Or ‘How to not suck at Nimble Quest’
Nimble Quest (iOS App Store, Free; Mac App Store, Free) is the first freemium game I’ve not deleted the moment I felt the inevitable pinch of its in-app currency model, because it turns out even when you’re grinding for gems it’s still a great game of Snake. You can read my review of Nimble Quest over here (including my thoughts on its not-so-welcome freemium aspects).
Death is not the end!
Well, it is and it isn’t. Nimble Quest is as much a ‘Roguelike’ as it is a ‘Snakelike’ which means you’re expected to die, a lot. Don’t let it get you down – every play earns you Gems, Tokens and EXP so pick a new Leader and head back in.
Pleasingly, there’s some tactical depth you can use to help make your next run that bit longer. Here’s some tips and tricks I’ve picked up that should guide you through your next Nimble Quest, ranging from the best choices for leader to tactical advice on the field.
These are just what works for me, but feel free to contribute your own suggestions in the comments.
- pull a 180 – approach an enemy from the front, or aim to cross it’s path from the side, and quickly turn twice timing it so the U-bend in your chain is in range of them as they pass, walloping them with blows from your heroes. This works to keep your Leader out of trouble and the enemies exposed to the widest range of attacks.
- don’t stretch out too often – once your chain is filled out, moving in a long straight line too often leaves you open to unexpected attacks from the side that you won’t be able to react to quickly enough; ‘slither’ your snake in a loose pattern to keep them closer together and able to defend each other.
- do your best Spidey – crossing the center of the map as enemies are swarming can be fatal. By staying closer to the sides of the maps as you move around your team will be able to focus on fewer enemies at once, taking them out quicker. Just don’t get too close to the walls! zThis also leads nicely onto:
- keep your distance – there’s no need to get too close to enemies once you’ve got a healthy selection of ranged weapons in your lineup – fireballs, arrows, bullets, bombs, magic, and so on. Keep a ‘tank’ like Uther and his long lance in the front in case anyone gets in your face, then let the ranged weapons pick everyone off from a distance in combination with pull a 180 above.
- cut off the head – if you can manoeuvre into position without taking too much heat yourself, vanquishing the leader of an enemy chain will take out the whole chain. Attack from head-on rather than running up alongside an enemy chain because if they turn across your path unexpectedly it’ll be curtains for your team, but when doing so try to give yourself a good run up so you don’t get close enough for an accidental collision.
- "it came from… behind!" – enemies like knights can’t attack behind them, so bring your team in from the rear to pick them off. You’ll not have as good access to the enemy chain leader, but you’ll be in a much stronger defensive position.
- lead with Gizmo or Uther – leading with your bomb expert is risky at the start as he’s a little underpowered to take 100% of the heat, but once you get him levelled up his ranged bomb attacks are very effective at softening up the enemies for the rest of your team to mop up effortlessly; just get used to keeping him away from close combat. Uther makes a great ‘tank’ style Leader with a long lance that’s perfect for leading head-on attacks although bear in mind he’s almost useless attacking anything that’s not in front of him, making him one of the least effective heroes when not in the lead. But just brushing up on your attack and defence manoeuvres can make any hero a fun choice to lead with, really.
- Gems heal – the only way to heal your chained Heroes is by collecting elixirs, but your Leader can also be healed by collecting Gems so when on their last legs divert them away from head-on action and let the rest of the chain take the heat, then swoop back in to hoover up the booty
- save Retries for times of need – when you tragically faceplant off a wall it’s tempting to spend a Token on a retry, especially as you retain all your purchased power-ups, but unless you’re more than a dozen levels in or close to unlocking a new Hero consider just starting another run and spending that Token on the Attack Speed power up instead. Remember each subsequent Retry that run will cost you double the Tokens – 1, 2, 4, 8…
- power up early – at the start of the game and between arenas you can spend Tokens on power-ups. It lasts for the entire run so buy them early to get the most ‘value for money’ from them.
- pick the right power-up for the job – if Tokens are tight I recommend the Attack Speed as the one to go for, particularly if you’re leading with a strong but slow hero. Works particularly well with ranged heroes, especially if it’s stacked with a dropped Attack Speed. Health makes a strong second purchase if you have the Tokens to spare, but it’s not worth getting for the the early levels once you have an experienced team, just in case you lose to a clumsy mis-turn…
- level up early – get all of your team up to One Star as soon as possible. The boost applies even if they’re not the Leader, and a chain of half a dozen One Star heroes is considerably more effective than ten Zero Star heroes. But resist the temptation to buy those One Star levels.
- spend Gems on power-ups first – you can spend Gems to buy Stars for your heroes, or on permanently increasing the effectiveness of power-ups. Spend it on the power-ups first; it’s tempting to spend it on your heroes but you’ll get far more from the improved power-ups in the short and long term.
- “why are you hitting yourself?” – the longer your chain grows, the more likely you are to accidentally double back on yourself when it gets hectic – unlike traditional Snake games, this won’t result in Instadeath, but it will wipe out every hero you bump into in the process, so be careful out there!
- enter the Arena – the online Arena competition costs a Token per game to enter, but once you’ve upgraded your team and picked up some skills it’s a good way to earn a few Tokens every couple of days, awarded for placing inside the top few hundred in your guild if your guild places well themselves. Try #TOUCHARCADE to join players from the popular iOS gaming forum.
- follow the bullets – enemies are often off-screen, but your ranged heroes will fire at them if they come within their range. If you can’t find the next enemy and there’s only a few left (check the bar at the top of the screen which fills as you eliminate enemies), carefully lead your conga-line into the middle of the arena and pay attention to where your team are firing.
Okay, that’s yer lot for now – if you’ve got more tips that deserve to be on the list, drop them in the comments below!