From Before I Play
- Gold is everything, if you're not making any money you're not progressing through the game. For this reason, locking the castle with the achitect is pointless except for specific reasons I'll get to later. Your basic progression will be getting as far as you can in a new area, collect as much gold as possible, eventually die, spend all that gold on upgrades, get a little further next time. You will get a little further each time, trust me.
- The biggest thing to understand about the game is that the rooms aren't randomized, only their placement. Eventually you'll memorize each room and know from the start whether there are spikes at the bottom or it's a dead end, etc.
- Try to plan your upgrades to minimize your loss to Charon. Sometimes you won't make enough money to upgrade anything but that's the game.
- The knight is the best early class, upgrade him to paladin ASAP. The block ability nullifies all damage, works on EVERYTHING, costs a measly 25mp, and your facing doesn't matter.
- The barbarian is the best class for early progression. He's slightly weaker than the knight for some reason but has tons of health. Dragon shout pushes back enemies but also destroys most projectiles which is absolutely essential for some rooms.
- Magic is super useful for all characters and mp items seem to replenish more often than health items. If you're dying a lot you're probably not using your magic. Time stop is cheese mode. Fireball, scythe, and axe go through walls. Once you get some vampire/mp siphon abilities the lich, archmage, and spellthief will steamroll through late game and never want for MP.
- The knave is the best late game character once you get your crit percentage up. Fully upgraded you'll crit half the time at double damage, it's sick.
- The shinobi is a helpful crutch early on but the lack of crit hurts late game. When I need to grind I'll slap a bunch of curse runes on the shinobi.
- The miner is a fucking trap. +30% base gold adds up early game but this class is shit. But you want to unlock it ASAP for access to the item and gold upgrades.
- Now for upgrades, the game tells you buying items is more useful than buying upgrades and this is somewhat true. The most important early game upgrades are crit chance (base percentage is 0% unless you're a knave) and armor which actually surpass item progression. Reducing Charon's cost is a trap, upgrade it once to extend the tree but don't put any money in that shit. The upgrade that may resurrect you is also a trap. Upgrade class abilities ASAP because they're all useful (except the miner). The gold upgrade ability is super useful and will pay for itself. While the health/mp item upgrade seems pathetic (only +1% each upgrade) that too will noticeably stack up when every hp and mp count.
- As far as runes go, the dash and double jump are practically essential and should be equipped always. From there you can equip whatever appeals to you but vampiric/siphon abilities are always helpful once you reach the point where you can farm weaker enemies for health and mana. The curse runes make enemies harder but they'll drop more gold. When I thought I wasn't making any headway into the forest and was getting super frustrated because I died at the boss about 12 times, I slapped a shinobi with a bunch of curse runes and easily ran through the castle getting 5,000+ gold before dying.
- The only time you want to use the architect is when there's a fairy chest you can get with an ability you have (remember time stop for no damage rooms). Even then I wouldn't use him because fairy chests aren't exactly rare and the drop in gold is really painful. You can also lock if you're ready to face a boss but my rule of thumb is that if I can't reach the boss room in a fresh run, I'm not ready to face the boss with my next character.
- Finally, practice the down thrust. The timing is stupidly precise and the hit box janky but it's a helpful ability that lets you dance right past bullshit rooms with a ton of enemies standing on spikes.