Base system / Power ups
The player starts at (fire) power 0. Red enemies will drop Power Up items when shot. Collecting power up items raises the power by 1, gradually increasing the damage that the shots do.
The max fire power is 128. If the player has max power, red enemies will start dropping cherry petals instead of Power items. Also, at Max Power, the player can automatically attract all items on screen if flying above a specific height on the screen.
Base system / Extra lives
Extra lives are not earned by score, but instead when the player has collected a certain amount of Point Items.
Base system / Boss attack patterns and "Spell Cards"
Bosses in Project Shrine Maiden usually have several "attack patterns", following each other. The boss starts with the first, and if the player reduces the boss's health bar by a certain amount, the boss switches to the next attack pattern. A typical early stage boss can have about 6 attack patterns, with the final bosses closer to 20.
Some attack patterns are called "Spell cards". These attack patterns are usually identified by a graphic effect upon starting, and they also have a name appearing on screen. Spell Card attacks will usually yield a special point bonus if defeated without dying or bombing.
High score systems in project Shrine Maiden
The games in project Shrine Maiden all have unique mechanisms for aiming at a high score. The common denominator is that all of them concern the Point Items that yields points when collected; usually more points the higher up on the screen they are collected, up to a certain maximum. Most games in the series have a unique system on how to increase this maximum, how actually gain the maximum when collecting the items, and how the player is point-wise penalized for dying and/or bombing.
High score system in Perfect Cherry Blossom
Perfect Cherry Blossom features the possibly most complicated scoring system of all installments in the series.
Like in earlier games, point items yield more points the higher up on the screen they are collected, up to a certain height (the invisible "Item Max Point Line", which is about 1/3rd from the top of the screen), where they yield max. The max starts at 50,000 points. However, this max can be increased.
The game has a value called "Cherry", which doubles as the max value for Point items. Cherry has a minimum of 50,000, but is increased by collecting Cherry items, or simply shooting enemies. However, shooting enemies while holding down the "slow" button (shift) yields significantly less Cherry than not holding down "slow". The Cherry gained from hitting normal cannon fodder is quite low, so hitting cannon fodder while going slow yields almost no Cherry at all. Hitting a boss while moving at normal speed is one of the most effective ways of gaining Cherry.
However, there is a maximum even for Cherry, called "Max Cherry". And the Max Cherry can also be increased.
Each 50,000 earned Cherry (valid even if Cherry has reached its max, so it's kept track of with the value "Cherry+") will start a "Supernatural Border", which is best explained as an invulnerability shield that will last for about 10 seconds, as the Cherry+ counts down to 0. During this Supernatural Border, the player will automatically attract all items on screen, and all Point Items will yield their max value (that is, the player's current Cherry). Being hit, or bombing, during the Supernatural Border will transform everything on screen to cherry petals (that generate a tiny bit of Cherry each) and end the Border prematurely. The player will not lose lives or bombs from this, but it still counts as being hit or bombing for Spell Card clearing purposes. However, if the player avoids being hit during the Supernatural Border, and also does not hit the bomb button, the Cherry Max will increase by 10,000 points. Grazing bullets (being very close to the bullets as they pass you) during Supernatural Borders also increases the Cherry max, although by so little it's never worth it unless it's longer bullet streams.
During the Supernatural Border, the player will not earn any Cherry points at all. As hitting bosses while going at normal speed is the best way to earn Cherry, any shooting of bosses during the Supernatural Border can be seen as a "waste of precious Cherry", so during boss fights, it's quite common to stop firing completely, and simply wait out the Border, gaining the increased Cherry Max, and then resume shooting.
One other detail about Cherry is that clearing a Spell Card attack (that is, without bombing or being hit (even during Borders)) will slightly increase the amount of Cherry that each Cherry Item yields. This will, of course, increase the frequencies of the Supernatural Borders.
Also, like in the previous game Scarlet Devil, once the player has reached Max Power (128), going above the Item Max Point line will cause the player to automatically suck in all items on screen.
Penalties for dying
Dying during a Spell Card attack will miss you the Spell card bonus.
Also, dying will significantly reduce your Cherry (As of writing, I am unsure of with how much, but fairly sure it was by a set amount (down to a minimum of 50,000)).
Penalties for bombing
Bombing during a Spell Card attack will miss you the Spell Card bonus.
Also, bombing will halve your Cherry. (As of writing, I am unsure of to if it's an exact halving, or down by 40% or down to 40%. For sure, at some points, bombing is a worse point penalty than dying).
High score aiming summary:
Apart from the obvious of collecting point items, high-score aiming in Cherry Blossom consists of:
- Never move slowly, especially during boss fights.
- Never shoot bosses during Supernatural Borders
- Never die
- Never ever ever bomb – EVER
- Advanced: Memorize the sections where there are a lot of point items on screen. Time your Cherry+ so that you get a Supernatural Border at the exact right moment.