Here's a helpful list of tips and tricks you can do to better your play. Feel free to add anything you've found to be helpful.
Basic Gameplay Tips
Tactical Digging (Dig buffering)
There are a few enemies that move on every beat, and these can be hard to attack if they're one space away. You can counter this by digging up a wall and letting the enemy close the gap until they're next to you. This works best for Aria. (this does NOT work with the Miner's Cap, Shovel of Courage or the Ring of Phasing).
Killing the Shopkeeper
The shopkeeper can be hurt via bombs, Fireball Spells, Red Dragons, Ogres, or a thrown weapon. If attacked by the player, the shopkeeper will relentlessly chase and attack the player. If attacked by a red dragon or ogre, the shopkeeper will flee from the player, not the red dragon.
It is possible to kill him with only a red dragon, but it is hard to get them both lined up a second time.
Killing the shopkeeper can be near impossible without certain items, as he can move diagonally and deals heavy damage. Before you attack the shopkeeper, consider finding these items:
- Ring of War or a weapon with range (Spear, Bow, etc.). The knockback from the Ring of War will stop the shopkeeper from advancing.
- Any Flail. The range combined with the knockback make this strategy seem risky, but it can save time.
- Glass Longsword, Spear, Bow or Crossbow. Even though you can't knock the shopkeeper back, these ranged weapons will kill the shopkeeper after two hits.
- If all else fails, placing two bombs in quick succession will reduce him to one health if both hit, making it easy to finish him off even with nothing but a dagger. Note, this will not yield a Crown of Greed if you do 5 or more damage, as the order will put the bomb last, blowing the Crown of Greed up as the Shopkeeper dies.
Once you place a bomb or use a fireball, get the shopkeeper parallel to you. Using the items above, it should then be easy to kill him for the Crown of Greed.
An alternate strategy is to aggravate the shopkeeper with a bomb or fireball, and then use an Ice Spell to freeze him or Shield spell to protect yourself, either of which will give you enough beats of safety from his attacks to kill him.
Several of these tactics can be practiced in the Codex room of the Lobby, in the subsection titled "How to Get Away With Murder".
Spotting a Red Eyed Shopkeeper
If the shopkeeper is going to turn on you unprovoked you can get an early heads up by noting the bricks surrounding the shop, as they are usually gray instead of gold in these cases.
Manipulating the Shopkeeper
If a shopkeeper is lured onto a trapdoor, the shopkeeper will fall through and the shop items will become free on the current level, but shops on the following levels will remain normal. If the shopkeeper is scared outside of the shop, the items will be free. You can also use Earth spell or Boots of Lunging for this purpose.
If you come across a shrine that will overwrite your items (e.g. Shrine of Peace), try to find a replacement item to be overwritten.
If you picked up a nice weapon to replace your dagger and found a Shrine of Peace you want to use, go pick up your dagger and use the Shrine of Peace. Your weapon will still be waiting for you where you left it to be picked up. Same goes with the Shrine of Darkness, except a few torches can't be dropped and wall torches will still be out.
If you come across a Shrine of No Return and happen to have a dagger or spear, throw it nearby first before using the shrine. Picking it back up again before purposefully stepping into the No Return damage area will allow you to acquire a glass rapier for half a heart if you don't have access to a Shield spell.
Fighting from a Distance
Weapons such as Rapiers, Spears, Longswords, and Bows may be useful for surviving, as they allow you to attack from a distance and gives you some room to breathe between enemies.
Hidden rooms are always within the level border - never on the outskirts of the level - and are usually found in the larger chunks of walls.
If you see a complete square of stone or catacomb wall, there will typically be a potion in there. Rarely, catacomb walls will be filled with tough enemies surrounding a high-ranked item.
Some rooms have a hidden chest which is revealed when being adjacent to it. Hidden chests can appear in rooms that are seemingly empty or are filled with enemies with the number one less than the size of the hidden room. Hidden chests appear orange (like any other chest) on the mini map, even if they are invisible. If you find an empty hidden room, check your map before moving on.
The top of a hidden room should appear as full wall tiles if next to an open area. It should look like this:
- See: Sub-beat Mechanics
Character Specific Tips
Because Cadence is the default character, most of the tips have been discussed above.
Aria is arguably the most difficult character (other than Coda), since missing a beat or getting hit by anything will kill you.
Playing as Aria will remove all weapons from the item pool, and attempting to use the Shrine of Blood to gain an alternate weapon will kill her for "cowardice". The Shrine of Glass will affect Aria's armor, shovel, headwear, and torch, but not her dagger; the Shrine of Peace gives Aria a Potion if she doesn't have one, however, it doesn't appear in Aria runs.
Any tempo-down traps can be bombed to provide a slower, easier to follow beat for the rest of the level.
Playing Co-op with Aria and Bard makes it a lot easier to play, as Bard doesn't have any beats for Aria to die from.
These items can help make runs as Aria easier:
- Glass armor is one of the few means of protection that Aria has, as this will absorb all damage. Any other armor types are effectively useless. Any effects that trigger instead of taking damage when hit (the Crown of Teleportation, Charm of Frost, and the Ring of Shielding) are extremely valuable.
- Effects that normally make the player more fragile are also valuable, because Aria is already fragile to begin with. These include the Karate Gi and Glass Jaw, which are two of the few ways for her to increase her damage, and the Ring of Becoming, which can be turned into the powerful Ring of Wonder.
- Many rings are strong for Aria.
- The Ring of War will knock enemies back and provide more attack power.
- Since the Ring of Courage protects from attacks when an enemy is killed, it can be very useful for crowd control.
- For a simple damage boost, the Ring of Might is also a good choice.
- Ring of Peace doesn't give extra health, but the reduced number of enemies and easier minibosses can be a big help.
- Ring of Mana allows very frequent use of Fireball, Freeze, and Shield, which can make fights much easier.
- Boots of Strength can be used for a damage boost, while Lead Boots, Explorer's Boots, and Winged Boots can give various forms of defense.
- Any kind of food or Holy Water will give Aria invincibility for one beat, making these somewhat useful around enemies. Using a bomb while wearing Blast Helm will also give invincibility for one beat, along with the added bonus of doing four damage to surrounding tiles.
- The single most valuable item is the Potion because it will revive you even if you miss a beat. However, if it revives you after you take damage from a monster, then any glass items you had will still break from the hit. The Scroll of Need will always give a second potion, as long as you have any shovel equipped and don't use it while adjacent to multiple enemies (remember you can only carry one potion at a time, so save the scroll if you have one already).
When playing as Bolt, the beat moves twice as quickly, making everything in the game move twice as fast. This makes movement much more difficult because it becomes much harder to successfully hit every beat in time, while also severely decreasing the amount of time you have to react to enemies and other hazards.
If you are used to dropping every eighth beat from the Shrine of Rhythm, the extra beat will effectively slow down the action and give you a little more time to react.
One way to make the beats less frequent and more manageable is to set the songs of each stage to custom music that plays at a slower tempo, or by using custom music with the "1/2 Speed" option selected. This changes the beat to the same slow speed used by the other characters, rather than simply cancelling out Bolt's trait, making it play at normal speed. Play around with music to find songs that gives a reasonable beat with "1/2 Speed" on, without being too slow.
However, not checking "1/2 Speed" or checking "2x Speed" causes the beat to play at Bolt's normal 2x speed. This strategy also does not work with the game's default soundtrack.
Dove's pacifism may prove to be a problem as she can be surrounded by enemies with no escape. Also, Dove will die when the song ends, so the player cannot wait the song out. Fortunately, Dove has the best shovel in the game. Use this to your advantage by digging around walls. Everything is a threat, so it is highly recommended to get:
- The War Drum to lure Wraiths, Ghouls, and so on.
- The Blast Helmet, which makes bombs go off instantaneously and therefore makes it easier to get out of a tight spot. Alternatively, the Miner's Cap, so the player can automatically dig while fleeing.
- Circlet of Telepathy you can see enemies in advance without them seeing you. If the player cannot find this item, then the Monocle will also work, as it allows you to see the "ghost" enemies.
The player should take a cautionary note about bombs:
Friendly bombs will only teleport enemies away but being in contact of an explosion will still harm Dove (without the Blast Helm). Bombs from Goblin Bombers and Bomb Traps will still kill enemies, though. Also take note that worshiping at a Shrine of Blood will kill her for Cowardice.
Bard can move at any point in time. Use this to plan moves ahead or pause for a moment to analyze your surroundings. You are also not forced to finish a level by the end of the song. The track will keep repeating, so take all the time you need. This may be a problem, however. If the player is cornered by enemies they cannot defeat with their weapon, or boxed in by walls or traps, then they are essentially trapped forever.
- Monk's starting Blood Shovel can dig out any wall, which may be necessary to get around gold blocking your path. Finding another shovel early on will be helpful to avoid the Blood Shovel's health cost.
- Mushrooms and cauldrons drop some coins when playing as Monk.
- Bombs can be used to destroy coins and clear a path in case you trap yourself. Similarly, you can use two bombs to enter sealed shops; one to destroy the gold wall and one to destroy the money that the walls drop.
- Monsters killed by Traps or other Monsters will not drop coins. This makes Roofpigs especially useful since it can clear a line of enemies without making the path unusable.
- Sealed shops can also be opened with the use of the Blood Shovel to destroy the gold wall and one bomb to destroy the money the walls drop. Useful for conserving bombs at the cost of some health.
- Secret shops can be very beneficial to the Monk. While you'll still pay health at the Blood Shop, other hidden shops will give you an item for free just like the standard shopkeeper will.
- Be careful around enemies that can move you around, especially the Skeleton Mages in Zone 2.
- If you are unable to progress (such as if gold drops on the stairs, or you simply become trapped), just wait the rest of the song out and you'll be dropped down to the next level. It may force you into an arena, but it's better than dying instantly.
- Despite the damage bonus of gold weapons being inaccessible to Monk, they are still valuable for score runs.
- When doing a score run, care must be taken to not destroy the gold with bombs.
- Shop Walls won't yield coins when destroyed.
- Bat Caves are hard to deal with. To easily kill them, place one bomb in front of the cave, step away, place a second bomb, step away again, and then kick the bomb into the Bat Cave.
- Nocturna's transform spell can be really handy if you happen to be low on health, and are good at using a dagger. Nocturna's fangs in bat form have the range of a basic dagger, heal you for 0.5 hearts every 5 kills and do 4 damage. Simply transform, kill enemies until you have full health again, and then transform back.
Upon entering the chessboard, proceed to kill the closest pieces, usually being a few Pawns followed by Knights, Rooks, and Bishops, all the while keeping an eye on the Queen and the Knights to avoid damage. Generally, proceeding from the left will get rid of most of the high-tier pieces very quickly while minimizing damage taken. Note that each unit will tilt itself on the beat before it is going to move. When fighting the King, as he approaches you, side step to draw him closer, as he can move diagonally. You can, however, still kill the King without advancing on the other pieces first, as when the King still has company, he'll only move once every other beat. Keep in mind though: hitting the King without killing him when there are still other pieces on the board will teleport him away from you.
Pawns that reach the bottom of the room will become Queens. It's a good idea to quickly get rid of the Pawns closest to you, especially on Zones 3 and 4, where red Pawns promote to red Queens. Using a Scroll of Fear with Pawns behind you will cause them to move every beat, making them all turn into Queens very quickly.
With a high enough damage spear or dagger, you can throw it right at the start of the fight and instantly kill the King, allowing for a much faster boss clear. The same goes for piercing weapons (i.e. Rifle).
View the full Deep Blues page to see how each piece moves.
Go to the middle of the arena, between the zombies and kill them one by one, alternating left and right. Keep an eye out for the missing 8th beat so you don't miss it. Alternately, King Conga can be taken on immediately if you destroy his throne with a bomb or tier 3 shovel.
If you previously worshiped at a Shrine of War, bats will spawn as their red variety, all armadillos will be yellow and all mages and Liches will be black.
With a high enough damage and Dagger of Phasing, you can throw it right at the start of the fight and instantly kill the Boss.
This boss can be considered training for the Shrine of Rhythm.
If you have a blood weapon equipped, you can continuously hit Death Metal's shield to spawn more enemies and regenerate your health. You can also do this in his second and third phase (when he spawns skeletons), but it can get out of control quickly. The player should take caution though; dealing with bats at such a high tempo can prove to be difficult.
If you are being overwhelmed by yellow or black skeletons in the later phases, consider hitting them down to 1 heart and letting them flee. Since there is a cap on the number of skeletons in the arena at once, Death Metal will eventually become harmless. When enough are running into the walls, you can engage Death Metal relatively safely.
Phasing and piercing weapons (e.g. Dagger of Phasing, Crossbow) can hit Death Metal through his shield.
At first, the tentacles will come after you two or four at a time depending on their health in later Zones. Each will either die or teleport away upon being hit, so they can all be taken out will relative ease, even if equipped with a dagger. If you happen to miss any of them, you will get a second chance before the second phase automatically starts.
At the second phase, any undefeated tentacles along with the boss's body will now come slowly towards you. The most important thing to realize (mostly if equipped with a dagger, broadsword or flail) is that whenever the torso moves forward, it will attack all squares around it on the tile it moves to. Stay off to the side, then move in and attack it once both of you are in the same row. Make sure that if you are two spaces away from the Octoboss that it is not shaking, as this signals that it will move and attack on the next beat. For the tentacles, they can only attack the squares adjacent to them and cannot move while attacking. It's best to take care of them first, so they won't be a distraction.
Without the Explorer's Boots, Boots of Leaping, or the Winged Boots, the pools of water left by tentacles can be a serious hindrance, especially in phase 1 since there are 4 beats in-between the tentacles' appearances. It may be useful to deliberately enter and exit one puddle to make more room, there should be just enough time left over after attacking both enemies if they spawn within reach in order to do this. The same thing applies after attacking one if they spawn diagonally and you're equipped with only a dagger.
With a high enough damage and Dagger of Phasing, you can throw it right at the start of the fight and instantly kill the Boss. Also, with earth spell or tome of earth and weapons other than Warhammer, Crossbow or Blunderbuss, it is also possible to walk directly to it and crush it with the spell.
High score tips
The following section will assume the player has the Crown of Greed, which doubles gold from all sources. All numbers referring to gold drops are doubled. To find the base value of the gold drop, divide the number by 2.
Crown of Greed
This item is essential for gold-score runs, due to the fact it doubles gold from all sources and removes the possibility of spending gold at the Shopkeeper. Even though the player loses 1 gold per beat, the doubled gold from all drops will outweigh this.
- To maximize the benefits of the crown, optimizing routes and combats is essential. The Crown of Greed drains 1 gold per beat. As a result, the player should find the quickest methods of killing enemies and completing the level.
- When wearing Crown of Greed and entering another level where another headgear is available from the start, it may be recommended to switch headgear, slay enemies, pick up the Crown of Greed, then pick up gold in order to maximize the score. However, this requires substantially more beats to execute, and the player can easily leave large sums of gold when the level's song ends.
- Boots of Leaping and Boots of Lunging can save you a lot of gold while crossing long distances.
- Consider how much gold it will take you to go collect another pile of gold. If a pile of 6 gold is 8 tiles away, it will take 16 beats to collect it and go back to where you were. This means the player spends 16 gold to pick up 6 gold, which is a net loss of 10 gold.
- Only start collecting gold if you can keep your count above 0, any gold collected when your gold reaches 0 is wasted time and money.
- Do not pick up this item on Coda and Monk, as it will provide no benefits while still draining your gold on every beat.
Ring of Gold
- The Ring of Gold, especially when paired with a Golden weapon, will provide the most gold and significantly reduce the number of beats the player spends picking up gold, resulting in less gold lost from the gold-draining property from the Crown of Greed.
- Picking up gold will be much safer, especially with Bomber Goblins in Zone 4.
- The only disadvantage to having this ring is that healing with the Shopkeeper Familiar becomes much harder.
Ring of Wonder
- This ring is arguably the 2nd best ring for a score run due to the wide variety of benefits it grants the player.
- The regeneration from the Ring of Wonder means the player can dig more walls with a Blood Shovel or with the Blood Drum and Shovel of Strength
- When paired with the Heal spell, the player can cast Heal every 4 kills, resulting in drastically more health to spend on digging Shop Walls.
- This ring does exceptionally well paired with the Bomb Spell on Dove, Aria and Coda, as those characters are not able to dig Shop Walls with a Blood Shovel.
- It also pairs well with the Fireball Spell on Eli, speeding up the process of killing multiple enemies and thus reducing the gold loss through Crown of Greed.
Ring of War, Ring of Might
- Having increased damage will reduce the number of beats needed to defeat enemies and reduce the amount of gold lost from the Crown of Greed.
- The Ring of War does not spawn more enemies due to a bug.
Ring of Regeneration
- Regaining 1 heart each level means more health to dig Shop Walls. This translates to 120 to 160 gold each level when digging Shop Walls with the Blood Shovel or Blood Drum and Shovel of Strength.
- When equipped before a boss level, have at least 2 empty heart containers to account for extra healing for entering the Boss Room.
Ring of Mana
- When paired with the Heal Spell, the player will have drastically more health to spend from frequent and improved healing.
- When paired with the Pulse Spell or the Bomb Spell, the player is able to kill the Super Secret Shopkeeper, providing 600 gold with Crown of Greed and maximum Groove Chain.
Ring of Courage
- Having this ring allows the player to pick up gold by killing enemies.
- When combined with Golden Weapons, especially the Golden Rapier, the player can chain multiple infinite-damage attacks as they will land on the gold pile dropped by the enemy.
Ring of Peace
- AVOID this ring.
- Fewer enemies and weaker enemies means much less gold than normal.
- Each Shop Wall, when broken, will drop 20 gold. Each level has a shop with 27 Shop Walls (28 for a the ones with a cracked wall, and 25 in Zone 5). Players can earn up to about 540 gold per level if they can break down all of a level's Shop Walls.
- Shop Walls from Shops and Travel Rune Shops can only be dug by a Blood Shovel, a Glass Shovel (although the shovel will also break), or by using a Blood Drum and digging on the next beat with any other shovel except the Pickaxe. Ideally, the player should use a Blood Shovel or a Blood Drum + Shovel of Strength to dig down multiple walls at once at the cost of 0.5 hearts. Each dig with these two shovels will grant the player 60 or 80 gold with the Crown of Greed, assuming the player digs 3 or 4 walls per dig.
- The Blood Shovel along with the Blood Drum + Shovel of Strength are the two most common and lucrative methods for digging Shop Walls. Each method, at the cost of 0.5 hearts per dig, can dig 3 to 4 Shop Walls, earning 60 to 80 gold per dig. The Blood Shovel has the advantage of digging faster, independence from the Blood Drum, and synergy with the Gigantism Scroll while the Blood Drum + Shovel of Strength can dig Level 2 walls without penalty and grants a +1 Damage bonus.
- The Gigantism Scroll will allow the player to use a Blood Shovel, an Obsidian Shovel, a Crystal Shovel, or a Glass Shovel to dig down multiple walls at once with no cost to health.
- Bombs or the Bomb Spell can be used to break down Gold Walls. Prioritize the Bomb Spell as the player can regenerate the spell. Plant bombs in the corners to maximize efficiency with the bombs. If the player has the Bomb Charm, then plant one tile diagonally away from the corner of the Shop to maximize the efficiency of the expanded explosion.
- If the player chooses to dig Shop Walls, then healing will be very important as doing so will cost health. Blood Weapons, the Ring of Regeneration, the Ring of Wonder, food, Heal spell, and the Shopkeeper familiar are common examples of healing. The more health the player has, the more they can use the Blood Shovel to dig Shop Walls and the more gold they can earn.
- In Zone 2, there are mushrooms at the corners of shops. There is a chance that mushrooms are explosive and can blow up the walls for you, earning you 100 gold with the Crown of Greed.
- Some bosses, specifically Dragons and Nightmares, can break down Shop Walls if the wall is directly between the player and the boss.
- Some monsters, like Bomber Goblins and Skulls, can be used to break Shop Walls. To use a Skull to break down a Shop Wall, kill the Skull while it is next to a Shop Wall, and it will spawn a Skeleton on top of the wall and break it.
- Golden Weapons are the best options for gold as they greatly increase the amount of gold received. With a 3x Groove Chain, each slain enemy will drop an additional 6 gold compared to when they are killed with other weapons. With the number of enemies on each level, the bonus gold received from Golden Weapons adds up to over 100 more gold per level.
- Blood Weapons are another good, viable option for weapons. They provide essential healing when using a Blood Shovel or Shovel of Strength to dig Shop Walls. Considering there are about 25 to 30 enemies per level, killing all of them with a Blood weapon means 1 to 1.5 more health, which translates to an extra 60 to 120 gold when digging Shop Walls.
- Avoid weapons that use ammunition, like Crossbows, the Rifle, and Blunderbuss. The extra beats used for reloading means more gold drained from the Crown of Greed.
- On Dorian it is recommended to use a weapon as Longsword, Spear or Cutlass, so you can kill enemies two tiles away and collect the gold on the next beat.
Shrine of War
- Upgrading all enemies drastically increases the amount of gold dropped. For example, killing a White Skeleton with a 3x Groove Chain will yield 6 gold while killing a Black Skeleton will yield 12 gold.
- Pick up damage-boosting items, such as the Strength Charm, the Torch of Strength, or Boots of Strength if you are using Blood or Gold Weapons.
- Bomb the Shrine of War after activating it to receive a Protection Charm.
- Golden weapons with the Shrine of War ensure a very high score if you are careful and skilled.
- Activating this will also grant the player a Scroll of Gigantism that can be used to dig Shop Walls with a fully powered Obsidian Shovel, Glass Shovel, Crystal Shovel or Blood Shovel.
- Having an extra boss spawn means the player can earn 60 to 120 more gold per level.
- After activating the Shrine, the player should bomb the shrine for a Strength Charm.
- After activating the Shrine, the player is offered 1 of 3 items.
- Activating this will grant the player a Blood weapon and a Blood Shovel. Having the Blood Shovel will allow the player to spend health to dig multiple Shop Walls at once.
- Alternatively, the player can bomb the shrine for a Ring of Regeneration if they already have a Blood Shovel or a Blood Drum and Shovel of Strength.
- The Crown of Thorns should only be taken if the player has regenerated health and does not plan on killing the Shopkeeper for a level or two.
Shrine of Thorns
- After activation, the player can bomb the shrine for a Scroll of Need. When used while having 0.5 health remaining, the player will receive a Potion if they do not have one already. This is an extremely valuable item that alone outweighs the Thorn damage from each level.
Shrine of Darkness
- The player may want to activate this for the Ring of Shadows in hopes of finding the Conjurer or the Transmogrifier.
- Using this while possessing the Ring of Gold or the Ring of Wonder is ill-advised.
Shrine of Peace
- Having all your health restored and gaining an extra Heart Container means the player has much more health to spend on digging Shop Walls.
- It is recommended that the player finds a second weapon from a Black Chest to sacrifice to the Shrine of Peace instead of losing a Golden or Blood weapon.
- If the player has a throwable Golden or Blood weapon, they can throw the weapon near the Shrine of Peace before activating it in order to keep the weapon.
- If the player has a second weapon in a Holster, they may sacrifice the weapon in the Holster while keeping their more valuable Golden or Blood weapon.
Shrine of Uncertainty
- Always bomb this shrine for a chance at the Ring of Gold. However, the player may get the Ring of Peace, which is a terrible ring for a score run.
Shrine of Space
- If the player has not obtained any shovel upgrade and they have no other way of accessing the Blood Shop in 1-1 or 1-2, they may activate this shrine for a better shovel.
- Activating this will also create an extra room with more enemies to kill for gold in future levels. It is better to activate the shrine instead of bombing it for this reason.
- If this shrine appears at the Shriner with better options, like the Shrine of War, then bomb this Shrine for a Map.
- This shrine's effect only changes levels until 3-3.
Shrine of Glass
- Avoid or bomb this shrine. It will transform the Crown of Greed into a Glass Jaw and ruin a score run.
- If the player has not obtained the Crown of Greed and requires a shovel to access the Blood Shop, the player may activate this shrine for a Glass Shovel and Glass weapon.
Higher Groove Chain
Maintaining a 3x Groove Chain will maximize the amount of gold that enemies drop. For some enemies, such as Dragons, Sarcophaguses, and bosses, the difference between a 2x multiplier and a 3x multiplier is massive. This page will help you with getting a bigger Groove Chain
Travel Rune Shops
The player should always go to Travel Rune Shops found after digging a cracked wall. They always offer items that may be worth picking up, and there are more Shop Walls for the player to dig through.
Hitting and running away from the Leprechaun can yield several hundred gold on its own, but be extra careful that it doesn't hit you back, as it will disappear and take all of your current gold. An easy way to get one to spawn is to kill a Red or Blue Dragon at max multiplier. After hitting it, the Leprechaun will follow the player for 16 beats and then disappear, dropping gold on each step. Remember to kill on the 15th beat to also gain the Lucky Charm as well as 100 additional gold as the kill reward.
Other useful items
- The Blood Drum allows the player to dig a single Shop Wall with any shovel, but it is even more useful with the Shovel of Strength as it can dig 3-4 Shop Walls at once when combined with the Blood Drum. Also, when used with a dagger or spear, the player can get ready to throw their dagger/spear, use the Blood Drum, and throw the dagger/spear to instantly kill the Shopkeeper for the Crown of Greed, further increasing the value of a Blood Drum.
- Potions are extremely valuable as the player gains more health to spend on digging Shop Walls. Ideally, have as many Heart Containers as possible in order to maximize the benefits of the Potion.
- Ballet Shoes can prevent the player from losing their Groove Chain from a missed beat. If the player loses the Groove Chain from taking damage or from not completing the level, the Ballet Shoes will restore the Groove Chain to 3x after killing a single enemy.
- The Scroll of Need can grant a Potion if the player reduces their health to 0.5 hearts.
Speed Run Tips
Weapons that Move You
- The key to getting a good time is to keep moving. By using the Cat o' Nine Tails, the Rapier or the Axe, you are able to move as you attack.
- The Ring of Courage will also move you as you kill enemies.
- Weapons such as the Crossbow and Blunderbuss aren't ideal as they require constant reloading, which impedes your progress, but they can kill armored enemies much faster, which is particularly useful in later zones.
- If you're trying for a very fast speed run, trapdoors are the way to go. As long as you can defeat or escape the miniboss penalty box, this should cut minutes off your time.
- Look for hidden trap rooms within the walls, as this is usually the easiest way to find trapdoors early on.
- The Torch of Foresight is the best torch for speed runs for this reason, although any torch will be valuable.
Optimize your Movement
Try and get the most out of each move: each move counts.
- Use bounce pads to streamline your movement.
- Using tempo up traps allow you to clear more distance in less time.
- The Boots of Leaping and Boots of Lunging can help you clear levels faster.
- The Heart Transplant temporarily makes movement like the Bard's. You can move incredibly fast as long as it's in effect.
- Sometimes it may be better to let the enemies follow you instead of going after them right away. Recommended for places where you have to make a return trip such as shops.
- A map or compass allow you to always go directly to the exit, without wasting time searching for it.
- Consider how many moves it will take to walk around an area, or dig through it.
Speed, not Score
In a speed run, you're ranked on how fast you complete the game, not your end score.
- Don't bother picking up gold that isn't where you're going.
- Avoid as many enemies as you can, unless they're in the way.
- Your target priority should be the miniboss. Kill them then get to the exit.
- Rings are huge for speed. The top rings are courage and peace. Courage lets you move through enemies, ignoring most of them, and peace gives you less enemies, so you spend less time killing them. Other strong rings are might, war, pain, mana, and regen
- Tempo traps will not change the timer on the bottom left, so use this to your advantage
- You can also destroy tempo traps with a bomb after activation to make the tempo change last for the entire level.
- Avoid the Shine of Rhythm, it will slow you down immensely due to having to wait every 8th beat.
- The speedrun timer is paused while the boss image is displayed. This only works if "Show Boss Intros" is checked in Gameplay Options; without the image, the monsters won't move until you do, but the speedrun timer won't pause.