For Time Wasters players, this guide offers some quick tips for players who are struggling to figure out how to assemble good crews and weapon loadouts for long runs into the ENDLESS waves beyond Wave 140 ‘Victory’. The target range is to try and achieve waves 300-400.
Rather than just give you loadouts to copy, this brief guide explains how to choose things for yourself, which means it will be just as useful when more captains are added!
I’ve written this guide to try and help people who have already got very near or just beyond the Victory Wave (140) and now interested in going deep into Endless waves (targeting wave 300-400).
You can reach Victory Waves fairly easily with pretty much any combo of captains and weapons, and it can be really fun to just leave it to chance and take whatever the game offers you first. But for deep runs I’ve found there are certain considerations that need to be met — at least for me.
So hopefully this helps you, or at least gets you thinking about the game meta and figuring out your own road to success! 🙂
Analysing Threats and Counters
The way I figured out assembling complementary crews and weapons (that work for me) was by figuring out which enemy types were causing me grief and then seeing if there were counters in the weapon roster.
The only danger in the game is ships touching/ramming you. The indestructible bullets from the small assault ships and the bosses are trivial to avoid, and also don’t do much damage even if you do get hit (usually just some shield pings). So the 3 things I find I need in any crew/weapon combo are:
- Something to kill the the trash enemies
- Something to kill the mini-elites and planet attackers
- Something to prevent hordes ramming me (knockback / slow / or both)
Sometimes one weapon will solve for more than one of the requirements above. e.g. Boxing Gloves take care of the mini-elites & planet attackers AND provide knockback for the hordes.
You can put together really cool combos by picking captains + weapons that solve for the above 3 things, and then reliably get to waves 300+. It’s not an infinite list but there is far more than ‘just one best way’.
Upgrade Pre-Requisites & Priorities
If you’re struggling, I’d recommend doing the ‘missions’ that unlock more captains and their Super Upgrades, rather than investing all your Space Cubes trying to make a single captain 100% upgraded first. Whichever captains you combo together will need their Super Upgrade variants working in cooperation to get deep into Endless waves.
Check the Unlocks page on the main menu to see what you have to do to unlock a particular upgrade.
Note that you don’t have to buy all the captain upgrades using Space Cubes once they are unlocked. All that does is ‘pre-buy’ the first 3 upgrade levels that you then don’t have to buy in-game when levelling up or at the Time Cube store. So don’t worry about grinding too much if you don’t enjoy that 🙂
When upgrading your weapons in-game, try to pump one weapon and get it to Super Upgrade 3/3 as a priority. Then work on your other two. You can’t necessarily choose which weapon it will be ahead of time, due to the level-up RNG offering you whatever it likes, so it may not be your Primary Captain weapon that gets maxed first.
You’ll start getting a flavour of which weapons you want to pump up first depending on your playstyle and the particular captain and weapon combo you’re trying. For example, in combos where I have Slime available, I like to get that to max as quick as possible because of the Slime Width upgrades being spectacularly awesome.
Just the Tips
Here are the gameplay tips I think are important to remember for long runs, including some tips for recovering from non-fatal mistakes while playing.
- Budget for around 60-90 minutes for a long run, like getting past wave 300. Longer if you use the planet-camping tip below to catch up levels.
- Plan your build ahead. You only get 4 weapon slots and 3 captains in your ship (your main captain + 2 crew). So don’t just take the first weapons and crew that get offered to you in the RNG levelup selection. Be patient, your planned combo will be offered eventually 🙂
- Make sure to only take weapons that belong to one of your planned or onboard crew. For your final weapon, take a utility weapon, whichever you find most complementary to your build.For example, don’t take Rockets if you aren’t bringing Raven onboard etc. This is because you need their ‘Super’ variants to make the weapons really powerful in the endgame mode, and you only get offered those upgrades if you have them in your crew.
- As part of your plan, decide which weapon is going to be your primary DPS weapon. Beyond a certain point it gets reasonably pointless dumping points into the other weapons, because they’ll just be getting damage upgrades, they won’t get more of their ‘other ability’ stats. e.g. Slime will only get damage upgrades after you’ve maxed it out, no more slow or width ones.So choose ahead of time which weapon you’re going to rely on to be your HEAVY HITTER and invest into that at a 3:1 ratio relative to the other weapons.
- Try to avoid investing too much into your fourth weapon (i.e. the non-crew supported one). It will never get super powerful because it can’t unlock all the upgrades. You’re better off putting your resources into your three crew-supported weapons. For example, if you take the electric field as your fourth utility, only put points into it until it’s maxed on its slow effect and radius/size, then forget it.
- Take gold pickup boosts and refinery boosts early while things are still easy, and keep adding to them during the run. This ensures your income will keep pace with the increasing gold cost to level up and thus you’ll keep getting new upgrades very quickly throughout your run, even at wave 300+ to keep pace with the enemy stat multipliers.The game does give you more gold at later levels too, but if you don’t have some gold upgrades you’ll start falling behind on your levels vs waves ratio.
- If you find your level has fallen below the wave level, or you haven’t been collecting Time Cubes for shop upgrades in the early waves, camp yourself over either the Gold Refinery or Time Planet and wait for a boss phase. You don’t have to kill the bosses, you can just fly endlessly within their circle picking up the gold/time cubes until you’re comfortably ahead of the game again ;)This is a great way to ‘catch up’, even though it can get boring waiting for the timers. You can repeat this method as many times as you like, just watch the wave timer counter and position yourself over the planet of your choice when the boss is about to appear, then don’t kill it until you’ve collected as much of the planet’s resources as you want to.
- Bosses become absurd bullet sponges at high waves, but their mechanics don’t change. Just be patient while killing them, don’t get greedy and rush in trying to do risky things to shorten the fight.
- Bosses that go partway or all the way out of their circle when attacking can drag you out there if you aren’t careful. e.g. It’s easy to get trapped behind the Elite Hell Bird wings and dragged out into the black hole border.At early waves <140 this is rarely a problem because you smash the bosses so fast that there aren’t many cycles to make a mistake. But deep into Endless waves, bosses can take a lot of cycles to kill so make sure you have a good reliable safe positioning you can repeat with your brain on autopilot.
- Above wave 300 you’ll eventually run into hordes that you CANNOT escape or push through, even with very high boost bonuses (Kat is the exception with her phase-through). You just have to soak the hits until you can force your way free by killing enough of them in front.So make sure to be regularly upgrading your hull, your Invincible upgrades, and your shield recharger timer + recharge rate. By the time you need these things it’ll be too late to start them if you haven’t planned ahead.
- Above wave 340 I find I’ll get smashed by something or other and get on a weird roll of taking damage. Maybe it’s just fatigue, dunno. But to get further I find having upgraded the “Hull restored per hull repair” several times (especially the big boosts you get offered in the shop) enable me to get back to 100% hull very quickly after such incidents.
- Throwing some points into the Super Plasma Planet can be useful in the very late game. This is because at that stage adding those few points into your primary weapons will do very little to change the game, as the stats are already massively high.But having an entire additional new DPS source on tap can help with clearing the difficult hordes. Don’t pump it too high, just enough to get all the turrets and a couple of the shop upgrades.
- Super Nova Planet can be the same as above, exclusively for clearing the assault ship waves, but the effectiveness drops off pretty quick and it requires many more points and careful timing to be of much use when under pressure. I’m sure somebody out there has found it super useful and worth investment beyond wave 300 but I haven’t.
- Some people argue that all the planets (including the two above) are completely useless and should be ignored, especially ignoring all upgrades. I don’t know if that’s true from an absolute sense, I find them handy myself, especially around the mid-game in Endless (like waves 220-250) where there are some sudden difficulty spikes and I might make a few mistakes before settling down again for the next 80ish waves.Regardless, I find it’s more engaging and less boring to have something to do on the map than just camp in one spot the entire time. Making dumb mistakes from boredom or tuning out has ended a run for me far more times than the game itself. That doesn’t mean turtling for certain waves isn’t a good idea – IT IS – but otherwise I personally like to keep busy and involved.
Your mileage will vary depending on why you personally play the game and what you want to achieve.
Why try for long Endless runs?
Going deep into Endless doesn’t reveal any new mechanics or anything new in the game, beyond everything becoming a bullet sponge and some frantic moments with the hordes. There’s no leaderboard or anything like that, so the only bragging rights you’ll get are in your own head 🙂
The only reason to continue with Endless is Space Cube farming with a fully upgraded ship and non-stop psychedelic eye candy, or because you want to set yourself a challenge and see how far you can go.
The reason I do it is that I find it meditative and great for clearing my mind after a busy day!
Note you can farm Space Cubes much easier/safer/more relaxed on the pre-Victory waves (you don’t get any more cubes per wave in Endless).
My advice if you’re not into ‘never winning’ (you will get defeated eventually), is not to bother with the Endless mode at all. You’re not missing out on anything except the personal challenge.
An alternative is to do short runs up to the Wave 140 Victory, to just have a laugh and know ahead of time your run will only be around 30mins. Take whatever captains and weapons come up in the level-up RNG and enjoy the randomness 🙂
Sometimes you get some really whacky combos and it’s surprising how fun it can be when things are desperate due to suboptimal ship setup and you’re struggling for every pre-140 wave!
Below is a screenshot of one of my runs that ended at Wave 339. I died in the boss fight when it barely had any health left (out of 4.5million+500k shields), easiest boss in the game (the first two bosses don’t count, they are like children and shouldn’t be teased :).
I just tuned out and didn’t pay attention and trapped myself behind its wings when it went into the black hole border. The new update that made Invincible leave health at 1 rather than insta-killing you is why my health in the screenshot is exactly 1 point. Thanks, devs!
I think it’s these types of mistakes on my part that really result in ending all my long runs — they just get so repetitive I make a dumb mistake.
Anyway, you can see the build I used. This is just for an example, I’ve used many other combos to reach similar waves and beyond.
This was the first run I’d done with this combo of captains and I didn’t plan particularly well in terms of dumping stats optimally. It’s already clear I could do things a lot better with a bit more planning, now I know what this combo is like to play.
The point is to get you thinking about how to approach a setup of your own (or improving this one!) using the tips above in the guide, not necessarily every stat allocation I made in this first run.
But even with that, wave 339 isn’t shabby…
Captains: Raven, Rosanova, Ram (the RRR threat)
Weapons: Rockets (72), Nova (92), Boxing Gloves (111), Electric Field (39)
- Hull (74) – mainly Ram’s Hull for invincible and Max Hull boosts (970 hull at the end)
- Shield (56) – mainly recharge delay and recharge rate (about 80 max shield at the end)
- Boosts (48) – max boosts and block damage when boosting
- Gold Pickup (66) – too much in this, didn’t even realise I’d put so much, but it got me to Ship Level 386 when it ended.
- Planets – some levels in Gold Planet, Refinery, and Plasma Planet (as per the guide, mostly for my own amusement)
Use Nova for pushback and Rockets for DPS. Anything that gets close, use Boxing Gloves to push back (mini-elites, planet killers, and insta-hordes). Get the Optional Max Range on Boxing Gloves so they can be used without having to be on top of the enemy.
For the first 75% of the run, the Rockets were my HEAVY HITTERS. But eventually I started dumping into Boxing Gloves since every fight was a close quarters battle doing tight circles to punch hordes and mini-elites away.
In the very late stages use Ram’s Hull and Invincible upgrades, and Raven’s boost pushback, to facetank damage and then make quick repeats of: escape -> turn -> punch horde in the rear/corners.
To repeat – this build was not OPTIMAL in terms of stat dumping, but the captain and weapon choices are fine and satisfy the needs I’ve described in the guide. It got a long way, was very fun, and can be a base for improvement with better stat dumping.