For Have a Nice Death beginners, this guide will explain all of the game’s basic mechanics and more specifically tips and potential tricks that may help you in combat and in your runs as a whole.
I’ve also played the game enough to have beaten the last boss multiple times and have all of the Items unlocked, and am fairly comfortable playing with any weapon I pick up and can change my pathing and build to match what I have and the choices I’m given.
Core Game Mechanics
You start with 65 HP, which can be increased throughout your run via Curses or Max HP Increase items.
Whenever you take damage, a portion of the damage you take is converted to grey recoverable health called “Injuries” and the rest of the damage is “unrecoverable” health which can only be healed through “Pure Heals”. As far as I’m aware the % of the damage you take that gets converted into Injuries varies based on enemy and/or attack so some attacks will leave you with a lot of Injuries but others may not give you many Injuries at all and essentially just do pure damage.
You start with 50 MP, which can be increased throughout your run via Curses or Max MP Increase items.
You don’t use mana normally and only use mana via Spells that you can find in your runs. This means that sometimes you want to have a lot of mana because you have 2 spells or 1 very expensive spell, or you may not care about mana at all since you don’t have any spells.
You start with 0 Animas and can hold up to 3 at a time. When you use an Animas it will heal some of your Injuries (not pure heal). As far as I’m aware it heals a base of up to 20HP in Injuries, which can be increased through Curses. You can also obtain a Golden Animas which will Pure Heal you as well as heal injuries. (It appears that if you have a Golden Animas you will always use that before any normal ones)
The only ways to get Animas’ are through random chance either by killing enemies or as a reward for an Arena. From what I can gather you can increase your chances of getting an Animas depending on which room you’re in within your run (Vitam-Mana Department, Vault, and Hazardous Floor being what I’ve found to be most likely to give you an Animas per kill/Arena).
By default you only have the Scythe to attack with, and you always have the Scythe or one of it’s upgrades as your basic attack. You’re also able to equip up to 2 weapons at a time which act as your 2nd and 3rd attack buttons.
You can get weapons periodically throughout your runs either spawning via random chance inside a crystal (called a Cairn) or by going to a Weapons floor which guarantees at least 1 weapon to spawn on that floor.
There are 2 different types of weapons you can pick up, Cloak weapons and Spells (Book weapons). Spells cost mana to use and may potentially also have a cooldown and Cloak weapons only have a cooldown.
You may think that this is a redundant section considering I’ve already covered the weapons, but there’s more to attacking than just pressing the buttons. Both the Scythe and some Cloak weapons have the ability to change what attack you use based on what direction you’re holding on your Left Analog Stick and all weapons have a different attack while you’re in the air.
The Scythe has the most variability in what attacks you can do with it, you can either press the button multiple times without holding a direction for your basic attack sequence, hold down and press the button for a single utility based attack (by default it’s an attack that hits both in front of you and behind), hold up and press the button and you’ll do a rising attack that can act as either your only jump or a second jump if you haven’t used it since leaving the floor, if you’re jumping and press the button multiple times (except for the Diss Scythe) you get an aerial basic attack sequence, and if you’re jumping and hold down and press the button you’ll do a dive attack directly down to the ground below you.
That’s a lot of different basic attacks, but there’s even more because not only do you get a different attack if you hold a different direction with the Scythe but the Scythe specifically has the ability to charge (hold) the first hit of it’s basic grounded attack sequence to do 2 different attacks, one of them you release the button after 1 second which jumps up slightly and then does a big circle attack centered below you or 2 seconds for a stronger version that jumps slightly higher, and the other attack you can do by pressing the dash or “Rush” button while holding the attack button and you’ll do a dash while attacking (also effected by charge time to go farther and do more damage). The “Rush” Charge Attack is also invincible during the dash.
If you’re charging an attack and release the button too early or try to Rush Charge Attack too early you’ll get either a basic attack or a normal dash, and I’m not sure if it’s intended or a bug but the attack you get if you release the button too early is effected by direction as well so you can hold up and release the button early to do a partial charge cancelled into a rising attack.
Certain Cloak weapons have a different attack if you hold up and press the button while on the ground as well.
It’s easy to tell that attacks do damage and how much damage they do, but there’s another part of attacks than just the damage it deals to enemies. Each enemy has a different hidden “Stun” meter and each attack also has a specific amount of “Stun Damage” it deals to enemies. When an enemy takes too much Stun Damage in a short enough time it Stuns them, causing them to stand in place without attacking for roughly ~3-5 seconds letting you hit them for free during that time. Fury attacks in general have the most stun damage, but every attack has at least a little amount of stun it deals. How much Stun Damage you do is highly dependent on which weapon you’re using, some weapons don’t deal much Stun Damage at all, and some weapons deal a lot of stun damage but don’t deal as much normal damage etc..
Obviously holding left or right on the left analog stick will move you left or right. You have a jump button and only one jump (no double jump). If you’re on a platform and hold down and press jump you’ll fall through the platform. You have a “Rush” or dash button that moves you a set distance and can’t be used again for about a second after you use it, during the dash you are invincible so you can use it to go straight through attacks if you have good timing and positioning. The rule to not being able to dash a second time in quick succession does not apply to the Rush Charge Attack so you can use the Rush attack and immediately dash afterwards.
Basic movement can get you pretty far but if you combine basic movement with using scythe attacks to move you can go a lot faster and move a lot more fluidly. As an example you normally only have 1 jump and that’s it, but if you jump and use your Up Scythe Attack you effectively get a double jump that also acts like an attack; and you don’t even have to do both back to back so you can jump and do a few attacks and even possibly a dash and then use your rising attack to stay in the air for a very long time. You can also use your areal down attack to go to the ground whenever you want to which can also speed up your movement a lot. As a last movement example, as I said before you can dash directly after a Rush Charge Attack so you can use that to move across the screen super fast which is especially useful in larger Arenas.
Core Game Mechanics Cont. (Fury / Curses)
The Fury gauge is located in between both of your secondary weapons and below your scythe icon. When full you can hold your Fury button while on the ground and press an attack button to get a super strong move specific to which weapon used Fury, and yes you read that right each weapon has it’s own Fury attack not just the Scythe and each one has it’s own unique uses.
You gain Fury meter by attacking and being attacked. You might think it’s as simple as that but there’s more, you gain more fury meter if you vary your attacks and make sure you’re not just using the same attack over and over again. This highly incentivizes players to use their entire kit and all of their weapons. Get used to using every single attack you have available and you’ll find yourself getting fury so often that you may even get it up to 3 times in the same boss fight!
Throughout your run you’ll run into T. O’Shah quite a bit, both randomly and after every boss you defeat. Each time you see him you’re given the ability to choose 1 Curse to have between 3+ different Curses. Curses are passive buffs to your character that persist until you die or finish a run; depending on where in the Curse Tree you get the Curse it may come with a Penalty that either buffs an enemy in some way or otherwise gives you a negative effect. Which Curses he shows is randomized, but only per instance not per interaction; so each time you meet him you’ll be shown different options but he won’t change those options if you back out and talk to him again.
In the Curses tab in your start menu you’ll see 3 different “Trees” of Curses, with the specific layout of each tree being randomized every run. Every curse you get fills that slot in it’s respective Tree and the next time you choose a curse it will potentially give you a different amount of Curses depending on how full each Curse Tree is. You will note that some of the slots on each Curse Tree are purple, this shows you that the curse you get that fills that slot will be guaranteed to give you a penalty as well.
From what I can tell, each Curse Tree has a different theme. The leftmost red Tree is what I’ll call the Attack Tree, and it has primarily Curses that buff the Scythe’s or Cloak Weapons’ attacks or just buffs your overall damage in some way. The middle green Tree is what I’ll call the Defense Tree, and it has primarily Curses that improve your ability to survive or utility-based Curses. Lastly the rightmost green Tree is what I’ll call the Spell Tree; most of what you’ll find in this tree is Curses which either give you more mana, mana regen, Spell damage, etc..
As you play you may run across items called “Curse Reroll” or “Curse Nullifier”. When you pick them up it does nothing, but it gives you the option to re-roll a single Curse or give you the ability to remove a Curse Penalty from the next Curse you pick that has one next time you meet T. O’Shah. You are able to hold as many Curse Rerolls and Curse Nullifiers as you want.
There are currently 5 Departments and every Department (except the last one at the moment) has 5 floors. The first floor is randomly generated and has a moderately decent chance for enemies to drop items when killed. The second through fourth floors you will have 1-4 different floors you can choose from, both the number of choices and the floors shown will be completely randomized though it seems like you see every room roughly the same amount of the time (except for the Shop / Control Room / Thanager’s Offices which seem to appear at most once per department). The last floor of every Department is guaranteed to be the Sorrow’s Office for that Department, which is that section’s final boss.
The most basic floor, the reward for the floor is just Soulary. It seems like enemies also have a higher chance of dropping Soulary on this floor.
I’ll usually only pick this floor if it’s the only choice or if I just really want to get some level-ups at the next Control Room
Has a high chance of having Prismium on this floor. Prismium is the premium currency of each run. It can be used to expand how many items are shown in all future shops that run, it can upgrade/change forms for your Scythe in the Control Room, or it can be used instead of Soulary to level up one of your weapons in the Control Room.
I’ll usually prioritize this room or the next until I have at least 1 Scythe transformation, then it’s based on preference and other floor choices.
Will either have Soulary or Prismium as the floor reward, and seems to increase the chance of either dropping from enemies or being rewarded after an Arena.
I’ll always pick this room over the Soulary Deposit.
I’m honestly not super sure what you get from the vault, it just seems to be pretty much anything from Prismium, Soulary, Weapons, Curses, etc. and it seems to improve the overall chance of enemies dropping anything when killed.
I’ll go here if there’s nothing in particular I’m looking for as it just seems to be a decent floor all around.
Guaranteed to have a Cairn (containing a weapon) as a floor reward, still has the chance to have additional Cairns spawn at the same time.
I’ll mainly only go to this floor if I’ve gotten super unlucky and don’t have any additional weapons yet, or if you get the Curse that heals you when you open a Cairn. I may also go here if I just want some different weapons than the ones I have.
Guaranteed to have either a Max HP Increase item or a Max Mana Increase item as a floor reward. Also seems to increase the chance that enemies will drop Animas on death.
I’ll go here pretty often until I have 100+ max HP or even more if I’m using 2 spells for the max mana.
Guaranteed to either have a Curse Reroll or Curse Penalty Negation as a floor reward. Also seems to slightly improve enemy drop rates.
Pretty low on my priorities list, I’ll usually pick most other floors first unless I really want some Curse Penalty Negation because I’ve been getting a lot of curses that run.
Seems like there’s usually 2+ Arenas on this floor and otherwise seems random reward-wise. Also seems to improve enemy drop rates.
I see this floor as more of a wild card. Both the drop rate increase and having more enemies means I’ll usually end up finding at least 1 Animas or more on this floor, and the amount of Soulary you get is pretty good too. Choose based on personal preference and what other floor choices exist.
HR Office – T. O’Shah
Guaranteed to have at least 1 choice between 3+ curses as a floor reward.
Curses are always nice to get as they’re just passive buffs, so the more you get the stronger you are overall. Pretty high on my priorities list, only ones I’ll usually pick before this are the Control Room, Prismium Deposit, and Thanager’s Offices.
Mini-Boss floor. Will always have the Mini-Boss named on the floor, may or may not have other enemies / Arenas. Beating the Thanager will always give you Soulary and the option to choose a Curse. Has the potential to have additional Curse choices on the same floor. Each Department only has 1 Thanager (except the last one currently) and only 1 Thanager’s Office will spawn at most each Department.
Pretty high on my priorities list. The high chance to get 2+ Curses on the same floor is just too good in my opinion.
No enemies or Arenas spawn on this floor, it’s only the Shop. You can buy from 2 (base, can be increased through Prismium) items with Soulary. Seems guaranteed to have at least 1 healing item and 1 weapon in the choices. I’ve only ever seen 1 spawn in each Department.
I’ll skip the shop most of the time unless I just need the healing that much or don’t have any weapons as it’s usually better to save the money for Control Room upgrades.
No enemies or Arenas spwan on this floor, it’s only the Control Room. Allows you to level up all weapons from lvl 0-3 for 50/100/150 Soulary per level. You can also use 1 Prismium instead of Soulary for a level or to chance the Scythe’s form to something else (within 1 step of where it is, forward or backward with 3 stages and the last stage having 2 choices). Only 1 seems to spawn per Department at most.
As it gives permanent damage and utility upgrades to your weapons it’s #1 on my priorities list. The difference in damage and utility cannot be understated between a lvl 0 and a lvl 3 weapon. If one of your weapons is at lvl 3, regardless of what it is, you’re going to be mowing through enemies like the Reaper you are.
The final boss of each Department, guaranteed to be the last floor of every Department. Like with Thanagers you are rewarded Soulary and a Curse when you beat each Sorrow. After beating each Sorrow you are sent to the next Department.
The Break Room
Between Departments after each boss you defeat you’ll go to the Break Room, no enemies spawn here and the only stuff you can do is talk to the randomly appearing NPC characters or open the Fridge for a chance to get a random food item. (I say random chance but from my experience the first break room almost always has food in it, the second one almost never does, the third one has a chance to, and the fourth one almost never does.)
Which food item you get is random from the pool you have unlocked (with potentially an increased chance based on how many food items you have unlocked, but I’m not sure). All of the effects are positive but there are only 2 food items that heal you, and one that gives you 3 Animas. The other food items are stat increases and all of the non-Animas ones have a time limit of 2 minutes.
You can play however you want, but I think this game points you towards a quicker and more aggressive and varied play-style. I’ve found great success in moving around the map like a bat outta hell just carving through hoards of enemies, and feel that it’s more worth it to fight every enemy for the chance that you get rewards of either Soulary or Animas to get stronger or keep you alive for longer. Yes it’s more risky inherently due to the fact that you need to fight more enemies and have more of a potential of losing health because of it, but I think all you need to do is play it somewhat safe until you can get used to enemy attack patterns and then you can just go ham. It’s not even super hard to learn most enemy attack patterns since every non-boss enemy only has 1-3 different attacks that you need to memorize.
If you’re going to play aggressive like I suggest you will have to be moving everywhere to avoid damage unless you have enough upgrades that you can kill enemies within a second or two. Get comfortable moving around the map quickly, get used to using your attacks and Rushes to never stay in the same place for more than 2-3 seconds and either dance around enemies or run in a circle around the room tagging each enemy on your way to avoid damage.
One big thing I must stress while playing fast though is to not play too fast. Always make sure you know where you’re going to end up when you dash, use a rising attack, or use a dive so that you’re not stuck right in front of an enemy that can quickly hit you.
Along with play-style and technical skill, you also need to think about your pathing (which floors you pick). If you’re low on health you may want to pick the Vitam-Mana Department, a Shop, Vault, or Hazardous room for the chance at getting an Animas or other type of heal or max HP increase. If you don’t have a weapon think about going to a Weapon Storage, Vault, or Shop to get one. Get used to always thinking about why you’re picking the floor and so long as you have a clear reason why you’re choosing it or it’s the only choice you should be fine.
Target prioritization is another skill that needs to be kept in mind. You will usually want to kill the enemies that either buff allies, create more allies, or can attack from a long distance away first and kill the slowest or shortest ranged enemies last when possible. But just because you’re focusing down a target doesn’t mean you can take your eyes off all the other enemies, you always need to be aware of where every enemy is and if they’re able to hit you within the next second or two. It can take some effort if you’re not used to it but try to focus more on spacial awareness so that you don’t get blindsided by something from across the screen that you weren’t paying attention to.
What weapons you have equipped will also be something you want to pay attention to. One good baseline tip is to have 1 Cloak Weapon and 1 Spell, so that you can always utilize your mana and have a non-mana attack so you don’t run out of mana constantly. You can obviously have 2 Cloak Weapons or 2 Spells if you want but that will be a bit harder to manage since it will either make your extra mana items/curses useless or make it so that you’re more likely to run out of mana all the time. If you want to run 2 Cloak weapons, I would highly recommend having one of them be a fast cooldown weapon that you can use constantly and one of them as a slower weapon that hits way harder so you don’t have to worry about not being able to attack or not dealing enough damage. If you want to run 2 Spells I would recommend getting as many max mana increases as possible through the Vitam-Mana Department and Curses, and I would recommend having one low cost spell and one high cost spell for similar reasons to the cloak weapons: one low cost spell that you can use more often, and one high cost spell so you aren’t lacking on damage.
Along with what types of weapons you have, you also want to look at possible synergies between weapons and curses. Some curses only effect cloak weapons, some only effect spells, and some weapons will deal damage over time where others just deal damage. Try to gear everything you have towards one specific playstyle that you want to have in that run, but don’t be extremely concrete on that as you need to be able to shift what you’re getting slightly depending on what you find via RNG.
As stated before the Sorrows are the bosses of each Department of the game, you’ll need to defeat all 5 to beat the game currently. Each sorrow has a base set of moves that gets more powerful once the boss reaches 1/2 HP remaining.
Brad, who might as well be called Chad, is the first boss of the game and obviously the weakest because of it. He has noticeable windup on most of his attacks and pretty predictable attack patterns. His main attacks are:
- Two swipes in front of him, followed by itself again or a jump followed by a dive-roll attack after the first two swipes.
- A jump into the air, followed by him turning to stone and doing an elbow-drop to the floor.
- A diagonally down dive attack potentially followed up by a horizontal dash attack
- His hardest to dodge attack, which is him going into the air then starting to spin while moving left and right and dropping stones as he flies. Important note is that once he touches one of the edges of the screen he won’t touch that spot again so you can stay there after he’s already attacked there and be safe until he finishes the attack.
Some general tips:
- During his horizontal dash attacks you’re able to hop over it while attacking at the same time if you use a lvl 1 or 2 charge attack before he reaches you.
- So long as you can tell what he’s going to do next you can pretty much just beat him up and dodge his attacks between your own.
- You can use certain Fury Attacks to stun him, giving yourself a solid 3-5 seconds where you can just hit him.
Mr. Gordon Not-Ramsay: The Oil Tyrant is our second Sorrow. He has noticeably more health and damage per attack compared to Brad and has much bigger attacks all around too. His main attacks are:
- A long ranged, low to the ground punch that covers roughly 40% of the screen.
- A punch to the ground, followed by 3 more waves of hands that spawn from the ground below you.
- 2-3 Waves of projectiles that fly in an arc across the screen.
- An attack where he makes it rain oil from the sky that you have to dodge.
- Most of his attacks cover the ground, not the air so much, so staying airborne during his non-projectile attacks will let you dodge most of his damage.
- Don’t stand right on top of him because pretty much every one of his attacks will hit there, and some like the projectile one will actually deal a ton of damage to you if you’re that close when you get hit
- Fury attacks that stun are great here considering he’ll become invincible while teleporting in-between his attacks, and not even just fury attacks even just any attack that deals a lot of Stun Damage.
We Have to Krank it up for this one, because the fast Krab Hector is the third Sorrow. He’s one of the most mobile bosses in the game and the only one that spawns allies so you need to stay on your toes. His main attacks are:
- A short hop forward followed by a thrust of his claw. Covers roughly 1/2 the screen.
- A brief intangible (non-attack) line that is drawn across the screen followed by him dashing in that direction to the opposite edge of the screen.
- An attack that throws out 2-3 small balls that turn into small crab enemies once they touch the floor.
- His attacks are very linear but they cover a very large portion of the screen, you’ll want to wait and dodge or Rush Charge Attack through his dash attacks and big claw thrusts.
- Like all the bosses make sure you’re very careful when close to him since he can hit there and he hits pretty hard.
- When he spawns the small crabs you will either have to kill them quickly or be able to all but completely ignore them depending on what you currently have equipped.
MaXxX_iS_NoT_wEll MAxxX_Is_nOT_SSans. Our resident crazy person Maxxx is our fourth Sorrow. I liken him to Sans from Undertale in his concept as most of the fight is a bullet-hell and very non-standard for this game. He’ll teleport across the screen a few times between attacks, of which they’re usually either potentially homing projectiles or big strings of projectiles moving in waves, walls, or rows. His main attacks are:
- Teleporting to somewhere along the top of the screen followed by firing semi-homing projectiles for about 2 seconds.
- Teleporting to somewhere along the top of the screen followed by firing 1-2 waves of non-homing projectiles.
- Teleporting to somewhere along the top of the screen followed by firing 1-2 waves of semi-homing projectiles.
- Teleporting into turning himself into a giant face followed by hand shaped projectiles moving across the screen in a wave pattern.
- Teleporting into turning himself into a giant face followed by hand shaped projectiles moving across the bottom and top of the screen in opposite directions.
- Teleporting into turning himself into a giant face followed by hand shaped projectiles falling from the sky in rows.
- Teleporting into turning himself into a giant face followed by hand shaped projectiles falling from the sky in a rain pattern.
- Teleporting to the floor followed by morphing his head to attack directly above him.
- His hardest to dodge attack, where he teleports to one edge of the screen followed by turning into a giant face and sucking in the air across most of the screen along the floor, hurting you if you touch him.
- During some of his attacks you may be able to both completely avoid them and attack Maxxx at the same time by going to the top of the screen.
- He’ll have a lot of the time during the fight where he’s teleporting multiple times and not attacking, and some of his attacks have a good amount of windup so these are the times you’ll be hitting him the most.
- As with every boss, attacks with a lot of stun and Fury Attacks are going to be really good here so that you can guarantee damage without him teleporting everywhere.
- For his sucking attack, the main way I’ve found to get around it is to use my jump followed by a rising attack and some dashes away from Maxxx and I just do that over and over until he stops because he actually doesn’t cover the whole screen, just like the bottom 2/3rds or so.
The Sorrows Cont. (The Major)
The short and angry dictator Major Pliskhan is currently the fifth and final boss of the game. His attacks are extremely wacky and will throw you off guard the first few times you fight him and his damage is no joke either. He’s among the hardest bosses in the game, rightly so. His main attacks are:
- Hopping on top of a small nuke and bouncing across the screen a few times while exploding the ground he lands on.
- Jumping into the air and riding a jetpack horizontally while the exhaust flames burn the ground below him for a couple seconds every couple seconds.
- Hopping on top of a rocket with a dragon head, and riding it in an arc that curves straight up before reaching the opposite side from where he started followed by slamming into the floor, with small flames being thrown behind him as he flies.
- Going to the center of the screen and summoning a salvo of missiles to rain down on the screen for a few seconds after a couple seconds.
- Going to the center of the screen and summoning a large destructible missile that will slowly fly up to the top of the screen (supposedly to come back down afterwards with a big explosion though I’ve never let it so I’m not sure).
- Pulling out a rocket launcher and firing 2-4 rockets across the screen.
- During the bouncing attack his angle is very hard to predict, the biggest piece of advice I can give is that he moves in a straight line until reaching the corner then he bounces off of it and turns around so dash past him and wait out the attack.
- The dragon rocket is another difficult to dodge attack, the advice is very similar to the previous attack: dodge through him as he flies towards you and stay on the side of the screen he came from to avoid the attack.
- When he pulls out the rocket launcher he only shoots it horizontally from the ground so jump over it and you should be fine
- I don’t know exactly how bad it is, but I’ll still highly recommend destroying the missile before it reaches the top of the screen as I can imagine it’ll either be difficult to dodge, do a lot of damage, or both.
- The jetpack attack will follow you regardless of where you move, so dodging through him left and right repeatedly is the main way to avoid it.