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Moonlighter is the rogue-lite shop-keeping simulator we never knew we needed in our lives.
There’s something uniquely awesome about raiding ever-changing dungeons, and selling what you find to another generation of adventurers. Moonlighter might have randomly generated dungeons, but the world (and shop) you inhabit continues to progress, even when you’re stuck in those deadly labyrinths.
We’ve had a ton of fun with Moonlighter so far (just check out our first hour gameplay video above for proof) — and to help make your shop-keeping lives easier, here are 15 handy tips you’ll probably want to keep in mind when you start this awesome little indie up for the first time.
#1: Diagonal Attacks Are Your Best Friend
Your standard sword and shield combo has serious range problems, but that doesn’t matter when you can attack from a safe angle. Most enemies are locked in the cardinal directions (up, down, left right) and can’t attack diagonally — so attack from the sides instead! Your sword has more range than you think, and can hit enemies standing to your left and right with successive swings.
The standard sword isn’t your only friendly diagonal weapon. Other weapons like the giant longsword are also great for slower, wider diagonal attacks. Did you know that your third attack in a combo is stronger than the previous two? Keep swinging that sword, friends.
#2: And So Is The Bow — Unlock It Fast
The bow is the second best weapon for beginners for one simple reason — you can shoot enemies from a safe distance. Even better, your charged bow attack can hit enemies at an angle, flies through enemies, and even flies through obstacles so you can safely shoot from behind a rock barrier. It’s a great weapon for just starting out.
To unlock a bow, you’ll need to invest in the blacksmith. Go to the town board in the center and pay the 500 coin fee to get his place built, then check the requirements. It’s a little expensive to buy a bow early on, and you’ll need to delve into the golem dungeon to get the crafting parts, but it’s a worthwhile early goal.
#3: Check Cursed Items Before Placing Them In Your Inventory
If you’ve been dungeon-diving for long, you’ll start to notice strange symbols on items you find in treasure chests. There are lots of symbols, so always cursor over the items — don’t just grab them all at the same time! Some items will destroy items in an adjacent slot when you return to town. Others will INSTANTLY destroy adjacent items when placed. That sucks, and the auto-collect button won’t place those particular cursed items someplace safe. You’ve got to do it manually.
Not all cursed items are bad. Some have the “Clone” trait. When you return to town, the cursed item will copy itself over an adjacent item. Use these cloned items to convert worthless junk into valuable treasure!
#4: Attack Skeletons For Potions & Weapons
While exploring dungeons, you’ll quickly learn that the best items are found in chests. That’s mostly true, but you can also find skeletons of past heroes. These skeletons usually contain multiple healing items, and sometimes you’ll even find a weapon. Always be on the lookout for skeletons, and smash them the moment you see them!
The only other way to find plenty of potions is by defeating mimics. Sometimes, a treasure chest will transform into a teeth-filled monster. Stick around and defeat these mimics for a bunch of free potions or other useful items. Potions are really rare in the dungeon, so the more you can get, the better.
#5: Potions Are Half-Price At Night
Speaking of potions, they’re the most important item you need to survive. I recommend bringing 5 potions (and equipping them into your quick healing slot) for every serious dungeon exploration session. To get potions, you need slime and the potion shop — just invest 500 coins at the town square bulletin board to make the potion shop appear.
To avoid spending too much money on potions, wait until night. Potions are cheaper at night (only 80 coins if you craft them) so you’ll want to have plenty of slime. Slimes are common enemies, so if you’re low on potions, enter the Golem Dungeon, hunt some slimes, then leave and get crafting. Don’t waste coin on the expensive non-slime option.
#6: Wishlist Items To Keep Track Of What You Want To Keep
At the crafting shops, you can mark certain items on your wishlist. This is very important — you’ll get a star beside crafting items you need to create your wishlist items. You’ll see what you need to find in the dungeon so you don’t ditch junk, and you’ll know what items you want to keep in your inventory at the shop.
To wishlist an item, highlight it at the shop and press [Square / X]. Don’t forget to unwishlist items you’ve already got. You don’t need multiples of items, unless you plan on crafting extras and putting those up for sale.
#7: Look For Shiny Gold Sparkles In The Pits To Find Secret Rooms
Whenever you enter a new dungeon room, look in the dark bottomless pits for gold sparkles. They’ll appear briefly right as you enter. If the sparkles appear, that means there’s a secret room at the bottom of the pit. Walk or roll into a black pit to land in the secret room below. You’ll find hidden items, or special secret “horde” battle rooms.
These “horde” rooms have four treasure chests you can collect. You’ll need to activate each wave of enemies, and the more enemies you defeat, the more chests you’ll unlock. There are other types of secret rooms too, so always drop down to take a look. It doesn’t hurt, and there’s an escape rope so you can climb right back out.
#8: Enhance Your Health — Purchase Betters Beds (And Enchant Armor)
Don’t think you have enough health? You can get an “overshield” of extra health by purchasing upgraded beds in the shop upgrade menu, available at the town bulletin board. It’s a good idea to save up 4,000 gold and buy the first bed you see!
That gives you a temporary health boost for sleeping. To add more to your max health, you’ll need better armors. Usually, armors are locked until you reach new dungeons. If you want a boost right away, you can enchant your armor at the potion shop. It costs lots of cash (and some special enchantment stones) but it’s worth the upgrade. Just be aware that the enchantment will be lost when you swap to a new armor set.
#9: Sell One Item At A Time To Learn The Best Price
The store is how you’ll earn all the money you need to advance in Moonlighter. You’ll have to set all the prices yourself, and that means you’ll have to experiment to see how your customers react. You don’t want to undersell a huge stack of valuable items — so sell items one at a time. Place a single item on display, set the price, and wait for a reaction.
If you see gold coins in the customer’s eyes, it’s great that you’re making people happy, but you’re losing out on profits. You want to reach a happy (but not TOO happy) response from your customers. If the price is too high, they won’t buy — if the price is too high, but only slightly above the standard price, they’ll still purchase, but demand will drop.
To avoid lowering demand on high-ticket items, you want to sell at just the right price. Not too high, and not too low — you can earn profits by selling too high, but only if you don’t mind driving down the demand and hurting yourself in the long run. It’s all about providing the best prices for your customers!
#10: Don’t Place Your Most Valuable Items Near The Door
Not every visitor to your shop wants to pay. Lookout for black-hat thieves. These jokers want to rob you blind, and they’ll usually aim for the most expensive stuff first. There’s nothing you can do about a shoplifter until you catch them in the act — while they’re sprinting for the exit, you can attack and take the stole item back.
That’s why you never want to leave an expensive item on display near the door. If you can’t stop the thief before they reach the door, the item is gone forever. Make sure to place your most valuable items at the back of the store, and wait at the door when you see a thief enter. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
#11: Want Cash Fast? Ditch Junk & Only Collect Tomes
The dungeons are filled with valuable items, but books, scrolls and tomes seem to be the most worthwhile. These valuables are only found in treasure chests, and you’ll earn a full set for defeating the dungeon boss. If you only want profits and don’t need crafting materials, you can ignore all the other stuff in a dungeon and focus all your attention on ancient knowledge.
In the first dungeon, Golem schematics, tomes, and other tomes can sell for 500, 1500, or 2500 coin per scroll. That’s a ton of cash early in the adventure, so prioritize tomes over vines and other cheap junk when looting the local dungeons.
#12: Found The Boss Door? Drop A Town Portal
Once you reach the upper floors of the Golem Dungeon, you’ll unlock the ability to create a Town Portal. Usually, you’re stuck with a simple exit pendant that safely helps you escape the dungeon with all your items. The Town Portal is an upgrade — you can drop a portal anywhere in the dungeon, then continue where you left off.
Too bad the Town Portal isn’t permanent. It costs money to drop, and after you return through the portal, it will disappear forever. If you earn enough cash (or have enough on-hand) you can create another one, and I recommend creating one when you reach the boss door of a dungeon. It’s always smart to prepare for the big fight.
#13: Don’t Spend Too Much Time In The Dungeon
You can spend a lot of time in a dungeon floor tinkering with your item box. Checking items, stacking, and moving around cursed stuff can take awhile — and you don’t want to linger too long. If you’re in a dungeon floor for a long time, a slime ghost will spawn and attack. This killer brute cannot be defeated, so you’ll have to run!
Thankfully, entering a different room (and entering multiple different rooms quickly) will lose the slime ghost. It will search for you, so you’ll have some time to clear new rooms before it reappears.
#14: Don’t Enter A Dungeon Flat Broke
Before entering a dungeon, you don’t want to spend all your cash in town. Earn a little extra for when you enter the dungeon, or you can get yourself stuck in a dangerous situation. The dungeon escape pendant and the town portal both cost gold to use. The town portal is especially expensive, but both increase in price the deeper you go into the dungeon.
If you enter a dungeon flat broke, you won’t be able to actually leave the dungeon alive. There’s no alternate escape route. There is a way to earn money inside a dungeon though — drop junk into the Magic Mirror in the bottom-left corner of the screen to convert items into gold. You’re earning a fraction of the item’s worth by doing this. It helps when you’re overloaded and need to ditch trash. You might as well earn a little gold instead of leaving stuff behind.
#15: Loot Dungeons, Sell Stuff, Upgrade, Rinse & Repeat
The general gameplay loop of Moonlighter goes like this — enter dungeons and collect loot, return to town to sell the loot, use your money to upgrade the town / shop / equipment, then return to the dungeon to repeat the process all over again.
And that’s the best way to play. If you’re stuck and struggling against enemies or bosses, upgrade the shop, upgrade the town, and upgrade your equipment until you’re strong enough to deal with these threats. You can also return to previous, easier dungeons after you complete them for quick dungeon adventures.
And that’s all the tips we’ve got for Moonlighter! Let us know if you’ve got your own secret tips and tricks in the comments section below.