Hold your phone like a PSP - this should minimize blocking the game playfield when using the on-screen DPAD. I've chosen to have the controls overlap the playfield rather than have non-overlapping controls with a tiny playfield. It's a tradeoff...
In the latest Android release of Voyage to Farland, you can choose an alternate control scheme with the DPAD at the bottom left. Just tap MENU-SETTINGS and then toggle the Controls button and remember to hit OK to save the new control layout. On devices with recent Android versions, the MENU option is an on-screen button with three vertical dots.
Skip to a hint:
It's no secret (check the twitter link to the left) that Voyage to Farland is a humble homage to the classic Shiren the Wanderer DS game by Chunsoft. If you're new to this genre, here are a couple of great reviews of that game: one by 1UP's Jeremy Parish and another by roguelike guru John Harris in his @Play column. Give these a read to prepare yourself for the "cute but brutal" nature of roguelikes in general.
Now on to the hints...
Here are some quick tips collected from the twitter feed:
- In the thatched hamlet, listen to the girl's ornithological observations!
- The girl in the Thatched Hamlet who likes fishing -- she's hungry, so be generous! (i.e. something she'd like, but is also good for her)
- Undead monsters include Gray Lady, Oni, Nosferatu, and Ghost families...
- You can heal (with herbs) and levelup (with beads) your buddy NPCs!
- Inventory is limited to 20 slots, but the "21st" item you're standing on shows up as page 3 in inventory menu!
- When somnambulistic (sleepwalking) you can't control your movement but CAN control direction you throw things!
- When a bead's charges reach 0, waving them will have no effect, but they can still be used another way...
- Hungry? Get friendly with a Rumble monster (if you're lucky he'll turn one of your items into a cookie).
Here are a couple of videos that highlight some classic tricks you can use to survive:
When a monster is sickened in Voyage to Farland, it'll move at half the normal speed. In other words, you'll get 2 turns for every 1 turn the monster uses. Use this to your advantage against a powerful monster to hit, move way, face the monster again, hit it again, and repeat. But be careful with the GrayLady and her sisters... they move at double speed, so when sickened they move the same speed as you!
If your HP is low, or you're facing two or more powerful monsters, try running for a hallway. You can then take them on one at a time in combat. (so long as no other monsters sneak up behind you!)
Occasionally in the game, you'll stumble into a Monster Room - a room full of "resting" monsters, traps, but also items! The music will turn more sinister and the monsters will wake up, but try not to panic.
What can you do? Here's one way to ALMOST escape... Other options are jumping into a warp pouch (to get the heck out of there), or reading a Pummelscroll (to smack down all the monsters). But if you don't have either of those items, you'll need to be more creative. Perhaps a vial tossed at a useful monster (Ghost, Viperbeetle, Gray Lady) will help. Careful use of a Spacebead and Gustbead may get you out alive. Turning tail and running for a hallway is also an option. No one will blame you. Especially if you survive!
If you play roguelikes long enough, you'll learn to keep some of the above items handy (whenever possible) to deal with these "unexpected" situations. But don't take it too hard if you succumb to a monster room. It happens to the best of us!
Tips for avoiding starvation
The main way to fill up your stomach in Voyage to Farland is by eating a cookie, but notice that eating herbs will also fill you up a little in a pinch.
With cookies, pay close attention to how much you fill up when eating a certain type of cookie and try to only eat your next cookie of that type after your fullness drops below that amount. For example, it's best to wait until you're nearly starving to eat an oatmeal cookie in order to get the maximum benefit from it.
For travelling in some dungeons, you're allowed to bring along items, so play rock-paper-scissors with the boy in the starting village and if you win, he may give you a cookie, or at least an herb to use later for its magical powers or just to keep hunger at bay a while longer.
For the dungeons where you can't bring along items, there are tricks to getting or making cookies when you can't find any. Pay close attention to what the higher level Bumble monsters sometimes do as a special attack. Big hint: you'll end up with a cookie. We don't want to give away all of the game's secrets - part of the fun is finding these things out for yourself as you play. But for some hints about the monsters' characteristics, if you try googling around... ;-)
- The level one Bumble doesn't have the cookie making special attack, but if you have a level up bead...
- Capture a level 2 or 3 Bumble (Rumble, Masterbee) in a vial and carry it around to toss at a monster in case you need to make a cookie.
- Slightly more dangerous: if you have a warp pouch handy, read a Monsterscroll and then warp out of the room. Come back when it's safer and maybe there's a cookie or something else useful in the newly created "Monster Room" treasure.
- If you have a change pouch, try standing next to a wall, shooting steel shot against it, then insert one shot at a time into the change pouch (items you're standing on show up as the last inventory page). It may change into something you can eat! Note that in order to access the contents of a change or meld pouch, you have to tear it open by throwing it against a wall, but test whether you're throwing against a "hard" wall or "soft" wall (room border near water, or in caverns, etc.) first! You don't want to throw the pouch off into space!
- Drinking a monster vial will also fill you up a little in a pinch.
All that being said, the occasional death by starvation is part of the fun(?) of Mystery Dungeon style roguelikes.
If you read the explanations for items, you can learn some tricks! Notice that a couple of the herbs in the game will do damage to "undead" monsters (when thrown). Test out which monsters are undead by throwing these herbs at them. You can probably guess some undead monsters from the start: Ghost, Nosferatu, etc.
As you play the game, take note of all the special abilities or special attacks that certain monsters have (read the message window carefully). Keep these in mind for when you find an EmptyVial. You can capture the monster and drink the vial later when one of those special abilities or attacks would come in handy. Big hint: becoming a Ghost can be very useful!
One tricky thing to keep in mind about the TetherTrap is that trying to move with the DPAD while "tethered" will use up a turn (dangerous if there are monsters nearby).
To change direction and better attack while tethered, tap the "Rotate" button then a direction with the DPAD and you can face an enemy without wasting a turn!
Another tip about traps is that they are hidden until you uncover them by either stepping on them or swinging your weapon/fist at an empty space on the ground.
About the magic beads in the game: when a bead's "charges" reach 0, waving it at a monster will have no effect. However, there IS another way to make one last use of it! Hint: select it in the inventory menu and look at the sub-menu choices carefully.
With other more mysterious pouches (ChangePouch, MeldPouch, etc.) you can insert items, but it's a bit trickier to get them back out. You have to throw the pouch at a wall or creature to tear it open (unfortunately destroying the pouch in the process) in order to get the new items it contained. Generally, throwing against a wall or tree is safe - you can test before by shooting steel shot at it. But there ARE a few dungeon floors where thrown objects fly off into "space": i.e. the first couple of floors in "The Path of No Return". So be careful!
You can see a player using these techniques in the videos here:
About the MeldPouch: you can use this magic pouch to combine items! For example, you can insert a Gustbead with 3 charges left and another Gustbead with 5 charges, and the MeldPouch will combine them into a single Gustbead with 8 charges. But a more powerful use of the MeldPouch is to combine weapons or shields. A +1 Titan shield combined with a +2 Wooden shield will give you a +3 Titan shield, which is quite powerful. But be careful - the order you put things into the MeldPouch matters!
As these pictures show, putting the weaker shield in first will cause any subsequent shields to give their + values to that first inserted shield (a Wooden shield has a base defense power of only 3 - you can check shield and weapon strengths by selecting the item from the inventory menu. The strength values will be displayed at the bottom of the weapon/shield sub-menu window, e.g. a +2 Wooden shield will show 3+2, or base defense power of 3, plus 2 for a total defense strength of 5)
If you put the Wooden shield in first:
The more powerful Titan shield's +1 gets added to the weaker Wooden shield, yielding 3(base defense power)+2+1=6...
But putting the Titan shield in first:
The Wooden shield's +2 gets added to the Titan shield, yielding 12(Titan shield base defense power)+1+2=15! Putting the stronger shield in first is much better!
Voyage to Farland follows the Mystery Dungeon mechanics of allowing your HP to recover/increase gradually as you use turns, move, etc. Your HP will drop of course when you're hit with an attack by a monster, but at any other time, using a turn by moving, etc. will allow your HP to tick upwards slowly (you'll see the HP bar at the top of the screen growing). Unless you're starving, in which case you'll gradually lose HP as you move until you can find something to eat! The game warns you when you're getting hungry and again when you begin starving, so pay close attention to the sound effects and the message window.
I'll add more hints from time to time, so check back often. And feel free to contact me (via support email in Android Market) with any questions about the game!