certain difficulties cannot be assessed unless that card is reached on that difficulty. If a spell card is cleared on Spell Practice or on any other mode it will be considered "captured" and a comment on the spell card will be unlocked as well. Additionally each boss also has a Mystical Dream spell card, these cards can only be played in this mode and offer an extra difficult challenge worthy of surpassing even Lunatic mode cards, each one can only be unlocked after meeting certain conditions.
When completing a playthrough of any mode without continuing or a Spell Card in Spell Practice the player can record it as a video file and view it at anytime. This mode holds all of such replays and the player can manage and delete them as they please. There are even replays by the test players themselves already on the file by default, to give players tips and strategies on dodging Danmaku.
A room where all of the tracks in the game can be listened to at will, there are 7 stage tracks, 7 boss tracks and 4 others as well to slect from. At default all music in this mode is hidden until encountered in the gameplay to avoid spoilers, but if desired the player can listen to any song they want right from the start of the game. There are also comments of any thoughts and inspirations on the song as well.
Here various story-related things such as the synopsis, character profiles, and unlocked dialogue can be viewed. This information is normally discluded from the game itself and inside the game's files but this time around it's included as a mode so more about the game's characters and story can be discovered without having to rely on outside sources.
Return to the Real World
For more on the characters see: Touhou ~ Mystical Dreamcatcher/Characters
|Team||Title||Species & Ability|
|Shrine Maiden of Paradise||Human|
Capable of flying in the air
|Ruler of Dreams||Baku|
Capable of eating and creating dreams
Capable of using magic
Capable of handling dolls
|The Girl even Spirits Fear||Satori|
Capable of reading minds
|The Closed Eyes of Love||Satori|
Capable of manipulating the subconscious
|Character||Title||Appearances||Species & Ability|
|Hanabiko||Hanabiko is the Stage 1 Midboss||Fireworks Yokai|
Capable of awakening anything
|Rinka Kuromei||The Spirit only Spoken of||Rinka is the Stage 1 Boss||Ao Adon|
Capable of gathering fear
|Hiraku Shamrock||Arcanic Key to Estoica||Hiraku is the Stage 2 Midboss and Boss||Fairy|
Capable of unlocking anything
|Charlotte Suiseikidou||Charlotte is the Stage 3 Midboss||Doll|
Capable of seeing wishes
|Setareh Shokoufeh||Setareh is the Stage 3 Boss||Djinn|
Capable of granting wishes