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Trigger Heart Exelica is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. At the begining of the game you are given the choice of 2 characters, Excelica- She has a wider spread to her shots and slower movement, or Crueltear- Straight shots and faster movement. Both characters are also gifted with an anchor shot that enables them to catch enemy ships and use them either as a shield or battering ram against enemy combatants. The enemy shots, which appear as pink/lilac on the screen, can when swiped with anchored craft be transformed into gold collectables. To add a further element to the scoring system these golden items then swell in size an point value  directly related to the length of tim they remain on screen whilst the layer is firing.

In addition to this system- Anchor a ship, swipe enemy fire to change to collectables and then fire as the items slowly scroll downward before finally collecting, the boss battles are affected by several factors. The game operates a grading system during the end of level boss battles dependent on several factors. How many gold collectables you have amassed during the previous stage AND wether or not you have lost or lose any lives before the end of the level. Each boss has several "stages" and if these factors are fulfilled then you will be able to fight the boss to the end otherwise the boss will explode after the 1st or 2nd attack pattern. In this way scores per level between players can fluctuate wildly making the game perfect for play as a score attack game.

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