Playthrough 1 – Fully Loaded
For your first playthrough, I would highly advise just playing through the game at your leisure. The game is very simple, although some of the mechanics might be tricky early on. As soon as you get a few upgrades, though, it all becomes child’s play. Even though you could technically get the full 1000gs in a single playthrough, I do not advise it, and for one main reason: Teleporters. In order to make the 4-gold-star speedrun as easy as possible, you will be buying teleporters quite frequently. Unfortunately, this makes the achievement for maximizing all upgrades, Fully Loaded, significantly harder to obtain, and potentially missable. There are a finite number of orbs in the game, and if you buy a lot of teleporters, you can actually use so many orbs that buying all upgrades becomes impossible.
Doing your first playthrough casually to obtain enough cash and orbs to purchase all upgrades means that you don’t have to worry about that achievement during your speedrun. It also means that you will be much more familiar with the mechanics of the game, the dangers of the spike magnets that are plentiful once you get down to Vectron, and the general strategy for hitting as many mineral deposits as you dig down as possible, without wasting too much time digging sideways or climbing back up to reach an out-of-the-way deposit.
If you prefer, you can also keep the video guide for the game’s Secret Areas handy, so that you can nab all of those on your first playthrough as well. All of them will be pointed out in the detailed step-by-step guide below for the speedrun, though, so feel free to simply enjoy your first playthrough, and only worry about getting the Fully Loaded achievement at this time. You can even quit out as soon as you unlock that achievement, without finishing the game, and proceed to the 4-star run. You should have enough knowledge of the game by then that ignoring the last bit of the game before doing the 4-star run shouldn’t hinder you at all.
To purchase all upgrades, you will need about $19,750 in cash collected and 149 orbs. This does not include any money spent on buying lanterns/ladders/dynamite, topping off your health, or purchasing teleporters with orbs. An average playthrough, if exploring thoroughly, will net around $21,000-$22,000 in cash give or take, and around 165-185 orbs. So be prudent with how often you’re buying non-upgrade items. You’ll net all of the unmissable story-related achievements on this playthrough, but I’ll include those in the detailed walkthrough below. For now, like I said, focus solely on this achievement:
If you would like to knock out the secrets achievement on this first playthrough as well, here is a video you may want to keep handy.
Playthrough 2 - 4 Star Speedrun
I followed along (roughly) with this video during my four-star run, although I explored Old World a lot more than he did prior to getting the Mineral Detector, which made my run significantly slower. It's a great video to follow for these achievements. Ignore the story-related achievement locations if you did the first playthrough for Fully Loaded as suggested.
WARNING: This video does not obtain all 19 Secret Areas. You can return to nab the missing ones after completing the game, though, and I have included all 19 exactly where you should reach them in the text guide. Also, the depths for the caves are a rough estimate based on his run. Yours may be 10 or 20 metres higher or lower, maybe more. The key is to look for the next cave in this guide as you dig down (or dashboard and reload your game if you spend too long looking for them).
Note: I will be giving very specific instructions only for this very first part of the story, and for the individual caves, as they are pre-determined. The rest of the game’s overworld, past the first area and outside the individual caves, is randomly generated. So I cannot give specific step-by-step instructions, and will instead give you a basic strategy to follow in between caves, including a rough depth in metres for the next cave’s entrance.
From the start, head directly to your left to find a skeleton and get the Old Pickaxe. Dig your way through the lighter dirt to the right and jump back across the gap. Past the female robot, you’ll reach an area with lighter dirt you can dig through. Dig down to the bottom, then right to reach a lever and pull it, which will open the pathway forward for the fembot. Wall-jump your way back up the pathway you made digging down and go right. In the next room, start digging downward three squares to the left of the darker dirt that you can’t dig through.
When you hit a Trashium, you should be two blocks below an enemy up to your left. From here, dig straight left to reach another trashium. Return to where you got the first one and continue to dig straight down. You should be digging downward from your original shaft, to the right from the enemy above. Dig four blocks down, then two to the left to get a 3rd trashium. Return to the shaft and continue digging down again. Dig two blocks down, where you’ll kill an enemy, then two blocks to the right. From here, begin digging down again and you’ll pass through another trashium. Climb back up out of your shaft, grabbing the trashium that the enemy to the left explosed, bringing your total to five.
Go to the right two squares from the top of your shaft and begin digging down again. You’ll dig one block down and be forced to go right, so dig right a couple blocks to reach trashium #6. Dig three more blocks from trashium 6 (four if you count the empty block) and one up to get #7. Return to the left one block and dig downward two blocks to get trashium #8. Now that you have eight, climb out of your shaft and take the ladder up to reach the town.
Speak to the female robot, Dorothy, to your right to exchange your eight trashiums for cash, then go right from her to Cranky’s Upgrades and buy the Sharp Pickaxe. Each successive pickaxe upgrade will allow you to dig through tougher dirt, and eventually rocks. However, we’ll be stopping our axe upgrades relatively early on to focus on the drill, since it is much faster for clearing areas, so long as you manage your water levels appropriately. Head back down the ladder into the cave, and drop down the left-most shaft you made in this room (the one that passed by the enemy to the left, where you got most of your trashiums).
Drop all the way to the bottom of it and continue digging downward. A few squares below where you left off, you’ll get to the harder dirt that requires the Sharp Pickaxe you just bought. Ignore any mineral deposits you pass by, as it isn’t worth going out of your way for trashiums that are only worth $1. This will be a recurring theme early-on, and you’ll even be instructed to discard some loot along the way to make room for the more expensive stuff, to save time. Dig down until you reach approximately 30-32 metres of depth, which is shown just below the mini-map on the upper-right. Remember to increase its size in options if you wish to make things easier to locate. At the 30-32 metre depth, you should (hopefully) see a cave with a “I” sign beside it (as in the letter “I”, Roman numeral for “1”). If you don’t immediately see it, try digging to the right of the screen a few squares.
Archaea - Cave I
Go left and dig one square out from beneath the two rocks. They’ll fall down, so continue forward past them. Go to the far left, past the two disappearing-sand pits, and drop down the shaft on the left to the area below, where you’ll get the Speed Boots ability. This is also when you should unlock the achievement for finding Archaea, even though this whole first area is technically just that.
Hold while using the thumbstick or / to dash, which allows you to jump higher. Keep in mind that you should have your pickaxe out when doing this so you don’t waste water running the drill when holding . Run using your new speed boots, all the way to the right over the disappearing ground. At the end, when you reach solid ground, look for a block up and one square to your left that you can dig out. This drops a rock down, creating a ledge you can stand on to mine a Citrine out of a mineral deposit below.
Wall-jump your way up the shaft above, and at the top, jump to the wall to the right (above the 3-colored hp/water/light powerup) and wall-jump up it. This is where things get VERY tricky for those not accustomed to the trick-jump. When you reach the ledge above, you should see an overhang above you that resembles upside-down stairs. Refer back to the tips page for what I refer to as the “trick jump”. You need to use your speed boots to run left on the ledge you’re on, jumping out and back to the right to catch the ledge above, just past the two stair-step overhang. From there, you have to do two “trick jumps” to jump out and back in, catching the walls above you past additional ledges that hang out to the left. If done successfully, you’ll make it up to an above area with treasure that is very crucial to a good speedrun.
You may have to attempt this trick several times. My suggestion is to try it for as long as it takes to pull it off, even if your light runs out. It took me at least 20-30 minutes before I finally pulled it off the first time. It can be VERY frustrating, and is a seriously tough trick jump to pull off, let alone master. You have just enough light around your guy when the lantern dies to see the wall you’re jumping against, which should be enough to do this trick. That will save you the time of dashboarding out of the game every 30 seconds or so. Once you pull the trick off, drop down and try again. Keep doing that until you can SORT OF pull it off reliably, even if it takes you a few minutes to do. It’s better to spend 45 minutes or an hour practicing it now, then to lose lots of progress when trying to do it in a more minor capacity later. Just know that this spot and one other are the only two spots where it’s REALLY necessary, as you can use the dynamite-jump later on if you’re struggling too much.
Once you get the trick down reasonably well, dashboard out of the game and reload your save. You’ll have to repeat the portions above, digging down to this cave and getting the Speed Boots. Once you reach this jump, attempt it as best you can until between 30 and 60 seconds have gone by. If you don’t pull it off within that one-minute, dashboard out and reload your save again. Do this until you pull off the jump within a minute of reaching this ledge, then jump across from the upper ledge (after the two successful “trick jumps”) to the ledge on the left and enter the door. You should now see some water to your right and two armadillo-looking enemies.
You can get an achievement here for killing one while it’s in the water, but I suggest bypassing that in the interest of saving time for the speedrun. Just jump over both of them and get to the right as fast as you can. If you choose to do it, or return to it at a later time, killing one while it is in the water pool will net you Turtle Soup, Yum achievement.
Mine the orb out of the wall to the far right, then mine the floor just before the right side to find Secret Area #1, which contains three Dark Matter mineral deposits worth a whopping $60 each. This is a HUGE amount this early on in the game, which is why the trick jump above is probably the most crucial one to pull off. Exit the room and drop off the ledge to the right, making sure to fall to the left to catch the ledge below. Grab the powerup to replenish, and dig down through to the left (grabbing the orb in the dirt on the way) to return to this cave’s entrance. Exit and climb back up the shaft, all the way back to the ladder, and exit to the town.
Tumbleton and Loot Cave 1
Trade in your ores at Dorothy’s, and purchase two Pickaxe upgrades and the Medium Pouch. This should leave you with around 10-15 bucks left. I can’t recall what the 2nd pickaxe upgrade is, but the one that should be showing after you finish buying the two upgrades is the Steel Pickaxe, which you can’t afford yet. Use the ladder to return to the cave and drop all the way down the shaft you dug, until you’re by Cave I again.
Dig more or less straight down from Cave I, maybe slightly to the left, to reach a non-numbered cave. These are loot caves, and do not contain essential upgrades like the Speed Boots from earlier. However, they do contain better loot than most of the exterior digging. On your way down, try to grab mineral deposits if they aren’t too far out of the way. If you only have to dig one or two squares left or right, go ahead and grab them. Try to plan ahead by looking 4-5 squares below you, so you can dig a path downward that nabs the deposits without undue sidetracking. You’ll be tossing aside any Trashium you get, and Copper. The only thing you’ll definitely keep at this point is the Ironium. You should reach Loot Cave 1 (again, not numbered in the game) around the 55-metre depth.
Speedrun to the right and jump across a couple gaps to reach the far right ledge. Dig a Citrine out of the mineral deposit, and jump to the overhang above you to dig an Orb deposit out of the ceiling. Exit the cave quickly and continue digging down. At around the 80-85 metre depth mark, you should find a Teleporter. Take it back to town. Hopefully at this point, you’ve got your Citrine and at least two stacks of Ironium, with a third started. Remember that the game auto-saves each time you return to town, so if you reach the teleporter and have wasted a lot of time sidetracking in your dig, or you’ve got Trasium/Copper instead of Ironium, dashboard and reload your save to dig down to the teleporter again, looking for a better path.
Do this every time you dig down to the next cave. Taking two or three passes at each dig will help you find the best path without wasting time, because although the external digging area is randomly generated, it is fixed at the start and unchanging within each playthrough of the game. Unload at Dorothy’s but don’t buy anything. Just return through the teleporter. You should find numbered Cave II (Cave 2) just a few metres below the teleporter. Once we return from exploring this cave, it will be time to go shopping again.
Archaea - Cave II
Speedrun to the left to jump up to the ledge above where a sprocket-looking thing is. Speedrun to the right across the disappearing ground, and dig an Orb deposit out of the wall to the right before falling down the pit. Dig the two deposits out of the ground to the left (the area with the armadillo enemy) to get a Bronzite and Silver. Use the upgrade platform to the left to gain the Steam Jump ability. To use this, old and to charge the jump, then release to do a “Steam Jump” to reach high places. Go to the right, past the armadillo, until you reach the puddle of water nearest the smaller enemy, to its left. Charge a steam jump while in the water, and let the water fill your tanks after the jump is charged. Release to jump up to the high ledge above.
On the right end of the ledge, you should see a ledge above with three levers. Use a Steam Jump below the lighter block of dirt on the left end of it to break through and reach the levers. Hit the middle one to open the path forward. Dig the deposits to the right, in the floor, to get Silver x 2 and some Orbs. Dig through to the right and jump up the shaft to the ledge above. Jump into the first puddle on your left and charge a Steam Jump, releasing it to get to a small alcove above with a Bronzite mineral deposit. Jump across to the left, and look for a mineral deposit in the ceiling as you cross to the left. Use a Steam Jump to knock it out, nabbing an Avenyurine gem. Continue to the far left end of this ledge to find a final deposit with Bronzite in it. Drop down through the floors below and exit back to the main cave. Take the teleporter a few metres above you back to town.
Tumbleton and Loot Caves 2 & 3
Unload at Dorothy’s and head to Cranky’s Upgrades. Purchase a single Teleporter for 3 orbs, and the Big Pouch upgrade. You should have five loot slots now. Return to the caves via the teleporter to the left. Drop down by Cave II and continue to dig down to about the 110-115 metre depth, going mostly straight down unless there is easy to nab loot within one square left or right. When you approach the 110-metre mark, look for another loot cave (cave without a numbered sign by it).
You should see three narrow pits to your right, with soft dirt blocking the far side of each gap. Stand on the edge of the left side of each gap and dig out the dirt blocking the way. Make sure to grab the mineral deposit on the far right (Avenyurine), then wall-jump up that far right pit. Jump up to the upper-left corner and dig another Avenyurine out of the roof to the right before dropping back down and exiting the cave. Continue digging mostly straight down, angling 1-2 squares to the left every 4-5 downward squares that you go. Try to plan your path so that you go through as many mineral deposits on your way down as you can, without excessive left/right movement to reach them.
You will probably fill up your loot slots. If you have any Ironium, discard it to make room for the Bronzite deposits that you should be passing through on the way down. When you reach about the 150-metre depth mark, you should see a non-numbered cave, Loot Cave 3, if you’ve been angling a little to the left from Loot Cave 2. Once you reach it, use your teleporter while off to one side to return to town and unload your earnings. You should net around $120 or so if you nabbed those Avenyurines and filled up the other slots with Bronzite. Take the teleporter back down and enter Loot Cave 3.
You should be right between two one-square-wide puddles, letting you know you’re in the right cave. Go up the ladder to the left, and dig down one square then all the way to the right so that you’re passing directly beneath the large boulders. Don’t worry, as long as you keep digging to the right they won’t crush you. Once they’ve all fallen down, jump to the top and use a Steam Jump + Wall Climb to reach the area above. Grab the mineral deposit (Quartz) on the right and the Orb deposit on the left. Exit back to the main cave. Just a few metres below you, hopefully not too far to the left or right, you should see numbered Cave III (cave with a III sign by it). Head inside.
Archaea - Cave III
Climb up the platforms with the small enemies on them to the left to reach an upper ledge with a lever and activate it, opening the first of three barriers. Drop down and head right, under where you entered. You’ll pass over a small enemy, and under one of the larger armadillo ones. When you reach a tall ladder, dig out the two dirt squares to the right so that the large rock drops down. Drop through the floor to the right into a puddle below, and use a steam jump where the up arrow sign to the right is to break the ceiling above, releasing another large rock. Either go left and up the ladder, or steam-jump upward from the puddle to break through the ceiling above, and continue right past that 2nd rock that fell. Activate the lever to open the 3rd of the three barriers (the middle one is still closed).
Go back to the left, making sure to jump up to a small ledge above the breakable floor (with the puddle below where you did the steam jump) to find a mineral deposit in the ceiling with a Quartz in it. Go all the way to the left, staying roughly on the same level vertically, and you should reach a large area of soft soil with two armadillo enemies roaming on it. Make sure to look for the three mineral deposits in the soft soil. The far right one will be Chocolotite, the middle Quartz, and the far left Galena. Hit the lever on the far left to open the final barrier (the middle one) and jump to the ledge above. Dig through the ceiling on the far right and head up to where the three barriers were opened.
Continue up and to the right, and you’ll reach a pyramid-like structure. Dig straight down from the top-center (the soil crumbles on its own) to reach upgrade platform and obtain the Drill at long last. As far as loot, you should have three slots with Quartz, one with Chocolotite, and one with Galena at this point. Before you exit back to the main cave, look almost directly above the exit for a sprocket-looking item. To the left of it is a wall you can drill through, so jump up there and drill into it to find Secret Area #2. Exit and return to the main cave. Use your drill to dig down to about the 168-170 metre depth mark. Try to pass through 3-4 mineral deposits on the way, and discard your Chocolotite to pick up the Dolomite drops. If all goes well, you should grab three Dolomite deposits on your way down to that depth.
At the 168-170metre depth mark, you should see a cave with a skull sign by it. This leads to the Old World area. Entering unlocks the achievement for reaching Old World, Mythical Creatures.
Just as you enter, you should see a pipe to your right, which is a shortcut back to town. Take it and unload at Dorothy’s. If you have the 3 Quartz, 3 Dolomite deposits (they stack in one slot up to four), and 1 Galena, you’ll net $203. Hit Cranky’s and buy another Teleporter, as well as the Plate Armor and Deep Tank upgrades. At this point we’re going to do part of the Sequence Breaker achievement, but it requires the “trick jump”. If you still haven’t managed to do it reasonably reliably, return to this step once you have the Dynamite later on, since the path to the location is rather brief (it’s the very first numbered cave, Cave I).
If attempting it now, go ahead and go down the ladder in town to reach the first portion of the main cave. Head down the shaft you dug to reach Cave I and enter.
Archaea Cave I – Sequence Breaker Visit
Jump up the ledge to your left past the first patch of loose/falling dirt but before the 2nd. From here, sprint-jump back the way you came to reach the wall higher above and wall-jump up it to reach the ledge above. At the top there will be an overhang above you and a single square block to the left. Jump out onto it, and up onto the ledge above. You should see some loose dirt to the right with a mineral deposit in the center, so dig that out for a Citrine. From the ledge, look above you to see some of the upside-down stairs formations. There should be a two-step one just up to your right, and another two-step one higher up, off screen.
You should remember this from doing the first set of trick-jumps here near the beginning of the game to get the expensive loot inside early-on for a head start on upgrades. Use your sprint-jump to reach the wall above the first two-step formation, then do two “trick jumps” up the next two-step formation up higher to reach the ledge up above. Or as I mentioned above, you can do a dynamite-launch jump to reach the higher ledge, if you return here after getting that upgrade. Enter the door above and you’ll be back in the room with the single puddle and the two armadillos. You should see some rock-lined dirt with a mineral deposit just to the right of the puddle that you couldn’t get before. Get it now with your drill for a Diamond.
Stand on the left-most of the three boxes to the right and steam jump up to the wall high above, then wall jump up it and steam jump again, quickly, to reach another wall higher above. Do this fast, before the lasers begin firing. Midway up this wall, jump over to the left, where two small enemies and an electric beam gun are. Dig the ceiling left of the gun for Secret Area #3 with an Orb deposit in it. Stand on the ground two squares to the right of the gun and steam jump to break a dirt block above, releasing a spike magnet, which will fly to the right. Jump onto it when it stops and dig through the wall to the right.
Dig the dirt above a spike magnet here to release them both, then stand on the lower one to destroy the generator. This is the first of two you need to destroy before entering Vectron (the final area) for the Sequence Breaker achievement. Drop back down, exit this area, and exit Cave I back out into the main cave. Climb back up to town and unload at Dorothy’s for over $500 thanks to that lovely Diamond. Biff should also show up in Tumbleton now. Purchase the Bigger Pouch upgrade at Cranky’s, and the Drillmanter upgrade at Biff’s.
If you can afford the Drill-o-tron, buy it too, but odds are you’ll be $50 short for it, give or take. Exit via the pipe to the right to return to Old World and dig the first few mineral deposits you see to get enough to upgrade to the Drill-o-tron. Do that, then return to Old World once more. Make sure you have a teleporter on you when you begin this step. If you’re on track, you should have six inventory slots now as well.
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