Nitro Kid is an 80’s-infused roguelike indie strategy card battler where you’re tasked with infiltrating the CINDER corporation, rescuing the titular Nitro Kid(s) and kicking the ass of anyone who gets in your way in a suitably over-the-top action movie fashion.
Playing like the retro synthwave baby of Slay the Spire and Fights in Tight Spaces, the game is not only pretty easy to pick up, but it comes with a pretty decent tutorial that shows you the ropes and tool tips whenever a new mechanic is introduced, a rarity in the roguelike genre. However, the game doesn’t really cover every little thing, which can lead to some confusion or misinformed decisions in the game.
6/6 You Can Move Diagonally, But Enemies Can’t
One of the most powerful advantages you have over your opponents in Nitro Kid is the sheer mobility you have over most of the enemies in the game. Most enemies can only move once per turn and only a few spaces at a time. But more importantly, they only move orthogonally, with diagonal moves counting as two for them.
However, not only can you move as often as you have cards and energy for it, but most of your cards will also allow you to move diagonally. This is especially important for enemies with the Chaser trait, who move every time you do, because if you’re adjacent to them, there’s really no way to get away by moving orthogonally. However, if you move away from them and diagonally, since they only move one space at a time, you can often get out of their reach.
5/6 Movement Effects Activate On Drop-In
The tutorial tells you that if you drop into a map adjacent to melee enemies or in a straight line from ranged enemies, that they’ll turn to face you, but what’s less obvious is that dropping in activates all movement effects.
This is important because it allows enemies with reactions to act before you do. This includes Chaser reactions that will move towards you when you drop, the aforementioned turning reaction that all enemies have, and the attack reaction that certain enemies have. So don’t spawn in on those exclamation points if you want to avoid giving free hits.
4/6 You Don’t Have To Clear Every Row On The Building Map
The building map, where you choose your encounters, looks more straightforward than it actually is. There’s only one hard and fast rule, and that’s that you’re not allowed to start a specific encounter in a row until you complete the encounter to its immediate left. Aside from choosing the leftmost encounter of every row, you can choose to tackle whichever ones you want, in any order.
You don’t need to commit to a row once you start it, so feel free to tackle the encounters in whatever way is the most optimal, like doing some combat encounters before starting the shop encounter. In fact, if the map is set up just right, you don’t even have to do every encounter in a section. The only requirements to access the boss fight and the next section is to unlock the VIP elevator by clearing the top or bottom row and collecting all the kids in the section.
3/6 There’s Plenty Of Room For Mag Buffs
Hacker and gunslinger extraordinaire K31 has all sorts of mechanics unique to her, like Mag Buffs, potentially long-lasting boosts that affect her shots in a bunch of beneficial ways, only being removed after you reload or at the end of battle.
There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many of these Mag Buffs you can have in play, especially since stacking the same Mag Buff will just add a numerical modifier to the existing icon. Mag Buffs are shown on a little ammo magazine in the bottom left of the screen, with K31’s other vital information, and though it looks like it only has room for two at a time, it actually expands as you add new ones.
2/6 Bugs Aren’t Always Bad
Bugs in Nitro Kid seemingly function as junk cards similar to other games in the genre, made to needlessly stuff your deck with chaff at best, or out right being harmful at worst. However, if you play with them enough, you might realize that Bug cards can function as double-edged swords, and you can even build around them if you’re smart (and lucky), especially if you find patches that reward you for playing Bugs, like Kiwi and Anteater.
The most obvious example of this is the Fly card, which you can actually get as a part of the Beelzebub patch. The card allows you to draw two cards for no Energy cost, but it spawns two more Fly cards in your discards. Free draws are powerful, but overuse of the Fly can clog your deck in a swarm of too much of a good thing. Other bugs have similar give-and-take effects.
1/6 Do Not Remove ‘Stay Frosty’ From Your Deck
Another of K31’s unique mechanics is switching between Handgun Stance and Rifle Stance. The former is her default stance with no bonuses, and the latter gives her a double damage bonus at the cost of not being able to play most cards that don’t have an ammo cost. She starts with at least one card that allows her to switch back to Handgun Stance, Stay Frosty, and her first optional starter card, Backstop.
Unless you’ve picked up additional ways to switch to Handgun stance, you should never remove these cards from your deck, since being stuck in Rifle stance is limiting, locking you out of some staple cards until you switch back to Handgun Stance. Even if you pick up other cards that allow you to return to Handgun Stance, consider keeping Stay Frosty anyway, since it has the Hold trait, which will keep it in your hand after you end your turn if you don’t use it, allowing you to have the flexibility to switch stances whenever.
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