A general collection of hints and tips. Spoiler Alert!!!
Also note this guide is not professional by any means, and I am not a hardcore Iris and the Giant gamer. Feel free to correct any inaccuracies or supply new information in the comments.
Iris and the Giant, is actually quite easy. It may seem difficult at first, but once you have some memories and imaginary friends, you can finish Path of the Giant very fast. The other paths however, are somewhat harder.
You cannot change your difficulty later. You must make a new save file in order to use a different difficulty, and your unlocks do not transfer between them. As such, I recommend you pick Classic mode unless you are genuinely brand new to video games, outrageously bad at puzzle/deckbuilding video games, or you are setting it up for a very young child.
What are gifts? Very simple: They’re a small temporary bonus you unlock for finishing (or failing) a run. Once you end your next run, those gifts will be gone and you may be given new ones. When gifts are presented to you, you can choose to re-roll some of them.
While not of great importance, you could consider these gifts when you plan your next build.
Memories are advantages that you can choose to take with you on a run, and they permanent between runs. You CAN re-allocate the points you’ve spent on memories.
How do you get points? By finding Memory points during a run. You will be treated to a little cut-scene, and you will get a point to spend on Memories. (They look like yellow diamonds with a hole in them.) You should always prioritise getting these as it’ll make you permanently stronger.
Note that there are a limited number of memory points, and when you pick one up, you won’t find that one again. That doesn’t mean you will miss out on anything, it just means you need to progress further to acquire them all, and you cannot farm them.
Some memories are mutually incompatible. You can only pick one, but you can switch it between runs freely, so try them out.
Which Memories should you pick? All of them are useful! I would not consider even one of these memories to be useless, so try them out and see what works for you.
Imaginary friends are a lot like Memories, in that they give you a permanent persisting advantage. They can also be switched out freely between runs. Some Memories will let you bring more!
The most important thing to note here, is some Friends will have downsides. For example, the Minotaur friend will let you reach the second row of enemies with swords and axes, but Minotaur enemies will leap more frequently. The advantage here heavily outweighs the downside, but it’s important to note.
Unlocking Friends can be a little difficult, so you should view them in the menu to see what needs to be done, and then dedicate a run to it. For example, to unlock one Friend you need to go 13 floors without using any Confidence cards. This can be quite difficult, so you should consider shields, and other forms of healing Will when making your build.
Top left corner of your HUD during a run has a + button. Very obviously this is the menu, but more importantly it shows all the Memories, and Magic powers you have. Why am I telling you this very obvious thing? It’s important to remember what kind of advantages you have, especially when you accrue so many.
You can also view your challenges by clicking on the staircase icon, after opening the + menu. Now you don’t have to remember what dumb things you need to do to unlock Imaginary Friends.
Furthermore you can click on your Stars counter for information regarding your Personality, and you can click on your Imaginary Friends floating behind you (if you have any yet) and they’ll show you what they do. You can also click on your pouch to see your deck but that should be obvious.
General gameplay Tips
No it’s not a mimic (well it might be a mimic), but leaving it be can save your life. Any non-hostile object will take up space, and this is great for making enemies manageable. Obviously, it will stop melee enemies behind it from hitting you, but objects also take up one of the three spaces in a column, preventing ranged or support enemies from entering and being able to act.
So, think twice before you pop those crystals or open that chest. Better yet, use a whip and bring one closer to you.
Like above, you can actually use enemies to save your bacon in exactly the same way. You might be thinking, “But they’ll attack me?” Sure, but sword skeletons and archer cats only do 1 damage. This is substantially better than an enemy that hits you for huge amounts of will, steals from you, gives you sorrow, etc.
Just use a whip and give that skeleton the best seat in the house. There’s even a card that allows you to summon a sword skeleton who will still attack you. This is why.
Arrows can also come into this strategy, allowing weak enemies on the front line to live while shooting stronger enemies in the back.
Loading tips will also encourage you to use Trick, and for good reason. It may seem like waiting 12 cards to benefit is a lot, and you only get to save a single card. However, some cards you can get from Steal, are frankly incredible. Being able to save those and use them again is a huge boon.
The game will also keep track and display how many cards you need to use, and when your next card will be saved. Just keep an eye on the pouch and it’s new number display, and wait for when it opens up. Then you get to have your cake and eat it!
On the bottom right corner of the HUD is a button to “End Turn”. Normally you wouldn’t do this, but sometimes it can come in handy! Just remember it as being an option you can take.
One memory unlock allows you to “Chance” which means to completely re-draw your hand. This is extremely useful. Note that it replaces your “End Turn” button.
Every floor will get you another Chance, allowing you to keep Chances in reserve if you don’t use them. It should also be noted, using a card that allows you to use more after, will prevent the usage of Chance that turn.
Not only do you need to keep your Will up, you need to make sure you have enough cards to play. Running out of cards means you loses, and you know this. But how do we stop this from happening?
When you pick cards from chests, make sure not to neglect the simple ones, like swords and arrows. These seemingly weaker cards always come in larger packs, and should never be overlooked. Try to make sure you always have a few of these basic cards.
When you get enough stars, you can pick an upgrade. You can also pick a Chest instead of an upgrade, and you should always consider it if you’re running low on cards. It might not be as appealing as something that’ll last the whole run, but if you’ve got around 10 cards you’re going to run out very soon. Personally, I try to keep at least 20 cards on me at all times.
Stealing is great! Steal cards means you can do damage AND get another card to replace the Steal! Try also stealing from enemies that give you cards such as Scythe, which allows you to steal from even more enemies at once!
Don’t get too crazy trying to get into secret stairs by smashing a ton of rocks. If you don’t have the means to do it efficiently, it might be safer just to forgo it.
Watch out for thieves, and traps that destroy your cards! Don’t be afraid to take a little damage if it means getting rid of them first.
If things are looking tough or you’re running out of cards, you could consider escaping to the next floor, and hopefully find a chest or something to save you.
But how? Look for a silhouette of stairs in the back rows, and focus on the column the stairs are in to bring it closer to you faster. You can even use a whip to bring it to you once it’s in range.
There’s also a Ladder card out there which takes you to the next floor. You could use this to go through the run quicker, or save it for such emergencies.
Confidence is important. This much should be obvious as ii lets you restore ALL of your Will. However, there are two important things to note here:
1) Too much Confidence is bad. (Overconfidence!) Having a hand even half-full of Confidence means you are basically wasting space in your hand, and you’ll end up having to use some wastefully. Try not to stock up on it; having 1-3 is probably enough.
2) Always have at least 1 confidence! Since these cards can fully restore your Will, try holding it in your hand and using it when you’re about to die, but don’t be afraid to use it sooner if you want to play it safe. You can also desperately use Chances to draw that 1 Confidence if it comes to it.
Sorrow sucks! Using it hurts you and you waste a turn! Also it’s sad! Try and get rid of these during safe moments, or when you know you can get some healing very shortly after. It’s very important you don’t let these pile up, because ending up with a hand full of sorrow can result in death very quickly.
Remember, if you have Chance you can save yourself from a hand full of sorrow.
A rare magic card called Inspiration allows you to Steal from every visible enemy, and remove a Sorrow card for each steal made. Don’t rely on finding these though!
Evil Sword cards work like regular swords… but they make you lose 2 stars! Why would anyone use this? Because it returns to your deck after use. This means you will essentially never run out of cards and lose. There are other cards that return to your deck, but most don’t do damage so you end up dying anyway. As such, if you find that you run out of cards a lot, try Evil Sword. Note it can still be stolen from you!
This applies to Steal and any card that can steal cards from enemies. Stealing is absolutely invaluable to a good run. The game will also tell you this in loading tips, stealing is how you get the best cards. If you see a special enemy, they’ve got an interesting card. You can steal from regular enemies in a pinch, but try and use them on the big or special enemies.
A good rule of thumb is that you will get a card that allows you to replicate what defines that enemy. If you’re wondering what that could possibly be, go ahead and steal from that enemy. Chances are it’ll be quite thrilling.
Note that you can steal from non-hostile objects, such as chests, rocks and crystals. However, the object must be in a state where one hit will destroy it. Rocks and chests take two hits typically, and crystals clusters must have only one crystal left.
Some notable steals:
- Treasure rooms will sometimes have golden rams. They give you great card which reduces all attacks to 1 just by holding it, and can also be used to restore all Will if needed.
- Sad enemies will always give you Sorrow. Don’t steal from sad enemies.
- Very late in the game you’ll find some really mean enemies with really big mouths. I highly suggest stealing from them.
I don’t want to write a huge list here and spoil the fun. Go steal some stuff for yourself!
If you’ve read other parts of this guide, you’ll know by now why you would want to create another enemy for yourself. It keeps the bigger scarier enemies away from you! The best part about this card is it’s re-usable so I highly recommend having it.
In order to get the Skeleton card, you must steal it. Harpies will drop it, for instance.
Whips are great! You can use them to move enemies and objects around. Obviously this lets you pull mini-bosses up close so you can stab them with a Dagger, or pull a chest close so you can hope desperately it’s contents will save you, or just block some snake who wants to stab you. You can also put a weak skeleton between you and a much bigger skeleton.. or any scary melee enemy!
Now what the game doesn’t tell you, is you can move boulders too, and like any non-hostile object, they can be used to impede melee enemies. This is invaluable to some of the Path of the Mind puzzles, but also useful in general.
But wait there’s more! Whips can also trigger traps, hitting the enemy in front of them! This is much better way of disarming them than an arrow, as you can also do some damage to another target.
AND whips can yank shields right out of an enemy’s hands!
As Wave cards will tell you, they break shields and armour, and stun ranged enemies. Super useful already, but what they don’t tell you is they also break traps and kill fire demons! (They might even kill some other enemies, unknown to me)
The Hydra can be tricky but isn’t so much a puzzle as a difficult fight.
The solution is simple, hit each head twice to kill it. Kill all the heads to get the Star.
- Daggers are will kill heads in 1 hit, but even with a stack of them it’ll take a while since you must kill one head at a time.
- Axes and Fire are one of your best options, as you can behead a row and follow up with swords, or another axe/fire.
- Lightning is useless here. Don’t bother trying to bring some before hand.
- Shields are great. You’re going to get attacked a lot since Hydra can hit from the middle row.
- Stealing is very useful here, as the card you get from Hydra allows you to draw 10 cards without ending your turn. This can be useful for this fight, and future fights!
- Really, anything that hits multiple enemies at once is ideal, as it helps deal with the Hydra quickly, and stops you from being injured.
Remember, Cerberus has three(3) heads. Also, try keeping them at a distance until figure out the solution, and can execute it.
Kill all three heads at the same time. It’s that easy! Keep them at bay, ideally by positioning a non-hostile object in front of them (or a weaker enemy), and work their armour off at a distance. Then, bring em in and hit them all at once with anything you can use, like an Axe, a bomb, or a rain of arrows.
This isn’t really a boss but it’s worth mentioning I think. No real puzzle here, just a potentially difficult fight. 3 harpies that spawn lots of skeletons.
If possible, you want to kill as many harpies as you can on your very first turn. If this means killing just one and completely ignoring the others, that’s fine, because it means you cut down on the amount of skeletons you’re going to have to fight through to get back to them.
Assuming you don’t kill all three harpies immediately, (good on you if you did!) then you should try to make your way back to the harpies one at a time. Let the others stay off screen so they can’t spawn more, ideally placing something non-hostile in front to stop skeletons from their lanes from attacking.
As such, fire is great here, but axes not so much.
This one can actually be quite hard, even if you know the solution. Do your best!
It will eat any card. No card you use on it will hurt it, only create enemies.
You can only attack him indirectly, through enemies. The best way to do this, is to kill enemies that explode when they die, particularly Fire demons or bomb snakes, and you can create these enemies by feeding the mimic fire and bomb cards. You can also use whips on traps if they’re available.
I really recommend you do your very best to figure this one out, even if it takes you a long time. It’s a lot easier than you might think.
Look back on the story of Iris and the Giant.
Look back on the story of Iris and the Giant.
Some floors will have another staircase, usually tucked away further back than the normal staircase. Mousing over stairs will give you a description that tells them apart. Secret stairs will lead you through an alternate, usually harder route.
Why? These routes can lead you to Path of the Mind, or Treasure Rooms. When transitioning between floors, the loading screen map will sometimes feature triangle floors or treasure chest icons if you look closely. And sometimes the route really is a shortcut. I’ll be honest, I haven’t exactly mapped the whole thing out.
The Path of the Mind is a pure puzzle challenge. You are to progress through three floors of combat, each with pre-set cards. If any enemy hits you even once during these puzzles, you fail the puzzle and can retry up to three times. If you fail three times, you leave the challenge and return to normal gameplay with no reward.
In order to access these puzzles, you must look for a boulder with a triangle symbol. After killing every enemy on the floor, this boulder will turn into a portal.
Should you succeed at the challenges, you are allowed to choose between three different types of chest. You only get to pick one, unless you get the crystals from each of the challenges, which allows you to pick 2. Also note that breaking the crystals in each puzzle counts as having collected them.
Personally, I find these challenges annoying, but the reward is good for your run so it’s highly recommended you do them.
Treasure rooms can be accessed from boulders with a weapon symbol on them. You must then use the matching weapon to strike the boulder. e.g. If the boulder has a sword symbol, hit it with a sword.
Inside you will find a room that has a lot of crystals and amphora (which is useful if you have a memor which puts stars or crystals in them), but also special amphora and enemies that make you lose stars.
The most important thing you might find is a golden ram, which if you steal from, gives you a very nice card that reduces all damage to 1 when in your hand.
Strangely enough, treasure rooms are not always helpful. Sometimes they’re actually detrimental if you’re not prepared for them.
Not a secret as such, but keep an eye out for any regular skeleton holding a rare golden sword. Make sure to steal it off him for your card collection!