This guide is intended to help you with the game (written from someone who has beaten the final boss).
Guide to Basics
The controls are straightforward enough. You have your 4 way movement, use bomb, use item, and use active item. That's it. No aiming or mouse at all.
You have a double jump. Noteworthy unlike many games this behaves a bit strangely. If you fall off of a ledge you still have 2 jumps. Any other times you have 1. (so if you slam downward into an enemy you have one. You can slam 3 times before you must hit solid ground again)
Advice on the downward slam, use it anytime you are going to make contact with an enemy. The game registers it as a higher priority than any other impact. *Done right the 3rd boss is in a position where it simply cannot do damage to you*
Characters: They are for the most part balanced. I will say that Faily is my favorite because of the map, but really whichever one you are comfortable with is fine. Remember to level them up though, there is no downside to it.
I'm not going to cover every item because, quite frankly there isn't a need to. You have very little control over what you have anyway.
But there are 3 rarities. Common (White) stack and tend to have very few 'important' items. Green are uncommon and tend to make up the majority of game changing ones. Red are rare and the majority of them are just massive damage boosts.
Besides that there are active items which vary in effect and usefulness. Everything from a key, to a stagewide kill button. Which is the best? That isn't exactly a fair question but some are better than others. My favorite recharges after 2 maps (meaning the one it is used on, and the next one) which allows you to fly and be invincible for a few seconds. Yeah totally balanced right?
Lastly, synergies. When you get 3 items 'in a suit' a matching synergy pops out. These range from bonus health, drones do more damage and are homing, to even curing corrupt items *More on corruption in the next section* but BY FAR the best is preventing explosion damage. Explosions in this game come from your shots and oddly enough is the most likely thing in the game to kill you. They are inconsistent so planning for them is challenging and in later stages anything that adds to the chaos is a bad thing. I cannot stress it enough to be careful when picking up explosions. They force you to play the game slower (this is bad) and while other items may have a downside none of them will directly lead to your death (with the exception being one reduces your max hp)
Chests, there are 3 sizes:
Treasure room chests... look at it for a few seconds, if it is clearly a chest its fine, if not open it and move away because its a mimic (which is good because free stats)
There are two kinds which you will come across.
The first (and simpler) one is a standard item pickup with purple text that says risk=reward at the bottom. Each symbol does a different thing, but they all give some stat benefits and some stat negatives. There isn't much to say, get 3 and the synergy removes the negatives.
The other are purple items that appear from enemies. Do not pick them up until you finish the room, there is no reason to do so (they last for 30 seconds after the room is formally cleared). What they do is a variety of things which are ALL BAD. These range from attacking you in various formations, slowing you down, stopping your bullets.... why would you pick these up? there is a special npc/room that appears which will eat them in exchange for good items/health. This can be game changing to end up with 3 red (rare/unique) items and a handful of greens. Be advised this room is one time use, so *ideally* you want to clear the floor then trade, because the more you let it eat the better the items you get are. Noteworthy: There will always be one of these rooms on the last level- but it is almost unthinkable to skip an earlier one.
Not corruption but explosives may as well count (seriously I'm mentioning it again because they are that harmful).
Gotta go Fast
This comes from experience and knowing the enemies but there are two real 'timers' to worry about.
Kill the boss on a floor before 2:30 has passed (always visible at the top of the screen) you get a unique item (red) instead of uncommon (green) and the optional timed rooms. (same thing for 30 seconds from the countdown)
As a note for the 2:30 the red bat you sometimes see changes this. If you kill it in a stage the timer is no longer important for that stage, you get a red item but you have to fight the bat as well
So the 2:30 timer, how do we manipulate this? The easy thing is to just find the boss and kill it asap (this is why faily's map is so useful) but otherwise...the timer itself ONLY counts down during combat rooms during combat. So forget picking up coins and everything else, kill the enemies then clean up. But this timer applies to 'other' combat rooms as well (a certain hidden boss, challenge rooms, mimic treasure chest, and the timed room all count against it) after the boss is dead the timer doesn't matter for the stage so go ahead take your time.
Now the timed room is simple. It has the exact same layout every time, so we use the same strategy every time. As soon as you hit the button start going right, skip past the spawning enemies because you will come back over them anyway. After you get back to center you are going to make a circle heading up first and then to the left. Done right you should be able to get the unique item consistently (I won't say every time because sometimes a random enemy decides to run away and waste time)
Part of the game is exploring and learning so I'm skipping bosses and spoilers, in large part because this isn't dark souls. They all have very basic attack patterns and don't change. Like stage 1 is a plant that moves back and forth, its attacks are spit out projectiles either to the side or above its head, it also has a bite if you get close on the ground....that is it.
So what else is there to talk about?
Hidden rooms exist. If you see a cracked white square on a stage and blow it up (either a bomb or explosion from items) you get a purple portal which takes you to a free stuff room containing either 3 bombs, a bunch of hearts, or some coins.
Besides that the only other noteworthy 'room' thing is if you use 3 bombs on a shopkeeper they attack as a boss using a very simple pattern...but you get the items for free. Try to save bombs for this exact thing, it is often possible to get 100+ coins worth of stuff for the cost of 3 bombs. (or less because of a certain item)
What else are bombs used for? Their damage isn't bad but...no. The real benefit is a short invulnerability and enemy bullet wipe. There are times you will certainly be hit, and it may be better to avoid being hit.
Clearing a room without being hit gives a higher chance of free coin spawns. This is good. But subject to going fast (unique items are so much stronger than everything else that it is no contest)
It is entirely possible to end up with 3x (or more) homing shots with unique items.
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