Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Her Name Was Fire Beginner Tips

Another entry into the action roguelike bullet hell genre pioneered by Vampire Survivors, Her Name Was Fire is a twin-stick shooter with a self-described “Tarotpunk” style, full of imagery of the fortune-telling cards and of course, upgrades and enemies to dispatch with those upgrades.


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Of course, like most roguelikes, what you see in the description is most of the help you’re going to get in the game, so it’s up to you to find out how the rest of it works. Fortunately, it’s a simple genre to pick up, so you can get going with minimal help. Still, the game doesn’t tell you some critical things that you should know, and those things either take too long to find out or can screw you over in a critical moment. .

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6/6 Play On A Controller

The titular character fires off a bunch of attacks, the aiming of which works better with a twin stick control scheme

It’s right there in the description: the game is a twin-stick shooter, meaning that you’ll want to use a controller to take full advantage of the twin sticks to maneuver and shoot at the same time. If you don’t have one, a mouse and keyboard will do in a pinch, but it’s much more unwieldy to play this way, especially if you’re prone to wrist strain since using WASD to make all those precise movements to dodge enemies can wear on you after a while.

In terms of controls, the thumbsticks do all the heavy lifting, with the left stick handling movement and the right stick handling both aiming and casting spells, since you fire them off by tilting the right stick. LB/L1/L handles dashing and A/X/B is how you confirm selections in game.

5/6 Dashing Gives Generous I-Frames

The little red crescent is the main character in the middle of a dash animation, remaining invincible throughout

Dashing is a means of quick, short-distance movement to get out of the line of fire or away from a mob of enemies, after which it enters a short cooldown before it can be used again. However, if you’ve mastered the distance you get from the dash action or just feel lucky, it actually gives enough I-Frames that you can dodge through swarms of enemies, going through instead of around.

This also has offensive capabilities, if you choose cards that bolster it, including being able to zap enemies or leave pools of fire for them, all which happen more often if you dodge more often, something the Black Cat card will help you with.

4/6 Sorcery and Specialization

The upgrade screen for Her Name Was Fire.  Featured her is The Pact

Various card upgrades refer to Sorcery and Specialization, in regards to powering them up, with one notable instance that weakens the former to improve the latter, but the game never really explains these terms to you.

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Sorcery refers to the spell you pick before a run starts and your main weapon during the run, be it the Fire Orb, Gatling Twig, or Thunder Blade. Specializations, on the other hand, are three cards you can choose between during a run: Berserker, Dragon, and Hunter. These are distinguished as white cards and choosing one will prevent the others from appearing during the run.

3/6 Phantom And Phoenix Don’t Mix

The Phoenix and Phantom upgrades together in action.  Not a good idea

The Fire Orb has two upgrades that help it go from a single-target big-hitter to an attack that can hit multiple enemies at once: the Phantom and the Phoenix. The Phantom allows it to hit multiple enemies with reduced damage after each subsequent enemy hit, while the Phoenix makes the Fire Orb do less damage and explodes into penetrating feathers on hit.

Under no circumstances should you have both of these upgrades at once, since they actually work strongly against each other. Phoenix only works if the Fire Orb explodes, which it doesn’t while you have Phantom equipped until it goes through enough enemies to burst, the amount of which increases as you get more points in Phantom. Meanwhile, the more points you put into Phoenix, the weaker the Fire Orb’s main attack gets, which means it does even less damage when it goes through multiple enemies, per Phantom’s effect.

2/6 Berserker Isn’t Great

The Berserker card in its active mode.

At some point in the match, you will get a choice to pick one of three specialization cards. You would think that they would be similar in power, and while Dragon and Hunter are on par, the Berserker is by far the weakest choice.

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Ostensibly, Berserker deals multiplying damage to enemies caught in its wheel of knives as well as rendering you invincible for the duration of its activation. While the latter is true, the damage is piddling at best and doesn’t hit often enough to justify its single-digit numbers. If you want to have a good run, pick one of the other two specializations instead.

1/6 The No Dash Build

The Witch card in the card viewer

Though dashing is useful, and you can build around it to great effect, there is a strong build based on not dashing that is also quite powerful, if a little skill-intense. It’s based on the Witch card, which empowers each full cast of your Sorcery without a cap, giving theoretically infinite scaling — provided you don’t get hit or dash, which causes it to reset.

To raise the stakes, the card lowers your base casting damage when you take it, and subsequent upgrades raise the bonus per full cast and lower your base Sorcery damage. Combined with the Hare and the Crawler cards, which raise your movement speed and lower the slowdown on your movement while casting respectively, you have a playstyle that embraces big damage and big risk. If you’ve got the skill to weave through enemies without dashing, this build will allow you to melt through them as well. This works well with the Fire Orb and Gatling Twig, less so with the Thunder Sword.

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