Soda Dungeon 2

Monday, 10 August, Year 12 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu
Soda Dungeon 2 just came outi on steam this Summer, and it's pretty fucking cool.

At its core it's a dungeon crawler, very pleasant visually (the game benefits from an exquisite eccletism, as you can see on the side) in spite of the low resolutionii and blessed with an auto-play function that is fully scriptable.iii You see, people are discovering Eulora on their own terms and in their own time, bumblingly and hesitatingly as that may be but nevertheless, they're going thereiv. With any luck I'll be finding myself in another few years in the ridiculous position of having figured out what's to be done a decade ago, but not be the one who also did it for simply taking too damn long. Wouldn't that be funny ?

But enough about me ; that fully scriptable auto is what clenched the deal, past my and Hannah's independently arising but mutually shared "hey, this approach to gfx works!" it's very much it that's to blame for the tinny, 1980s game electronica noise coming out of my speakers. So let's take a moment and discuss the nitty gritty, this is the trolloludens category after all!

First off, to get that out of the way and as far as possible from us, I made the [seemingly, in retrospect] mistake of picking MP as the post-dimension reward at the end of word 1 ; I've also compounded that mistake by picking HP at the end of world 2. This puts me in the situation where I've not the damage one, and consequently I can't use mages properly in World 3, gotta wait for World 4. The reason for this is -- apparently both Dark Mage and Mystic use as base for the damage they do (times 0.75 or 0.6 respectively) something other than their actual damage ; if I'm correct in my current suspicion then the only way to make them usefulv is to get the damage relic.

So now, for world 1 and a large part of world 2 my strategy was simply : use a lot of casters, pimp up their mana, murder the map. You progress as many levels each run as your mana lasts, no exceptions -- in the early days everything readily collapses under a wall of 20-30 mass damage.

Towards the end of world 2 this ran into the snag of the enemies having too much health -- enough to survive my initial onslaught and then retaliatevi, so I had to adapt. I moved on to simply having a team of six brawlers (the free unit) equipped with iron swords I crafted and healing stones I bought. This is an excellent platform which readily permits extension : as the gold started trickling (and then torrenting) in I moved to huntersvii, which take two rings or amulets -- all the better, seeing as it gives all those four clovers some place to call home, not to mention the silver amulets you've been crafting (you have been crafting these, yes ?) therefore pumping your income even higher. And speaking of pumped income, you're using all the gold shields you can possibly get your hands onviii, right ? Not to mention the frying pans...ix

Anyways, this strategy carries wonderfully for world 3 as well, up until about level 200 it readily dominates -- and the loot is fabulous.x I fully expect this will be the universal starter strategy in all worlds owing to its extreme cheapness and convenience. Nevertheless, it's not quite enough to reach past 260 or so, and so I... had to adapt again! At this juncture it occurred to me I had seen something to do with soda scripts over by the arena, and hmm... I wonder if they're actually useful.

They very well fucking are! My state of the art as we're speaking is a team of hunters and nurses, with the nursesxi in the middle (such that there's always at least one hunter looking the enemy in the back). The hunters are set to just attack, not caring one wit about anything ; whereas the nurses are set to heal the team mate whose hp drops under halfxii and otherwise defend. This is great because it significantly diminishes the damage potential of the enemy (as 50% of the time they're hitting a defending teamster) and really, nobody cares about the damage nurses don't do to the enemy.xiii

I intend to finish this world (not before I've leeched enough gold to knock off the cheap upgrades I want, like say the kitchen) and get the damage relic, see if indeed it pumps up caster damage. Because if it does...

Anyways, uncharacteristically for an idle dungeon crawler the proceedings of your team are a pleasure to watchxiv (in some part because the graphics work, in perhaps a larger part still because of the positional shenanigans -- every other idler out there has very stiff, fixed positioning that makes the fight entirely unremarkable, even indistinguishable from any other), which is truly the most that could possibly be said. Kudos Tanner & pox, you've done it, dudes!

PS. If either of you want some Bitcoin dust let me know, I'm game.


  1. Made by A[fro]N[inja] Productions (ie Shawn Tanner, a one-man-show coding house) & Poxpower (ie pox* mod from Newsgrounds) ; published by Armor Games. []
  2. It's amusing for me to observe the retracing from the "higher resolution === better game" delusion of these past two decades. No, having sixteen times as many pixels dun help if you don't have what to put in there. If you've got a million pixels' worth and the viewport's only eight hundred thousand then yes, increasing it slightly is a cheap way to improve your game by 20%. If however you've got... like, at best nine pixels' worth, going from a trillion to a quadrillion sized viewports does exactly and most precisely nothing. Nothing at all, it's too overwhelmingly huge to begin with to even allow an increase in the perception of vacuity. Your nothing's quite as small floating in the sea as it would be floating in the ocean, even if oceans are more expensive than seas in terms of the running water bill. []
  3. At first I thought there's just one script for all your guys, which'd have been sad. It's not the case, you select individually which guy to follow which script -- a discovery that was delightfully exciting, lo that thinking people still exist!

    It's still not fully scriptable, however, for the following reason : if I have more than one nurse, and I set the nurses to heal, then the first nurse will do 100% of the healing until it runs out of mana, then the 2nd will take over and so on. I happen to prefer a more even distribution of load, so it'd be nice if there were another option in there permitting me to set the nurse to only do the specified action x% of the time. It's not a huge deal or anything though. []

  4. Add that the game does convincingly hint at the game world being larger "than the player can imagine" and you've pretty much built the trifecta. []
  5. They're not useful currently because they only do 22 and 31/35 (with staff) damage -- to all enemies, it's true, but still, as the enemies creep over 100 health this is no longer useful. []
  6. Though not in the Arena, by the way -- I still trivially own that with 3 mages. Thankfully. []
  7. I figure they're the one to use on account of ranking up their racial bonus thingee ; in fairness I saved to open the blademaster, but I was gravely underwhelmed by its actual performance in combat -- not least of all because yes it wields two weapons, but one takes the shield slot, rather than the slot under the weapon, which is how the hunter's dual accessory wielding works (which proves that weapons can take sockets too, I suppose). Anyways, who knows, maybe later... []
  8. And they're all maxed, +4 and then you're building the upgrade and so on.

    Speaking of levelling up items -- it's my current doctrine that things like the Hallowed plate and the skull/virtue sword are worth levelling, because in the process they also get bonus reflection/critical, not merely the flat bonuses. So basically I'm maxing out gold shields, the swords and hallowed plate, while ignoring the rest. Too bad you can't level rings, huh. []

  9. It's not clear to me whether this is actually useful or not, I'm literally drowning in food as it is. But, since it's something you can get... why not get it, right ? []
  10. It is a mistake, by the way, to make much use of the warp function. You get to pay for missing out on loot, both gold, resources and items ; not to mention you miss out on pet levelling. Terrible idea, especially seeing how the auto play function works so well. []
  11. Note the plural. Unlike the healing stones, the nurse's first aid can't be self applied. Therefore you always need at least two (if they don't show up naturally, click the little bed icon in the inn to respawn the heroic resources). It seems to me three actually works better than two (at least in the sense of "how deep in the dungeon does the party end up" ; it might be otherwise in terms of speed (something like two nurse teams get 77% of the gold three nurse teams get but in 88% of the time, I believe) yet nevertheless, three's what I currently prefer.

    Oh, and since we're discussing all this : it's not particularly difficult to end up with the team of your choice, even if you buy all the sodas (something I do not, I've played world 3 lumberjack & miner free) by simply hiring whatever you like then hitting the inn refresh -- it repopulates, allowing you to complete your dream team. It's true that it costs a little more, but it's truly negligible, not even 1k. []

  12. I had this set to 25 and then 30%, but experience shows the early savings these conservative values engender are truly very dearly bought indeed at the late end of the run. []
  13. So basically, I went from the situation where in late game nobody attacked because everyone was healing, and all the while the enemy pumped out more damage than they could heal anyway, spelling doom for my poor team, to this situation where 50% of the team is permanently disabled while the remainder can always attack without a care. I like it very much subjectively, it's satisfying as a process and as a lived experience, which -- together with the pleasing artwork -- constitute exactly what a game should be in the first place. []
  14. If you feel like taking over, remember that the number keys auto-select attacks, so 2 is defend, 3 is the poison skull etc. This is kinda why I don't have my brawlers use magic currently -- let them save it for me, you know ? []
Category: Trolloludens
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2 Responses

  1. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 11 August 2020

    Meanwhile accidentally blazed through world 4 without even noticing, and killed a few more worlds with great ease. The recipe described is very effectual, with two adaptations : one is that the thief is indeed a must have (once) -- for one thing, he opens all chest instead of 1 out of 3, resulting in a drastic increase in loot ; for the other he pilfers essences, which as much as doubles the total essence output.

    The other is that once nurses get their global heal at lvl 25, two are perfectly sufficient, so basically switch one out for a thief and it's all good.

    The caster alternative mentioned is underwhelming still, at this stage, through my attack bonus is +50 or thereabouts at the moment. Mayhap this changes later -- but it'd have to be much later I guess.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 13 August 2020

    Meanwhile, having beaten a bunch of bosses without even being present, and about to challenge the level 1`000 boss, a few things have changed.

    One is that the nurses became by degrees useless, as there's a relic that does ~same. Pump it to 30 or so and it should be enough (+60 hp/turn) to take care of whatever damage you get from ambushes (nobody else should ever hit you, period). While you're levelling it up (before you get the essence + one, of course, after you level THAT up, first and to 100, before anything -- I didn't even get the 100 caps until I maxed essence relic) you may still want a nurse hanging about, but basically... their time is up.

    The other is that the mystic becomes essential, as his "if ally status != positive, cast recharge" script line takes your team from running out of mana fast to always and forever being fully charged. It makes a huge difference, especially as the thief becomes fucking essential -- I'd say he's the most important half of my team, with a view to three quarters, because he seems to increase the essence gather by a factor of 3 or some shit! Since essence is most all you're looking for anyways, well...

    Finally, lumberjacks kinda take over, there's a quest that upgrades their "nail it" skill from doing 2x to doing 4x damage, and so at a time dark mages can hit AoE for 100-150, the lumberjacks can hit single target for 6-700. I'm sure there'll come a time when the mages catch up ; but that time sure isn't during the first 1`000 (or even 2`000) levels.

    Other than that, the gear in the depths is pretty fucking cool, like the 50 hp 25 attack 20 mana star gem, and great staves and so on. Worth a trip, that's for damn sure. I am curious how long the bosses last, especially if there's anything past 1`000.

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