by Matthew Thompson
(Author’s Note: This article was written around the launch of Resogun Survival Mode. That means it is rather outdated if you are running into it now. So keep in mind that these tips may only be useful to beginners at the mode.)
Since it came out about a month ago I have been addicted to Resogun’s new Survival Mode. I reviewed it back around its release, but after really sinking some time into it and finding myself regularly in the top 100 on the leaderboards, I thought I’d share a little about how I approach the mode and some little strategies I have developed to help up my score.
The first thing you want to do is figure out your ideal ship build. The best thing about the new editor Housemarque added isn’t making your own X-wing, but being able to choose whichever combination of stats and weapons you prefer. Figuring out what is best for you will probably take some experimentation. I have settled on a ship that uses Nemesis weapons with Agility set to 7, Boost set to 8 and Overdrive at 0. It is very similar to the standard Nemesis ship but with one point added to Boost and Overdrive dropped to zero. I love the Nemesis weapon and I think it is definitely a good call for beginners. After a few upgrades, it homes in on enemies and will eventually basically surround your ship with attack capabilities enabling you to take out enemies above, below and in the opposite direction you are shooting. This really helps when you eventually get swarmed with enemies from every which way. My stats are partly because I had become accustomed to Nemesis’ abilities, but I ended dropping Overdrive because I didn’t find myself using it all that much. And even set to 0 it delivers what I need it to, which I will get into in a moment. While this is the build I have been using, a quick look at the top of the leaderboards shows plenty of different setups and ones featuring all the weapons. So I think you need to find what works for you.
One large part of my strategy for Survival involves making sure I can take down Sentinels, the boss-like enemy that appears at the end of each wave. Killing these will clear the screen of enemies and open the next wave with a ship (or two) that skirts across the top of the screen and will drop humans when attacked. If you have played some Resogun Survival you know how helpful both of those things can be. The first tip for taking out Sentinels is to keep an eye out for them. The game’s cylindrical playfield means you can see what is going on in other parts of the level in the background. This makes it possible to spot the big baddies easier. Later on you likely won’t miss them, but in the first day or so they can sneak in and out if you aren’t careful.
But knowing they are there doesn’t necessarily mean they are easy to take down. The first bunch can be easily beaten with your standard guns or a well-timed Boost explosion. But soon they get a little trickier especially with a bunch of enemies around. Bombs and power-ups are certainly an option and a good way to survive to later days when you are coming to grips with the mode. I eventually settled on using my Overdrive against them. Even at 0, my Overdrive can take out a Sentinel up until about Day 7 or 8 with a caveat: I need a Power Shield. I will talk more about managing power-ups at the end of this post, but Power Shield should be a priority and using it with Overdrive on Sentinels allows me to save power-ups and bombs for more important things. Overdrive also makes you invincible while you use it which means no need to dodge the boss’ waves of bullets. And finally when the screen clears it will leave plenty of green dots behind which will put you well on your way to powering up Overdrive by the end of the next wave. But use whatever you have to while you become accustomed to the game. Taking out these large enemies will help you get further in the mode and surviving longer is the most important part of upping your score.
My next tip is kind of simple, but still important: save humans. Saving humans is what gets you power-ups which are obviously a big deal. Each wave the amount of humans it takes to get a power-up goes up by one. So if you are close and can grab another human before killing the Sentinel that is a good idea because it will give you more power-ups faster. But you should realize that not every human is worth saving. It shouldn’t come at the cost of losing your Power Shield for instance. And say you kill a Sentinel and you will lose a human because of a collapsing bridge. You shouldn’t go for that one if it means not getting the human transport which will net you three or more. I have sometimes instinctively tried to save one lone human and lost out on the deal. You have to be smart about what is worth trying to save and what is not.
The final thing I want to talk about is how to manage your power-ups. Learning when and how to use these is very important and can really improve your chances of survival. Weapon Upgrades you should always pick up as soon as you can for obvious reasons. Bombs can be grabbed immediately too since they aren’t instant use. And if you don’t have a Power Shield, pick up Shields as well. But other things might be worth leaving on the screen until either a desperate situation arises or possibly to use against a boss. This includes a Shield pickup when you already have a Power Shield as it will act as a Bomb.
There is a more advanced tip I have that is a great way to boost your score which I will outline next. It means you will have to be less reliant on power-ups, but will be worth the trade-off if you can manage it. You will notice that the longer you last the faster your score goes up. Meaning the points gained during Day 5 will be much greater than those earned during Day 3. This is largely because of your multiplier which goes up as you kill enemies. So getting that multiplier up sooner would be a big benefit. So here is one way to do it. If you get a power-up (say a Clock) and leave it on-screen until you earn another power-up, the Clock will turn into a Multiplier Up which adds 1.0 to your multiplier. Do this enough times and your score will go up much faster.
The question is which are worth letting turn into Multiplier Ups and which are not? As I’ve mentioned a few times, you always want a Shield and preferably a Power Shield which you get when you grab a second Shield while you still have your original enabled. Either will allow you to get hit once without dying which can be a literal life-saver when you get sloppy or overwhelmed and the Power Shield increases your abilities (I’m not sure of the specifics, but you seem better across the board especially as far as killing enemies goes). A third Shield is kind of a waste because it just destroys all the enemies on-screen. Using one against a Sentinel so you don’t have to take the time and risk of killing it might be worth it, but I prefer to let them turn to into Multiplier Ups. Same goes for Clock and Power Cube. To me the Multiplier Up is much more important. Bridge Restore is a little tricky. I will pick these up but only after the game has destroyed a bunch of bridges. It isn’t worthwhile in 1-3 for instance when only two segments are missing and humans still fall pretty slowly. So that one depends on when I get it whether it is worth it. Having some bridges back can mean more humans saved which means more power-ups. So I weigh that one based on the situation. If you are going to pick it up and can wait to do so until another bridge gets destroyed that is a good call too.
I always grab Bombs and Weapon Upgrades. The latter doesn’t turn into Multiplier Ups anyway and once you get 100% Weapons it stops giving you them. Bombs are always good and I try to save them for Day 7 or 8. They can get you out of trouble when things get really crazy and since Sentinels take longer to kill eventually I will sometimes uses them to take out Sentinels during those later days.
Of course there comes moments where all bets are off. The five Bombs I have saved up won’t do me any good if I’m dead, so I will use them if stuck in an impossible spot without my Boost charged up. Same goes for Overdrive. I like to save them for bosses, but better be alive by the next boss than still have my Overdrive and be dead. If I am without a Power Shield with my set up it also means my Overdrive isn’t super useful against the boss because it runs out too fast. So then I’m even more likely to use it to get out a scrape against some standard enemies. And when I get to about Day 7 I will very likely start just grabbing those power-ups to save my own ass rather than trying to keep working the multiplier trick. There may be a time when I get good enough to handle those later days better and I hold off, but Day 7 and 8 is usually where I fall apart except for a couple of times where I managed to get to Day 9.
That runs down my strategy for handling Resogun’s addictive Survival mode. There is also a little luck involved. My two best runs I was able to save up about six Bomb power-ups which isn’t always possible, but the above strategies should still help you get higher scores on their own. Now there are better players out there than me and I’m sure more useful tips, but this is what I have gathered just from playing the mode myself. If you have any questions feel free to ask away in the comments or on Twitter. Otherwise, I hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading!