A list of all the upgrades in Downwell, sorted by usefulness (in my opinion).
Alright, without further ado, here’s the list!
This upgrade is fantastic, especially early on or if you haven’t acquired Gem Powered yet. It gives you a healthy supply of fuel that you can use to stay aloft after your gunboots run out of charge. This is great for keeping a combo going. You’ll get the most use out of the jetpack if you use it in short pulses, as each pulse will instantly cancel most of your downward velocity and will use very little fuel.
This is similar to the Safety Jetpack in that it lets you continue your combos longer after running low on charge, in this case by recharging your gunboots when you pick up gems. In some ways, this upgrade is more versatile than the jetpack; it lets you shoot enemies rather than having to bounce on them, and can give you a chance to shoot through destructible blocks. However, it’s less reliable because gems may not always be directly in your path of descent when you need them, and it is tricky to collect them without the Gem Attractor. Still, it is very helpful for continuing combos in tricky areas like Limbo.
Another useful gem-based upgrade. This one shoots a bullet upward every time you collect a gem. This can often kill enemies above you that you have no way of damaging otherwise, and as such is quite good at preventing damage.
Knife and Fork
Allows you to heal one point of health by consuming 10 corpses. It can be challenging to eat corpses while managing a combo, but this upgrade will probably still provide a slow yet steady source of health regeneration. I find it particularly useful in the Aquifer, where squids are abundant, easy to kill, and easy to consume while falling.
This upgrade is very simple and practical; it heals 4 points of health as soon as you get it, and nothing else. As with other sources of health, excess health contributes towards increasing your max health. I recommend saving the apple until as late in the game as possible. Odds are you’ll get a chance to acquire it in one of the three Limbo levels, where you can use it to top off before the boss. Of course, you may find yourself in dire straits earlier on, so use it at your discretion.
Draws in gems from further away. This upgrade has great synergy with Gem Powered and Popping Gems, which is why I’ve placed it in A-Tier. On its own it is less useful, but may still net you a few more gems that you can use to heal at shops.
This upgrade is a balloon that floats above you and will explode violently if any enemy comes near it. It can only explode once per level, and will regenerate at the start of each new level. I’ve read that it also slows fall speed, but this reduction is barely noticeable. Still, the ability of this upgrade to protect the area above you makes it worth getting, even in addition to Popping Gems.
Allows you to change the type of a gun by shooting its module. More importantly, it can change the benefit of its module from charge to health, and vice versa. Most of the time, health is much more valuable than charge, so I recommend using this upgrade to shoot charge modules while using health modules directly. This effectively improves your chance of getting a health module from 50% to 75%, which may add up over the course of a run. If you’re picky about your weapon choice, this upgrade can help with that too.
Gives you an additional upgrade choice after each subsequent level, and heals one health upon acquisition. I don’t care too much for this upgrade because it doesn’t give you any direct, long-lasting benefits that will help you, say, against the boss, but it can still help you end up with a better loadout if you get it early on. The health bonus is also nice, of course.
Considerably increases your range and creates a red line below you showing where your shots will hit. Fairly straightforward.
Significantly increases your i-frames after taking damage. While you obviously shouldn’t rely on this, it can keep you from taking extra damage if you tend to panic after getting hit.
Creates a timevoid around you when you take damage, killing nearby enemies and potentially giving you a spot to stand without losing your combo. Even just killing enemies around you may help you keep your combo going and prevent extra damage.
Causes a shop to generate at the start of each level, as well as giving you a 10% discount at each shop. While the frequency of shops with this upgrade is probably greater than is necessary in most cases, it ensures that you’ll have a chance to buy healing items after a rough level. The discount is mostly insignificant, but it may save you some gems over the course of a run.
Increases the duration of Gem High. This is occasionally useful in areas where gems are less frequent and open ground is rarer, such as the Aquifer and Limbo. However, you’ll be in Gem High mode most of the time anyway, so this upgrade doesn’t help much.
Rest In Pieces
Allows you to shoot enemy corpses, causing them to explode. To be honest, I haven’t used this upgrade much, but it hasn’t provided very reliable damage output in my experience.
Causes any enemy you bounce on to explode, damaging enemies below them. I used to like this upgrade, but I’ve found that it’s not terribly useful most of the time. If you’ve just bounced on an enemy, you’ll have full gunboot charge with which to dispatch any enemies beneath you anyway. The explosion also destroys the enemy’s corpse, and since most enemies that you can bounce on leave corpses, this upgrade hurts the effectiveness of Knife and Fork.
Causes the casings that fly out when you shoot your gunboots to deal damage. While this does provide slightly more damage output around you, the low damage of the casings and their unpredictable trajectories render them highly unreliable.
Lets you jump higher and damages enemies around the area where you jump. The main issue with this upgrade is that you’ll rarely ever be jumping if you’re at all good with combos. Furthermore, any target within range of the Rocket Jump will probably become vulnerable to you as soon as you jump anyway, making this upgrade somewhat redundant.
When you shoot destructible blocks with this upgrade, they will cause a bullet to shoot downward from them and any blocks beside them. This can help you clear out a swath of destructible blocks while clearing the area below them, but most of the time this isn’t very helpful in the first place when you could just shoot a few more times instead.