How to stay alive (slightly longer) in Necropolis
It's time for some lo-fi dungeon delving shenanigans!
Whether solo or with a full complement of four players hooked up via Steam/GOG, there are 10 levels of the Necropolis' inverted pyramid layout to plunder (or more likely die repeatedly while sadly attempting to plunder).
If you're just getting started in this Roguelike / Souls mashup, the layout and play style will be quite unfamiliar and require some adjustment on your part, and that's why we are walking you through all the basics of staying alive for a few minutes longer than your friends.
Necropolis Character Options And Mechanics
First off, it's important to note that despite what the PAX footage might have indicated prior to launch, there aren't actually character classes in Necropolis, so there's no difference between the various options chosen when you start a match.
The Daughter of Erewo has absolutely no mechanical play difference from the Son of The Seas Of Glass, for instance. The color differences are solely cosmetic so you don't all look the same while getting slaughtered by the denizens of the maze.
After choosing your certain-to-fail adventurer, be sure to stop and study the control scheme on the wall at the pyramid's first room. There's a reason it's boldly displayed in a way you can't possibly miss -- there's no key binding of any kind in this game. What you see is what you have to play.
There's also one other mechanical issue that may get in the way of your survival. Having trouble with the utterly spastic and insane camera that swings a thousand yards when you barely tick the mouse a millimeter? Be sure to turn the mouse sensitivity down (as in all the way down) in the settings to reach a manageable level, as even the 50% setting is likely to induce motion sickness.
Exploring The Necropolis
Since the game's levels are generated differently every time, there are no maps to help you or walkthroughs that will explain where to get specific objects or find certain enemies. Though despite the randomized nature, there are specific boons and hazards to look out for on your short journey.
Always run up and check the writings on the walls, even if you've already gotten sick of reading the silly text. Most of the time its gibberish, but sometimes the wall writing triggers a segment to recess and reveal a secret loot stash, and you don't want to miss those.
While running through the maze-like corridors of Necropolis, keep an eye out for anything that looks remotely different from the normal floor pattern. These areas are generally traps waiting to spring.
While a square segment on the ground filled with holes is obviously a spike trap (and you wouldn't walk over that, now would you?) others are a little more devious. The growing red lines, for instance, are only dangerous for short periods when they begin to flash, with vines reaching up to hold you in place while lowering your health.
Necropolis Combat Basics
Combat is very basic in Necropolis, but there are a few different ways to approach any given enemy. You have two different types of swings with whatever weapon is equipped, as well as the ability to charge your swing for an area effect strike.
Charging for a whirlwind circular swing is very handy when there are loads of enemies nearby, but it greatly drains your stamina, and even reduces your max stamina until you eat, making you less effective in combat in the long run.
Each weapon also has a different arc, width, and damage level when you perform this charged attack, so try it out with different types of swords and axes!
While charging up those area swings, be sure to keep in mind that deadly friendly fire is always turned on, so don't hit your friends! On the flip side of that coin, enemies can also hit each other, so luring them together into a clump and then dodging backwards is often a better strategy than swinging your sword at all.
Don't forget that attacking, jumping, and dodging back all use stamina (the bar situated below your health indicator), so don't swing rapidly without thinking, as you won't be able to dodge when you need to avoid a blow.
Dodging isn't your only method of avoid damage though, so be sure to raise your shield, as it does deflect most basic attacks, although only directly in front of you.
When putting all these various combat tactics together, survival in Necropolis requires learning the attack patterns of each type of enemy so you know when to block or dodge and then quickly strike when the creature is overextended and gearing up for the next attack.
When first starting the game you will probably be wondering at the odd lack of numbers anywhere on the screen. By design, there are no visible stats other than your health and stamina – you have to figure out which weapons do more damage through trial and error.
Even the descriptive text of each dropped sword or bow is no help, as that's frequently more focused on humor than telling you anything useful. The only visible difference is the item's tier of 0 – 4, with higher tiers obviously being more desirable.
Not much in the game is persistent, but codexes do remain attached to your character. Bought with tokens of favor, these codexes available on the top floor offer various (ill-defined) boosts that remain with you across different playthroughs even after you die.
You can only have a single codex equipped at a time, so there's no danger of them making one blackguard an unstoppable powerhouse above the other three players.
If you want more gems and tokens of favor at the end of a playthrough, be sure to go after the randomized missions handed out by the Brazen Head, like collecting X food, killing X vermin, plundering X chests, and so on.
With these basic Necropolis strategies in mind you should be able to survive a whole level or two before getting ganked by a horde of killer crabs or animated suits of armor. Good luck making it to the bottom of the maze!