So this is to give you a general idea of what skills to level first and what items are good, which work well together, etc. I don't think its a very complicated game at all, but considering that at the time of writing this only 0.1% of players have gotten to the end of the game, well that just seems kinda wonky to me. So without further ado, lets get right into the info.
Escaping Strategy Guide
You gotta get skilled if you wanna Escape the Dungeon, and the best way to do that is to level skills in reverse order. You'll want to Max out Inventory, then Max out Vision, then Health and Power in whatever order you really want. Of course, there's no reason not to spend Crystals on an upgrade if you've got the cred for it, but in terms of maxing Inventory is by far the most useful followed closely by Vision. Just make sure that you're not waiting on a 3,200 Crystal upgrade when your power can be upgraded for 200 Crystals.
The reason that this is the one you wanna max first is because once you've got all of its ridiculous costs out of the way, you can spend your Crystals on Vision, Health and Power upgrades for QoL improvements. More inventory space also means that if you end up with a Lewd Insect in your inventory, you have more spaces to make up for the lost slot. Potions are also ridiculously overpowered once you get to a point where they're level 3 or 4 because they'll start healing for atleast 25 or 30 health respectively, and that's kinda busted when you can carry a lot of them. I cheesed the living ♥♥♥ out of Lord Qaron because even with a Lewd Insect in my inventory, I made it past his guards and into the main chamber with multiple slots full of level 3 and 4 potions and just basic attacked him to death. Please also note that I had not maxed my Power or Health; my power was 6, my health was 60.
You'll max out Vision next because vision based skills like Poison and Fireballs are ♥♥♥ busted and will carry your ass through this game. I cannot tell you how many runs I've done with just an inventory full of Poison and Fireballs where I just nuked rooms, picked up the remains, and then found more to replace them. Vision is useful for figuring out enemy locations and paths for if you're perhaps still a little weak, or you're not confident in your current inventory's ability to deal with enemies. Vision also helps you keep from having to waste inventory space on ♥♥♥ like Torches because Torches are absolute garbage and should probably be removed from the game because of how worthless they are.
An important skill to level up, but ultimately only important as long as you actually plan on finishing the game; lets be real, there's people out there who are only playing this one handed and don't give a ♥♥♥ if they actually "complete" the game as long as they can keep getting defeat scenarios. Some of the end game enemies will deal a decent chunk of damage with each hit, with most of the orcs and boars doing something between 6 and 9 damage per hit; Lord Qaron has atleast 9 damage on each of his hits and has nearly 200 health, so being able to survive for a while is probably helpful in the long run. You don't necessarily need to have this maxed out to finish the game, just have like, 50 health or something, that's the safest way to go about doing it.
Your basic attack damage. Its pretty useful to have high when you're in the lower levels (below 21) where most enemies can be killed with a power of 6, but just about anything above 20 and enemies will have between 8 and 18 health so this really kind of loses its traction as a way of dealing with enemies (assuming that you're playing smart and aren't going for Melee Inventory items like a goober.)
There are good items, bad items, and ugly items in Escape Dungeon. Its important to know which ones are worth your time, and which ones to leave sitting in a corner by themselves.
The Good Items
- Potions: These are the best items you can pick up; you can always tell where a potion can be picked up because the spots are marked by a number of glass potions bottles just sitting somewhere in the environment. Each potion can be used atleast 2 times each, and after the first 2 "Levels" of potions they heal absolutely busted amounts of health. Unless one of your inventory items can do above 12 damage or is an "On Sight" use item, Level 3 & 4 Potions should take their place.
- Fireballs: These are usually just decent items at lower levels; as long as you have vision of an enemy, you can tag them with one of these for about 4 or 6 damage. Mid level fireballs have the added effect of being able to damage enemies near your target, which is very nice. But the Fireball we want to discuss is the 5th level Fireball. It hits enemies (5 or 10, can't remember) tiles away from the original target and deals something like 16 damage to each enemy hit. In the final floor, using this against Qaron's main guards is a power move.
- Poisons: Next best items compared to Fireballs are the Poisons. They are also "On Sight" use items, and do what you think; they poison an enemy. They typically only do about 10 damage even at the higher levels, but they come off of cooldown a bit faster than Fireballs and that makes them pretty nice for general usage.
- Thunderbolts: These are, well, not good perhaps but they're definitely okay. They can deal a ♥♥♥ ton of damage to an enemy, but generally you have to be within 2 or 3 spaces to actually use it and for some enemies that's close enough to draw their agro. Max level Thunderbolt does something like 18 damage, so its spicy af but I recommend it only if you've picked it up maxed.
- Immobilize: I like this item a lot only because I ended up using it in scenarios early on where I just couldn't risk wasting fireballs on the tons of meat shields that you can find in some of the tunnels. Immobilize is great because it not only freezes an enemy in place bit prevents them from attacking for the duration. This means that you can (for once) safely get into basic attacking range and use those Power upgrades you've spent a few hundred crystals on. It won't (and shouldn't!) take precedence over any of the other "Good" items, but that doesn't mean that it in of itself is not a "Good" item as well. Very useful tool when used properly, as I'm sure you will find out yourself.
The Bad Items
- Blind: The items that cause enemy vision to drop are absolute ♥♥♥ garbage. Do not pick these up, and if you did pick one up, immediately drop it. Even a Lewd Insect is infinitely better to have in your inventory for the sheer porn factor than compared to this waste of ♥♥♥ space. Blind (supposedly) will make an enemy blind. But it does it for about 2 turns, because enemies can't have negative vision, so this is only good in the case that you're trying to escape from an enemy, and at that point you would've already been better off using a level 1 fireball to attack or some ♥♥♥ rather than having wasted inventory space on this trash.
- Torches: Torches are also garbage, just not as garbage as Blind is. Since early on they can help you "On Sight" sniper enemies that you can't see yourself, they have minimal use. But your FOV is limited, and once you've maxed Vision, there's just about no reason to ever have to use a Torch.
- The Axe: The Axe is a melee inventory item that deals a decent chunk of damage with the caveat that you have a 40% chance to miss with it. Now I don't know about you, but I don't like taking damage, so the fact that this is a melee inventory item already hurts it in my eyes. IT also doesn't stack damage with buffs, so its just a flat damage item that has a chance to miss; it is also the ONLY item you will ever find in your inventory that has a chance to miss. Yeah, its that bad.
- Daggers: Another melee item, this will deal (I think 2?) damage to an adjacent enemy when used. That's horrible. Like, truly horrible. Once you've gotten 3 upgrades in power, never pick these up ever again. Not even for a meme. Not even if you think its a good idea because it's the only damage item you've found so far, it's actually one of the worst items in the game. Anything that forces you to get into melee range with an enemy and deals (2?) damage isn't worth your time.
The Ugly Items
- Lewd Insect: This item doesn't help in any way, and it permanently wastes an inventory slot for that run of the Dungeon. It also has a 10% chance to stun you for a turn if its off of cooldown, and the number of turns you are stunned increases for the number of times you find this item. So it can only waste one slot, but it will have a 10% chance to stun you for a number of turns equal to the number of Lewd Insects you found that run. Why is this the #1 "Ugliest" item and not #1 "Bad Item"? Simple; you can avoid being affected by it by simply having a full inventory. You physically cannot be affected by this item if there's no space in your inventory for it to hop into. It also can be used as a psuedo challenge item, where you actually proactively search for more; my first time beating the game, I had found 2 of them, so you can see how its not that big of a deal.
As a little bonus, it works as a living vibe that, when it goes off, makes your character react to it. Maybe not everyone's kind of thing, but uh, hey, its there and its not bad.
- Teleportation Items: There are two items in this game that will effectively teleport you to a different spot without using your movement turn. This is handy for quickly escaping, skirting around enemies, etc. They just, aren't very effective because the distance you can teleport is incredibly limited. They're best used in combination with high damage melee weapons because you can teleport next to an enemy and use the melee weapon without having to let the enemy get a turn to swing at you. Essential to have atleast one for "Melee" builds.
- Melee Weapons: These inventory items are, well, not bad but they certainly have a fair amount of risk to them. You have to be right next to an enemy to use them, and with enough Power upgrades you would already out-damage a fair number of them. They're really good if you can get the drop on an enemy with teleports, but otherwise are more of a self defense item to quickly get high health enemies off of you.
- Disarm: A general purpose item, any enemy you target with it will lose a significant chunk of damage when they attack you. Is, once again, really only good in scenarios where you know you're going to be taking damage no matter what you do. Planning for failure is, in my opinion, inferior to planning for a successful run but you do you.
- Strength: A buff that fooled me at first into thinking it was good; it is not. It is, once again, an item that you carry for instances where you know you're going to have to get into basic attack range. This will augment your basic attack damage by a heft amount for a few turns, but the buff wears down with each passing turn, making it insignificant for the last 2 turns of the buff. Insert don't plan for failure, plan for success quote here.
Even with all of the best items in the game, and a perfect inventory, you can still get ♥♥♥ if you have no idea what you're doing. Here's a few tips, tricks, and hints that I've picked up to help you maximize your items effectiveness and how to abuse the AI.
- Tunnels: Tunnels are what I would describe as the doorways you can pass through that don't take you to another floor, but just another room of the same floor. These are quite common, and tend to show up in cramped Floors where rooms are typically 9 to 12 spaces in size. These are fantastic because as far as I'm aware, enemies won't follow you through them. That means that, if you're in trouble or just need to cheese the life out of your foes, stick around in a tunnel or a doorway; typically only enemies right next to the tunnel/doorway or archers will attack you in these spaces, making them an ideal place to chill and hang out while you blast some fools.
- Ladders/Stairs: These are similar to Tunnels in the fact that as long as you are on them and there isn't an enemy right next to you, you're safe from drawing agro. Enemies will never follow you down a set of Ladders/Stairs. I'm also pretty sure that it bugs their AI, andthey typically won't move from the spot where they stopped chasing you, so you can draw enemies close, then bombard them with "On Sight" items and other ranged attacks. The first "Boss" on Floor 10 can be abused in such a manner, and if you're smart, pathological, or just stupid enough to try it, you can do the same with Lord Qaron on Floor 28.
- Barrels/Boxes: You might discover that some Boxes, Barrels, and even Minecarts have items inside them that you can add to your inventory by simply standing next to them and getting a prompt. This seems like a good idea up until you realize that this is also the #1 way to get stuck with a Lewd Bug in your inventory. Make sure that you have a full inventory before interacting with Boxes and Crates and all that ♥♥♥ so that you're maximizing the efficiency of your Inventory. Otherwise, they can be excellent sources of Crystals and useful items.
- Floors: Every 10 Floors, the Crystals you typically earn jumps dramatically. Above Floor 20, you typically can grab anywhere between 600 and 2000 crystals from a defeated enemy. And since there's no way to lose your Crystals aside from spending them, your best bet is to get as far as possible before you reset. Just because you can get farther by avoiding all enemies doesn't mean its smarter if you're missing out on potential Crystal drops.
- The Dirt: Every single square you can move on has the potential to hold a small number of Crystals. Early on, it would not behoove you to literally check every single square inch of each floor just to maximize Crystal gains. As far as I can tell, there's no downside to doing this aside from wasting time, so if you're not in a hurry then go for it. In later Floors this isn't recommended, as many of the layouts get to be quite large in size.
- Archers: ♥♥♥ Archers, they suck, I hate them, they're garbage. Unless you have a teleport handy, they're guaranteed atleast one free turn to shoot at you. Goblin Archers will move and shoot at you. Atleast Boars and Orcs won't run away like little ♥♥♥. These are your #1 targets always. Never underestimate how strong enemy Archers are.
- Dogs: Dogs have an extended Agro range, so they suck to sneak around. These are basically the only enemy where Blind is useful. Make these a priority as well, just after Archers. Why? Because if you die to one, you get a Dog scene, and that's ♥♥♥ nasty dude.