Hey there! So you got Red Algorithm on Steam, played for a few minutes, and died too early? That's not a problem! This guide is written by the game developer with the goal to help a new player to understand the game and to have even more fun with it.
Rule #1 - Learn About Weapon Penalty Mechanic
When you see a weapon that seems powerful to you (based on its look, description, or stats) in other games, what you do? You usually pick it up, expecting that you now you will be stronger. It's not the case in Red Algorithm! A high-level weapon most certainly will make you weaker, if you are not ready to use it. How to find out if you are ready to use a weapon? It's simple, yet not all new players get it.
Your hero level should be equal or higher than the weapon level, that's it.
If your current hero level is 5, you can't effectively use a 25 level weapon. In many other games, you wouldn't be allowed to use this weapon, but here you can use any weapon at any time, but if it's too early for you, you will be penalized, meaning your damage, accuracy, range, and experience gain speed will be significantly decreased. You will gain new levels much slower and eventually will face monsters being a low level yourself.
Why then it's allowed to pick a weapon that doesn't' suit you? Well, there are cases when you are getting close to a certain level, but not there yet, and you were lucky to get just the right weapon offered for you. In that case, you can freely pick it and live with the penalty for just a few levels. For example, if you are level 7 now and you see a good weapon level 9, it's quite ok to pick it now!
There is a game manual on the official website with the most helpful section on mechanics, where you can read more about the weapon penalty, or anything else.
Rule #2 - Kill Spawners as Soon as Possible
It might seem like an obvious advice, but it should be emphasized because the game has a unique mechanic that is called overwhelming. When there are more than 100 monsters on the map, you will lose your HP every second, and not a fixed number, but a % of the maximum value, so you will die pretty much as soon as you are overwhelmed. To prevent that, as being said, make sure to kill monster spawners as soon as you see them, and prioritize killing monsters that are spawners too (big Gluttons that produce Imps for example)
There is one exception from that rule, it's a very early game stage (first 1-3 minutes). First monsters are relatively weak, so an experienced player can feed from those first spawners and get some additional experience.
Rule #3 - Use Bonuses Wisely
Again, kinda obvious for a person who is familiar with the top-down shooters and shoot 'em up genre games, but still some people can be using bonuses better.
For example, if you are about to change your weapon and you see a new weapon box, and you also see an anvil (weapon upgrade), which one you should pick first? Surely, a new weapon box, and only then an upgrade, as you can just reject all weapons if there are no good ones, but if there is the right one, it's far better to upgrade that rather than your current weapon.
Or, you see a small fire, a damage bonus, the map is empty (you killed everything), and time is like 5:53. You know that at the start of every new minute new spawners will be generated (if you didn't know that, now you know :), so why would you pick the bonus now and waste it, if you can wait a little bit, pick it at 6:01 or something, and immediately go use it to destroy new spawners? Bonuses will lie down on the map for like a minute, so you don't have to pick them up as soon as you see them.
Another simple example of smart use of bonuses is about nuke and a red circle, which do a lot of damage. Of course, you should lure the crowd of monsters as close as possible to that bonus before you take it, rather than just taking it without any consideration of the damage it may do.
Just one right bonus picked at the right time can turn the whole game around. You barely survive at 11 minutes; everything is bad, no heal, not enough damage, your weapon is too low-level and old, many spawners are there, the mob count is about 70, both of your legs are injured, everything is horrible! You will surely die in the next 30 seconds or so. However, you pick a speed bonus, which allows you to run to another corner of the map to pick a damage bonus, and then you kill like 60 monsters, get a new level, and find Doctor, that heals injuries. Then there is a new weapon box with just the right weapon... You know where I am going with this. It actually can and will happen if you play many games.
Rule #4 - Run, Duck, and Aim. Always
It's not hard to learn how to use advanced movement in this game. You hold space to move faster (run), yet you can't shoot while you do so. Then... Then just stop for a second, shoot, and keep running! This is actually the way you meant to move. And, when you stop, why not to utilize duck by holding shift? It increases your range (which actually means more damage too because of the range penalty mechanic) and accuracy, and all it takes is just to press the shift button right before you shoot. Lastly, if you hold the right mouse button you can increase your accuracy, which works just fine together with duck. Sure, you will move slower if you aim (hold the RMB), but who said that you need to aim all the time? Do it only if there is a safe distance between you and the monsters.
You can watch this video to see an example of how to move effectively:
It all might sound complicated, but it's not that hard to learn.
Also, an additional small helpful advice. You can reload your weapon manually by pressing "R", which is 25% faster than the regular auto-reload. If you have like 10 ammo left out of 100, instead of shooting them and auto-reload later, just force the reload yourself and it will happen faster. This trick is very useful with machine guns, but it also good with rifles.
Rule #5 - Pick the Right Perks and Weapons
What should you pick? What are the best perks and weapons? These are hard questions because it all depends on your particular build, game style, previous decisions, current situation (if you are almost dead, you would want very different perks). The goal of the developer here was to balance everything in a way that there are no useless or absolutely must-have perks or weapons in the game (with just a few exceptions like Void perk that is there just for fun).
Regarding weapons, just follow rule #1, don't pick high-level weapons early. Also, try to pick a new weapon from the same class as your current weapon, for example, switch from a weak pistol to another stronger pistol, but not to a stronger rifle. If you switch weapons within the same class you can keep 50% of the habit. Generally speaking, assault rifles are the most versatile class that is best suitable for a new player.
Regarding perks, the basic idea is to build a versatile character at the end.
It means that you going to need:
- More HP (Healthy, Prospective, Privileged, etc.)
- Heal or regeneration source (Paladin, Go Green, Troll, etc.)
- More damage and maybe penetration (Slayer, Reaper, a specific resistance suppression perk, etc.)
- Maybe some additional splash damage (Grenadier, Liquidator, Wicked Reloader, etc.)
- Faster movement or less weapon weight (Runner, Unstoppable, Left Me Up, etc.)
You going to need one or more perks from each category in order to survive longer.
It's fun to try out various unique builds and be creative, like:
- A paper-thin character with an SMG and super high speed, but low HP
- A tank with a lot of HP, armor, and a machine gun, but low speed
- A dodgy melee fighter with Katana and a lot of dodge
However, you need to understand the game pretty well in order to handle such a character. Game monsters are designed specifically to fight such extreme builds, for example, Fuego might be great in the beginning, until you run into Demons that are shooters with very high fire resistance, etc.
That is why it's generally better to build a somewhat versatile character with a little bit of everything.
Rule #6 - Utilize Const-Benefit Analysis
If you are not familiar with the concept of Cost–benefit analysis, it's, simply put, an art of making the right choice. The game is built with this philosophy at its core. You always have to measure alternatives and think ahead, to do so effectively you have to know the game well, all the perks, monsters and weapons, which comes with experience.
Imagine a situation, you know that fast-moving Imps are coming soon, and your move speed is 2 right now, which is kinda not enough to outrun them. You are armed with a light machine gun called Rebel. You get a new level and you see perks Spikes, and Runner, which is better for you?
You know that Spikes will do a lot of damage to each monster that hits you, and it has an additional bonus for all machine guns, Rebel included, so an Imp will die after the first byte. However, they will still bite you at least once, which means you can get injured and you will lose your health, so maybe it's better to just get Runner with a move speed bonus and stay healthy?
Only you can answer a question like that because it also depends on your future plans. What kind of weapon are you planning to get next? Another machine gun? Then Spikes will still have the bonus and you won't lose your habit, which sounds great! Or maybe you are more open-minded and you'd pick a good assault rifle later? Then Runner perk would be more useful.
Many game decisions are like that, but some are more simple with an obvious choice. What I am saying is that after all, the synergy of weapons, monsters, and perks merge all together to create a new path for each new game you play, partially determined by the random factor, but in big part determined by your future plans and previous choices.
Rule #7 - Have fun!
At the end of the day, the goal of a game is to create fun for the player, and hopefully, Red Algorithm can do it for you. Swearing at weapon jam and injuries, but enjoying those moments when you find just the right weapon, the right perk at the right time that all allows you to be like a god on the battlefield.
After a while, try to play Hard Mode, do missions, and get some achievements.
Check out the global Steam leaderboard to see where you at.
And again, have some fun!