This is an introduction to Fights in Tight spaces explaining the core mechanics and giving some tips and tricks for playing the game, leaving room for you to develop your own style.
How to Fight
This section covers the basic rules governing fights.
Your objectives for each fight are shown at the top right of the screen. One of these is usually “Defeat X enemies” and is your main objective, necessary to win the fight and continue with the game. Additional objectives allow you to earn extra money or other rewards, these will be discussed in more detail later.
For now the important thing is that your goal is to kill all of your enemies before they kill you.
The game is played in turns, with the following five things happening every turn
1) Draw hand
2) Enemies move
3) Play cards
4) Enemies attack
Everything you do during the fight is achieved by playing cards. At the start of each turn you’ll discard any cards you had leftover from last turn and draw up to your hand size.
Your cards are managed like a real life deck of cards, so once you’ve played a card you won’t see it again until you’ve drawn all of the cards left in your deck and shuffled the discard pile to add it back into the deck.
You can click on the pile of cards on the left of the screen to see a display of which cards are left in your deck and the pile on the right to see what’s waiting in your discard pile for once you’ve finished the deck. Be aware that these displays are not in order, you get to know what is in your deck, but not which card is on top.
During the enemies move step all of your enemies will move a short distance, positioning themselves to attack you or block your actions. The enemies move one at a time in a fixed order and cannot move through obstacles, you, or each other.
When the enemies have moved you have the opportunity to play cards. Your hand is displayed at the bottom of the screen, to play a card click on it and click on the target of the card (A space you wish to move to or an enemy you wish to attack).
Most cards cost momentum. This is a resource which recovers every turn, on the left of the screen you can see a number in a hexagon showing how much momentum you have available this turn, and a second smaller number indicating how much you will recover at the end of the turn. When you play a card that costs momentum your current momentum is reduced by its cost, at the end of the turn your momentum recovers by your momentum recovery.
If you do not have enough momentum to play a card you will be unable to play it.
Some cards have a combo requirement instead of costing momentum. These cards can be identified by having a pair of arrows in a circle around a number. Such cards cost 0 momentum to play, but instead require you to have enough combo. Unlike momentum cards, they do not spend the combo, you simply need to have enough.
Your combo increases every time you strike an enemy. If a single card strikes an enemy several times, you will gain a combo for each contact. However your combo decreases for every space you move. It will also be decreased to 0 if you play any card marked as a combo finisher.
A couple of important points to notice:
The combo loss for moving is “per space moved” not “per card played”. Be careful with fast cards!
Combo ending cards do not have to be combo requiring cards – some cards with momentum cost end your combo. Pay attention!
Once you no longer wish to play cards (or are no longer able to because you have run out of cards, momentum and/or combo) you click end turn and the enemy will all attack.
Not every enemy will attack. In order to attack two conditions must be met:
1) The enemies attack must be in a position to hit something
2) The enemy must have acquired a target
All enemies that moved so that they could attack you directly are considered to have acquired a target, even if you have subsequently moved away.
Additionally whenever the contents of an enemies attack area changes they will be considered to have acquired a target.
Taken together this means that enemies will not attack each other by default, but if you move enemies into each others target areas or move out of the way of attacks then they can be tricked into taking shots at each other.
At the end of a turn if there are any reinforcements coming they will drop onto the map and immediately move as the next turn begins.
You can see if reinforcements are due in general by consulting your objectives. If your objective is “Kill 5 enemies” and there are 3 enemies on the screen, then sooner or later you will see some reinforcements.
Once reinforcements are imminent a marker appears on the floor showing where they will turn up. If you can block this marker (with yourself or another enemy) then the reinforcement is delayed and will appear in a different spot a turn later. This does not increase the amount of time you have for objectives with time limits, so it is not always desirable.
On most levels reinforcements become imminent as enemies are killed, so a marker will appear when an enemy dies, which could be on your turn as the result of a card or on an enemy turn as a result of friendly fire.
Victory and Defeat
Your enemies have hitpoints, shown when you mouse over them. Your attack cards display how much damage they do, hitting an enemy reduces their hitpoints by that amount. When an enemy is reduced to 0HP it is eliminated and no longer in play. Eliminate all your enemies and you have won the fight!
You also have hitpoints, shown on the left of the screen. These persist between levels, if you win a fight on low HP you’ll start the next fight similarly wounded! You can see how many HP an enemy attack will knock off you by mousing over the enemy. Once they’re all gone you have been eliminated and your campaign is over.
The basics guide above describes straightforward attacks that just deal some damage. One look at the cards you start with will show that things are usually a bit more complex than that. There are many cards in the game, but here are some of the most common special attacks you can use:
Some cards grant block, giving you temporary extra HP for one turn only. Any damage you take will first be deducted from your block, preventing you from losing HP.
Block does not prevent anything other than damage (unless the effect specifically says otherwise). You can still be pushed by an attack even if you block all of the damage.
Some enemies ignore block and deal damage directly to HP.
Some cards will grant you a counter attack. This is a special form of attack that you will execute whenever you are attached before the end of this turn.
Most counter attacks are range 1, some are range 2. If an enemy attacks from further away you will not counter.
You counter after the enemy attack is resolved. If they push you out of range you will not counter. If you are dead you will not counter.
You counter an attack, not taking damage, you can block the entire amount and will still be permitted to counter.
You counter each time the enemy acts. This means that if they act twice (for example with a reaction attack and then their main attack) you will counter them twice. However if they act once with multiple attacks (for example the chef enemies triple cleaver attack) you will only counter once.
You will counter every attack. If four enemies attack you, then you can get four counter attacks out of one card.
You can have multiple counter attacks. If you play two counter cards, then every time someone hits you, you will hit them back twice.
Some of your cards allow you to move an enemy, causing them to change position or facing.
This is different to pushing them because it cannot be used to inflict collision damage or to eject them from the arena.
If you hit an enemy with a push move they will be moved one space directly away from you.
If they hit a wall or obstacle they take 4HP of damage.
If they hit another enemy both enemies take 4HP of damage.
If they are pushed off the map they are instantly killed.
The tutorial states that death squares will be marked by a skull, do not believe its lies! There are many maps on the game that allow a character to be pushed off the map at unmarked points and will instantly kill them if they are. As a rule of thumb there is a barrier is below waist height at the edge of the map, being pushed into it is fatal.
Most attacks are Range 1: This means that they can only be used to attack an enemy standing right next to you.
Some attacks have higher maximum range. For example an attack with range 1-2 can hit an enemy up to 2 spaces away. Be aware that range is counted in straight lines, if an opponent is diagionally adjacent to you, you won’t be able to hit them with a range 2 card just because it’d take 2 spaces of movement to get to them.
Some attacks have a higher minimum range. If an attack has a range of 2-2 this means that it can hit an enemy 2 spaces away, but cannot be used against an enemy right next to you.
In any event be aware that enemies block line of sight, even if they can not be targeted by the attack. High obstacles will also block line of sight. Low obstacles will block melee, but not ranged attacks.
If you hit an enemy with a move that inflicts stun they will be stunned for a number of rounds listed on the card.
A stunned enemy will sit around in a daze and take no actions.
This includes passive actions, such as having special abilities that grant the enemy block at the start of each turn.
If you hit an enemy with a move that inflicts throw they’ll fall onto the floor.
An enemy on the floor cannot be targeted by further attacks (unless they specifically target downed opponents) and no longer block movement or line of sight.
They are no longer considered present for most purposes, so you cannot reposition them or take advantage of them to move diagionally using a slip.
This turn they will not attack.
Next turn they will use their movement to stand up, but will be stunned for the turn and will also not attack.
If they try to stand up but cannot because someone is standing on top of them, the person standing on top of them loses 5HP.
Most movement cards provide some movement, which allows you to click on a space within range and move to it. However there are also a few special movement options to be aware of:
Some ranged attacks feature the advance special – this means that if you use the attack at a range of greater than 1 you will advance to melee distance. If a move has both advance and push you will advance first and push second, leaving a clear space between you (unless they hit an obstacle).
Around an Enemy
This allows you to make a diagional move around an enemy. You must be adjacent to the target enemy and a space orthagonally adjacent to them and diagionally adjacent to them must be clear. Note that you can perform this move even if the path to that space would be blocked for normal movement.
Past an Enemy
This allows you to move through an enemies space, you must start adjacent to the enemy and move two spaces in a straight line through the enemy and into the space beyond. The space must be clear.
Past an Obstacle
This allows you to move through an obstacles space, you must start adjacent to the obstacle and move two spaces in a straight line through the obstacle and into the space beyond. This move only works for low obstacles and the space beyond must be clear.
You are not the only one with special moves! If you mouse over an enemy you will see a wealth of information, outlining their special moves. Some of the most common specials are:
Basic enemies will attack whatever is directly in front of them, but many are more capable.
Some have range, highlighting an area in front of them. The first target in this area will be struck, the others will not.
Some have attacks with an area of effect. These are represented differently with a thick line being drawn on the floor. Everything in the area will be affected.
Some have ranged attacks. These will continue until they strike something or hit the area boundary. These are represented by a dotted line and are not blocked by low obstacles.
Block works for enemies in exactly the same way that it does for the player.
Read the enemy description to understand where their block comes from – most enemies with block regenerate it every round, but some have more limited conditions.
Some enemies will counter attacks made against them with a revenge attack. This can interrupt your turn, causing you to take damage between card plays.
An enemy will not counter if it is out of range, if it is thrown or stunned, or if it dies as a result of your attack.
However counter attacks do not care about facing, an enemy with counter attack will still hit you back if you strike them from behind.
Finally enemies with counter attack take their revenge indiscriminately. If another enemy hits them, they will retaliate against that enemy.
Some enemies add an injury card to your deck if their attack injures you.
This is a temporary card that has some negative effect when drawn. It is removed from your deck at the end of this fight.
The attack of some enemies causes push.
This affects you in the same way as enemies, you can take collision damage, you can be instantly killed.
If you are pushed into another enemy then the enemy will still take the collision damage too.
An enemy with a reaction attack will attack you after each move or attack card that you play.
The enemy can only attack you if you are in its attack area.
The enemy can only make a limited number of reaction attacks per turn.
Reaction attacks are indiscriminate. An enemy will make a reaction attack against another enemy if that enemy was moved by the card that you played.
Reaction attacks occur after your card is resolved and do not occur if the enemy is stunned, thrown, or dead.
It is important to note that reaction attacks cannot occur in the middle of a single cards resolution – if a card causes you to advance into a reaction attackers range and then hit them with a push attack that moves them back out of range, then they will not get to react.
Turn to Face
An enemy with turn to face will turn to face you after each move that you make.
This occurs after your card resolves.
A stunned, thrown, or dead enemy will not turn to face.
Turn to face is checked after reaction attack, so if an enemy has both it cannot turn and attack in response to the same card (but will likely attack you after your next card unless you prevent that somehow).
Turn to face reacts only to movement. If you find a way to approach a “turn to face” enemy without it turning then you can punch it in the back of the head repeatedly without it turning around.
Fights in tight spaces is a game of attrition.
Your HP do not recover between levels, but each new set of enemies will have a nice full HP bar.
Therefore any exchange of blows should be seen as a big loss, if you take a 5HP hit to deliver 30HP of damage you have had a bad turn.
This means that when deciding which cards to play and what moves to make you need to answer three questions, in this order of priority:
1) How will I avoid taking damage this turn?
2) How will I avoid taking damage next turn?
3) How will I progress towards my objectives?
Avoiding damage this turn is the act of getting to a space and ensuring that everything pointing an attack at that space is killed, disabled, or totals less damage than your block.
Avoiding damage next turn is the act of getting into a position that is likely to help you do that again next turn.
Progressing towards your objectives usually means dealing damage to enemies.
There is no “one size fits all” answer to how to approach these priorities, but here are some things to consider:
- If you have several enemies pointing at you then one space of movement can negate several attacks. However pure movement costs cards, momentum, and combo and means making no progress so this is your “easiest” rather than “best” solution
- If you can knock down, stun, kill, or reposition every enemy pointing at you then you will also take no damage. Never attack instead of defending yourself, but always consider if attacking can make you safe. If you have a card that does more damage as your combo goes up don’t forget to take that into account when doing the math on whether “attack everyone” is the answer
- Blocking all damage is another way to avoid taking damage, but like moving it often means spending cards to not deal damage.
- The worst situation is to be surrounded with no escape. An easy way to avoid this is to end your turn with several (3+) empty spaces next to you to provide more avenues of escape.
- However again “easiest” does not always mean “best”. Even in a completely empty field four enemies can surround you and you might not draw a special movement. Leaving the closest enemy to you on 1HP means having an almost guaranteed “out” wherever enemies and reinforcements wind up.
- Dealing the most damage is often a consequence of considering your ordering. The fact that you consider “how to survive” as your top priority doesn’t mean it has to be the first thing you do. Planning your escape move and delivering some hits first can be strong.
- Pushing an enemy out of the level is the same as dealing damage equal to their remaining HP. The more HP the enemy has the more valuable that push. If you have lots of push cards try to avoid spreading out your damage so that when you get a killing push it’s high value.
- Pushing an enemy into another enemy damages both. Consider whether your “escape damage” move can also be a “make my push cards deal 8 bonus damage” move.
- Some enemies hit very hard. Some will counter attack each other. If you have swaps, grapples, shoves and other re positioning moves figure out how much damage you can make the enemy do to each other and compare it to your direct attacks.
- You can mouse over an enemy to see what order their attack is coming in. You can use this to check if a certain set of actions leads to an enemy being killed by their friend before being able to attack you.
- The best moves achieve more than one objective. Always look for “That’s good, but is there a way to do it that’s better”. When your forward kick dodges you out of combat and puts you in a harder to surround spot for next turn and kicks a high HP enemy over a railing you are having a good day.
Some specific enemies cause players more headaches than others. Here are a few notes on ones that people commonly find tough:
The glasses guys
These annoying fellows have both reaction attack and push. This can lead to a situation where you play a card to move up to them and they respond by dealing damage and pushing you away, cancelling your move and leaving you in no position to hurt them. Ugh!
They can only react once. Push another enemy in front of them and after they’ve pushed it you’re free to move.
They can only react after you’ve acted. If one starts next to you and pointing at you, you can use a kick or push to knock them out of reach and you won’t take a hit.
They will react to being moved. If you can push or grapple one into another enemy then they will immediately use their reaction to hurt that enemy. In an ideal world that enemy then bounces off an obstacle not only taking bonus damage, but then remaining in position to be hit again for the glasses guys action.
They do not have turn to face. Stepping around them and hitting them from the back or side can be effective.
They will react to being made to turn to face you. Beware swap, wall smash and their ilk. It’s a game of attrition, dealing that packet of damage is not worth the four you take in return.
Remember that you do not have to act. Sometimes reaction enemies will stand in a position such that advancing gets you hurt, it’s a feel bad moment to skip your go without doing anything, but it’s better than getting hurt.
The tatooed prisoner
This guy has a counterattack that hits for big damage and delivers push. He has a lot of HP and this is a lot of player’s first experience of counterattack and can lead to coming unstuck.
Counterattack does not care about facing! Hitting him from the back or sides is not safe.
He does counterattack is fellow prisoners though, making arranging enemy on enemy action more rewarding.
His counterattack doesn’t work if you’re 2+ spaces away, break out the ranged moves.
His counterattack doesn’t work if he gets pushed out of reach. This makes him one of the few enemies that it’s better to push into empty space rather than into another enemy – by now your instincts might be all wrong on that so take a moment to reassess.
His counterattack doesn’t work if he’s stunned, stun him first and take as many strikes as you want.
He has a massive HP pool but dies to being kicked out of the arena the same as anything else. Hanging around within a space or two of the doorways increases your odds of managing that happy outcome.
This enemy has a lot of tricks, she can teleport, make ranged attacks and create copies of herself. Alone she’s not that dangerous, but in a room of enemies her unusual traits can make her a bit of a pain.
She clones every few rounds, if you mouse over and she has a “???” showing this is a cloning round. That means you don’t have to worry about her hitting you and can close and fight a lot.
Her teleporting makes your positioning less relevant. Keeping all enemies on one side of you to avoid being surrounded no longer works. Pushing her towards a corner to set up a ring out no longer works. Re-evaluate your best moves accordingly.
The clones cannot summon more clones. If you get bogged down by some mooks and she clones go for the original first, it’ll stop her summoning even more clones while you fight her clones.
This enemy will turn to face, and reaction fire, and do so at range, and do so several times a turn. He is the enemy most frequently complained about in the forums.
It is worth moving around him rather than running straight at him. He will respond by turning to face and then shooting on your next card, instead of shooting as you approach and then shooting again as you attack.
Do not move next to him until you have a plan, he will shoot you after you play your next card so make it count:
Kick him off the level.
Throw him. You can beat him next turn after he’s stunned.
Grapple or redirect him. He won’t turn to face you again so you can keep hitting him.
Put on blocks and counters. He won’t react to non-move non-attack actions and his damage is poor so block and counters work well against him.
This section just covers the rules governing the strategy layer of the game, if you know how it all works but are here looking for advice you won’t miss anything by jumping to the next section.
Fights in Tight Spaces is about more than just fights in tight spaces, for instance you have to choose which spaces to fight in and how tight they should be.
After each fight you’ll be sent to the level select screen, allowing you to choose which node to visit next. The paths between nodes and shown and you can click and drag if you want to look further ahead – the game won’t let you select a node you can’t visit (Has a path connecting it to your current location) – but you can still mouse over them to get information and plan your next move.
There are five types of node:
Fight – Another fight in another tight space
Event – A random event with many possible outcomes
Gym – A place to improve your deck
Medical Centre – A place to heal injuries and improve your max health
The Office – A place where your boss tells you what to do and how to live
We’ll tackle these one by one.
A fight node looks like one of the rooms in the game. The graphic shows you which room the fight will be in and mousing over it provides additional information such as the enemies you will be facing and the possible rewards.
The icons listed by the rewards indicate what you will receive for completing the objectives in this fight:
Currency symbol: Money (Typically £30 for a normal level and £60 for a boss)
Card: Card (Usually a choice of 3)
Big Cross: Healing (15-30)
Little Cross with arrow: Max Health (2-4)
Circle made of two arrows: Max Combo (2-4)
Three little arrows pointing uprwards: Max Momentum (1)
If more than one reward is present then the fight will feature objectives to earn them, such as completing the level within a time limit or avoiding taking too much damage. This is discussed in the objectives section below.
An event will give you a little story and then a choice. The choice will have a variety of possible outcomes including, but not limited to:
Adding cards to your deck.
Removing cards from your deck.
Upgrading cards in your deck.
Getting long term injuries.
Gaining momentum regeneration.
Unlocking follow up events that can occur later in the run.
Immediately creating a new unique fight node and sending you to a fight.
Some events will display the consequences of a particular choice, others you need to learn by trial and error.
At the gym you can improve your deck by adding, removing and upgrading cards.
Cards on offer are displayed and have a fixed cost depending on the card.
Clicking the “upgrade” button takes you to a view of the unupgraded cards in your deck. The cost for upgrading each one is shown – if you click on it you can see what the upgrade does and will have a chance to back out before spending the money. The cost and effect of each upgrade is fixed, a given card always upgrades the same way, going to another gym doesn’t give a different option.
Clicking the “remove card” button takes you to a view of your deck and lets you click on a card there to remove it forever for the cost of £80.
Using an option in the gym doubles the cost of that option. For example if you remove a card for £80 and click on remove a card again it’ll cost £160.
This does not affect the cost of other options, removing doesn’t make an upgrade more expensive, nor does it affect the cost in future gyms.
At the medical centre you can spend money to heal your HP, increase your maximum HP or remove long term injuries.
Medical Centres (almost) always occur next to gyms obliging you to choose to visit one or the other.
When you finish the final node in a chain (Which is always a fight node featuring a boss) you will automatically be sent to the office for a brief conversation with your boss.
There you’ll be given a “choice” of a single thing that you must do next, which will take you to a new area with a new set of nodes and different types of enemies. These are termed acts and there are five of them:
Act 1: Biker gangs
Act 2: Prisoners
Act 3: Ninjas
Act 4: Mafioso
Act 5: Biker gangs, prisoners, ninjas and mafioso
You must always go through them in the same sequence and initially have the option to skip stages, but may not do so once the game has started.
On entering a new area you’ll receive your rewards for the boss fight that you have recently completed which is always an enhancement and (if you finished the level quickly enough) 20HP of healing.
Which brings us to the final topic for the strategy layer:
Enhancements and long term injuries.
Beyond your stats and deck there are two other things you can take from level to level.
Enhancements are permanent upgrades not tied to a particular card. They can do things like provide some block every turn or reduce the cost of healing or add cards to your hand from beyond your deck.
You have 4 slots for enhancements and start with one. When your slots are full you can still gain more, but will need to choose one to lose each time.
Long term injuries are the opposite of enhancements and cause some problem for the rest of the game, such as making all movement cost additional momentum.
These can be crippling to have and removing them is expensive and inconvenient, requiring you to go to a medical centre with a fair chunk of cash.
Fortunately they are also relatively hard to obtain, presently only appearing via events. You will always have the option to choose an outcome that doesn’t risk a LTI so it’s not a mechanic you’ll see much of, unless you want to or like big risks.
Alright, so you’re winning fights, but what cards will you add to your deck? Which ones will you take away?
Deciding how to build the decks is one of the great joys of the game and I’m not going to rob you of it by prescribing a specific set of cards to “always take”. The fact is that you can win with any of the archetypes and within that there are plenty of different ways to build each one.
However there are a few things to bear in mind:
A small deck is always and in all ways superior to a large deck
Even where the cards are identical a small deck is better than a large deck.
If a deck has whatever you think are the five best cards, you will draw those cards every turn and have an endless sequence of perfect draws.
If a deck has ten copies of each of those cards then sometimes you will not get what you want. You might draw five copies of your favoriate movement card and be unable to attack. Or worse, five attacks and be unable to move.
Also consider that you wish to upgrade your cards. The first deck can be fully upgraded with five gyms. The second deck will not be fully upgraded even if you horde every coing the game offers you.
So always be reluctant to add cards to your deck. You will do better to refuse an extra card on 80% of levels, only adding when you see the perfect one that exactly suits what you want your deck to do.
Some cards are better than others
Which is better: Throw or Front Kick?
It is a matter of opinion. Front kick can get you out of trouble and attack. It’s good for pushing people out of area and its flexible range means you can position to do so more easily. It also chains with itself which is an excellent trait. On the other hand throw will disable an enemy for two turns and overcomes a host of annoying reaction attack and block style traits and it doesn’t depend on the terrain and your positioning for effectiveness. Both have merits.
Which is better: Step or Dash?
Dash is better. It moves 1-2 spaces, while step moves 1 space. There is literally nothing that step can do, that dash cannot – but there are things that dash can do that step cannot.
The game is full of cards that are flat upgrades on each other. As you learn the cards get used to the notion that some cards should almost always be rejected because a strictly better version exists.
There are also some “hidden” version of this where the basic cards are different but the upgraded cards are not. It’s tough to say whether Quick Kick or Push is better, quick kick does more damage but push doesn’t cost momentum, so they both have merit. However the upgrade for push is “do more damage” and the upgrade for quick kick is “cost 0 momentum” so quick kick+ is just a better version of push+ (they’re now exactly the same but the kick does more damage).
What are you doing with combo?
There are three approaches to combo.
1) Ignore it. Don’t pick cards that depend upon, use, or interact with it. This lets you ignore the “lose a combo” disadvantage to movement and so make greater use of move cards.
2) Build it but never lose it. Remove all “combo finisher” cards from your deck, but include several cards that deal more damage the higher your combo is. Aim for your combo to get high and then deliver huge death blows for the rest of the fight.
3) Use it fully. That means including cards that build combo rapidly (like triple punch and other multi hit attacks) and combo finishers that use all of your combo to massive effect.
There are pros and cons to each of these approaches, but pick one and stick to it. How you manage your combo each move depends on what you plan to do with it, it’s best not to occasionally draw a hand that makes you wish you’d done the opposite.
Some cards multiply each others effect
Under ideal conditions a counter blocks one attack and gives you a free attack. Total 1 attack.
However ideally two counters blocks two attacks and gives you 2 free attacks on each. Total 4.
Three counters could block three and hit each enemy three times. Total 9.
Similarly one push card is okay. But two push cards, two manoeuvre cards and a grapple mean tossing that 140HP enemy in the centre of the map off a roof and declaring instant victory.
When you’re considering cards that boost each others effectiveness it’s best to make a decision and commit heavily to it. Take several cards that do a thing (and more importantly decline cards that do something else, even if they’re good) or take none. Half measures will get you killed.
Your momentum will change over time
Most decks start with you having 3 momentum capacity and 3 momentum regeneration. This means each turn you can play 3 momentum of cards and don’t get to keep anything you don’t use. Thus the ideal hand is 3 “cost 1” cards and 2 “cost 0” cards, allowing you to play everything.
By the endgame you might find you have a capacity and regeneration of 9 – at which point “cost 0” cards suddenly look like the weakest thing in your hand and you wished you had something chunkier.
The upshot of this is that you rarely want to add cheap cards like “quick block” to your deck and deciding when to start removing them is a judgement call you need to make based on how well your momentum acquisition is going.
There’s also a flip side to it where cards that let you draw more cards are tremendously valuable in the end game and actively detrimental at the start. Deciding whether to take a ponder in act one knowing it’ll be great in act 5 but is a dead card more often than not in a 3 momentum card is a tough choice. How well are you doing? If you are storming every objective a slight disadvantage now might be worth the long term payoff.
Enemies scale further than your cards do
Each card can only upgrade once, but the end game enemies have hundreds of HP. At the start of the game high damage can make a card very useful, but by the end bonuses like push, stun, throw, and the like become more important.
There’s a tension between “A card that’s good now” and “A card that will still be good at the end of act V” You rarely want to add anything you ultimately plan to remove, but it’s also important not to remove a card that’s currently useful too soon.
The best cards do more than one thing
This doesn’t necessarily mean having two explicit options like “Option Play” – this is more about picking a card that’s good in a variety of situations.
Push is often a great example of this, being an offensive and defensive tool at the same time since it lets you knock an enemy out of range of hitting you (even if they have reactive attacks) or kill high HP enemies from full.
Move cards with special moves also fit in here. Moving can be offensive or defensive depending on why you’re moving, but the more ways you have to move the more options you have. Slips and Vaults and the like simply give you more options.
The converse of this is that cards which only deal damage are almost always ones you want to remove from your deck sooner or later. Quick punch, long strike, and their ilk might be the bread and butter of your early game, but they’ll do nothing for you by the end. Ditch em when you can.
If you’re going to have more fun losing with a fun card than winning with a coldly efficient deck, then you build that deck based on flash powder you magnificent hero!
You often have a choice of nodes in progressing through the plot: Which ones should you take?
The following factors are important:
The best node is the gym. Removing and upgrading cards is critical to success, miss too many gyms early on and you’ll die in the late game no matter how good your tactics are.
For the same reason medical centres are a trap. Spending money to heal might make it more likely that you’ll clear this act, but at the cost of making it more likely that you do next act. I’d recommend a gym over a medical centre even if you’re on your last HP – you’re aiming to take no damage every level after all.
Events are often a very strong node, if you don’t mind losing a lot before you start winning. On average events offer more than most regular nodes (except momentum nodes) but only once you
(a) Get used to what the rewards are and start picking the best ones
(b) Can consistently win things like the fighting arena fight with a starting deck
They can be horrible and some will utterly ruin your run if you play them wrong. When you start out skipping every event will improve your chances of winning, but in the long run you’ll be more successful when you start using them. Consider them more valuable when you’re on low money (You can buy things in events with not enough money and still get the full reward) and high health (Some events let you trade HP for money, upgrades, and enchancements. If the end of level heal would’ve put you over max that’s free loot). Also try to remember which of the cards in your deck costs the most to upgrade in case you get a free upgrade result.
To do well in events: Pay money you don’t have, never risk a long term injury for any reason, be willing to click no effect, always take a fight if one is offered (unless its against a shark), do whatever the most “by the book professional” option suggests. Assume that a random card added to your deck will make things worse, it always does.
The combat nodes offer various rewards, the most important of which is probably maximum momentum. You always start a fight with full momentum so getting up to 4 or 5 maximum momentum gives you the option of powerful openings in which you play your whole hand, which is good for objectives that depend upon speed.
It’s worth giving up on almost any other sort of node to make sure that you hit the first momentum upgrade or two that you see and they remain valuable throughout the game. They don’t usually show up before the first prison boss, so that’s when to scroll ahead a bit and identify their positions so that you won’t miss one.
After that the value of different rewards depends on what sort of deck you’re playing and what you hope to do with it. Max combo is powerful in some decks and completely useless in others. Healing is very situational but will sometimes save your life.
All else being equal look at the rooms that the fights are in. As a rule of thumb the tighter the space, the better the fight. Getting enemies to hit each other, pushing enemies out of the level, getting big combos, finishing in a time limit – all of the good stuff – gets easier when everyone’s packed into a smaller space. If the rewards seem equally good, choose the physically smallest level.
A little planning ahead is justified, but not usually by more than a few nodes, since all paths unite at each boss fight, making it unnecessary to plan further ahead than that.
If your long term success is dependent on hitting as many gyms as possible and always having the £80 needed to remove a card when you do and you want that sweet bonus momentum, then you’re going to need to complete some side objectives.
These come in a few flavours:
Complete the level in X turns
This is the most common objective. Completing it requires treating “deal damage” as a higher priority, which often means taking some risks.
Sub optimal positioning for next turn is usually an acceptable risk. Sometimes it’ll go wrong and you’ll take a hit, but most times having only 2 degrees of freedom or similar is something you’ll get away with.
Unless you’ve managed to get a healing card into your deck you probably still don’t want to take damage to complete it, unless you are 100% sure it’ll help. Don’t take a hit on turn 1 to make it more likely you’ll be faster, it could be you’d have made it anyway or its not enough to help. But on the penultimate or final turn you’ll have a better idea of whether the hit will mean completing the objective so make the call then.
Bear in mind the bonus money for completing sub boss levels faster is much greater than the bonus money on other levels, so justifies a bigger sacrifice.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that this objective exists when considering your deck building. If you’ve started with the standard deck and intend to remove “quick block” and “quick punch” at some point, remove the block first, since the punch will make you faster at clearing levels even if its not your optional choice.
Grab the briefcase in X turns
This is a somewhat hated objective. You need to move onto a space with a briefcase within the time limit.
It doesn’t exist for any purpose other than marking the target space, so don’t worry about it being attacked or similar.
However the enemy can (and will) stand on top of it, preventing you from getting it.
Managing this is usually a case of playing your movement cards effectively. Remember that ranged advance moves like “front kick” are movement cards. If you’re running the base deck and have access to one emergency move per scenario don’t play it until you (usefully) get the full 2 spaces of move out of it, but when you can go for it right away.
If you kill all enemies before the briefcase disappears you’ll get it automatically (even if you’re on the other side of the map) but this is rarely practical.
Another one worth bearing in mind during deckbuilding – momentum upgrades are often briefcases so including an extra move card towards the start of the prison level isn’t a bad idea.
Get a combo of X
This requires you to have a combo of X at some point, it doesn’t matter if you immediately lose it afterwards.
Moving costs combo so if you’re not in a rush (don’t also have a timed objective) let the enemy come to you even if it means skipping turn once or twice.
If the level has a mix of melee and ranged enemies try to engage a ranged one first. It’s a sad day when you have this objective but can’t score it because an enemy keeps moving away and running after them depletes your combo gauge.
Push X enemies out of the level
Often a freebie, since that’s the most efficient way to kill them a lot of the time anyway.
Remember which mobility and push cards you have in your deck and position yourself appropriately. Enemies like to be adjacent to you, but do not like to be adjacent to death – so give them opportunities to stand in spaces that meet those criteria that you can kill them from with a grapple-push or back slam or whatever else you’ve got.
Also remember that you can disable an enemy to prevent them from moving, so if you can’t tip them over the edge, making sure they’re next to the edge when you get your new hand of cards is the next best thing.
Have X enemies kill other enemies
Pretty self explanatory.
Don’t spend too long getting enemies to attack each other when the level starts, there are no prizes for “get an enemy to deplete another enemies entire health bar” instead beat them all to within an inch of their life and then focus on drawing their attacks onto each other.
Try to avoid making kills until the enemy kills have happened, accidentally killing down to your last enemy and realising it can’t kill itself is a feel bad moment.
Protect the ambassador
The ambassador will be in yellow and enemies will target him as well as you.
This objective is always tied to healing so if you’re on full HP just let him die and play a careful round.
If you’re not then consider that sometimes taking a hit for the ambassador is worth it because the heal is more than it cost you.
You can attack the ambassador as an enemy but he won’t take damage. That lets you push or kick him out of trouble – if enemies form up on either side of him they might even attack each other.
You get the same prize whether the ambassador is on full HP or only has 1 left, so don’t take big risks to stop him getting minor scrapes.
The enemy scale much more aggressively than the ambassador, if you’re in the final act just assume he’s already dead and be pleasantly surprised if he makes it.
Protect the informant
Like protect the ambassador, only now the one you have to protect is an enemy and will be trying to kill you.
They’re also no longer immune to your damage and killing them will fail the mission.
However enemies will no longer deliberately attack them (but can friendly fire as normal).
This tends to be pretty straightforward, simply moving so that the informant is further away than other enemies tends to be enough to keep them out of the way.
Again there are no bonus prizes for leaving them unscathed so if you need to do a bit of damage to throw or stun them so they don’t bother you while you’re killing the others that’s an acceptable loss.