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Pilgrim's Progress Through This Fleeting World
Part 2 #Depth

The following are strategies and tips for touching keys in what I call the “reach phase” of playing Starseed Pilgrim.



Reach Phase



Purple seeds: These seeds are useful because of their medium vertical and horizontal growth. Their slow corruption speed also makes it easy to make a getaway if you need to get more keys.


Red seeds: The red block explosion can touch a star block in any direction four blocks away from the detonator block. Red blocks are quickly consumed by the void though. If you do not have a lot of seeds left and/or do not have seeds in the queue that'll allow you to quickly move away, then you're better off not using the red seeds to touch a star block. Be careful not to override star blocks in the red seed explosion. Conversely, it’s possible to completely override any inconvenient obstacle in your way (key or otherwise) with red seeds.


Orange seeds: The best seed type for moving horizontally and touching keys directly above or to the side of you. For keys positioned horizontally to you, instead of aiming directly for the key, it’s much better to aim one or two spaces below the target. This will give you more control over when and how you’ll touch the star block. Keep in mind that orange blocks are the second quickest blocks to corrupt, so it’s not safe touching a star block without the right seeds to make a getaway. It's also safer reaching for keys above you since you can continue moving to the side.


Tan seeds: Because tan seeds are the most effective for downward movement and one of the best seed types for stalling the void, they are the best choice for touching star blocks below you. DIGGING a hole and letting the tan blocks grow down through it to touch a star block is ideal. Tan seeds also grow around star blocks as they do around other blocks. In this way, tan seeds can be used to make a cascading walkway over a clump of star blocks.


Green seeds: As a wildcard, the random growth of green seeds gives them great potential. The closer the star block is to the initial green seed, the more likely the growth will touch the key. Green blocks corrupt quickly, so you need to consider how touching the star block or any unwanted random growth direction might decrease the time it takes the void to reach you.


Pink seeds: In general, pink seeds are valuable and shouldn’t be used to reach star blocks. Considering pink blocks corrupt the fastest and grow the slowest, effectively using them to reach star blocks is very situational. Though pink seeds are valuable, when they randomly appear in the seed queue (about 14.3% of the time), you may not be able to stall the void long enough to harvest more than a couple of starseeds from the pink tower. For star blocks that are one to four blocks above you, using a pink block to reach it when you are short on time from the incoming void is a good strategy (especially when moving horizontally). You can also harvest some of the blocks from the base of the pink block tower before it corrupts.


Light blue seeds: These seeds are not great for reaching star blocks because they only have a reach of one block in all four directions from the block they are PLANTED in. Because light blue blocks never fully corrupt, and seeds can be PLANTED into them as long as there’s clean (uncorrupted) air around it, it’s possible to reach a star block using light blue blocks, let the void catch up to you completely, and still have an escape route by JUMPING back on top of the ice.


Dark blue seeds: These seeds are the most useless for reaching star blocks because they only grow one block upward. If you aim your horizontal orange bridges well, you can use a dark blue seed to close a one-block gap to reach a star block.







The following is a list of how each pilgrim's unique abilities and limitations change the strategies detailed above.


The pink pilgrim is able to harvest all adjacent pink blocks at once. Pink block towers or groups of adjacent towers can be instantly harvested with one DIG. This ability eliminates the need to stand on top of pink block towers or the need to spend time DIGGING them out. With this spatial and time freedom, you can spend more time building a path outwards. The pink pilgrim’s ability also makes vertical movement more viable. With the other pilgrims, the downside of using pink block towers to explore upwards is that players have to make sacrifices to stay elevated by either not harvesting the pink seeds or spending more seeds to climb back up after harvesting. With the pink pilgrim, players can stand on top of a pink block tower as it grows and then use an orange or green seed to start a horizontal platform. From here, the entire pink tower can be harvested while remaining on top.


The downside to the pink pilgrim’s instant harvest ability is that harvesting is all or nothing. If you let a pink block tower grow so high that you cannot maneuver up over it, you essentially wall yourself off to one side. In this scenario, you can't just DIG out the bottom block in the pink block tower like with the other pilgrims. You may be forced to harvest the wall earlier to regain the ability to continue progressing.


The pink pilgrim only has one seed in its seed queue. Without the ability to plan multiple seeds ahead, seed sandwiches (near back-to-back seeds of the same type, e.g. tan-dark blue-tan) are harder to work around. This design makes moving downward via tan seeds become much more risky.


The black pilgrim can walk on the void like any normal colored block. In order to enter the flip world, the black pilgrim must crush himself. This is easiest to achieve with red seeds by standing inside the explosion zone when the bomb goes off. Otherwise, you must surround yourself on all four sides and have a block grow inside the area you stand. Crushing is relatively easy to achieve with tan blocks. PLANT a tan block outside a hole, and by JUMPING into the hole before the sand grows near, the blocks should grow down into the hole and crush you. All you need is a hole two-blocks deep. Green, purple, and light blue blocks are the next best useful blocks to use for crushing oneself.


Aside from crushing strategies, the black pilgrim is more free to move than other pilgrims because it can walk on fully corrupted blocks. While this seems great, it really isn’t very useful. If every block gets corrupted, you’ll have no space to PLANT seeds to attempt to crush yourself. This is essentially a game over. So it’s not good to let the void outpace you. The one place where void walking is useful is when you leave an emergency escape using light blue blocks. Because light blue blocks never fully corrupt, you can leave them in your wake and return to them to PLANT seeds if all else gets corrupted.


The black pilgrim also has incredibly large star blocks. Instead of singular blocks floating out in space in the fleeting world, the black pilgrim keys are surrounded by large black areas and are often connected to nearby keys. Therefore, it generally takes fewer seeds and strategy to touch and eventually access multiple keys. However, this also means that it’s easier to accidentally grow seeds into the void, speeding up overall corruption.


The green pilgrim causes green seeds to grow more than twice their maximum block count (from 6-18 to 6-46). Green seeds can also sprout into as many as six growing heads. Due to the higher growth potential, green seeds become more useful for touching star blocks and conversely more likely to accidentally touch the void early. Because green seeds tend to sprout multiple growing heads, there is a greater likelihood that the green blocks will grow in rounder chunks of terrain (like red seeds) as opposed to thin platforms. Therefore, green seeds become more reliable for moving in all directions.


The green pilgrim also has an extended seed queue of five seeds. With more knowledge comes better strategies and planning. With the green pilgrim, players can see upcoming pink seeds and know when to cut their losses and move on. If there are no pink seeds in the next five seeds, the player knows a pink seed is guaranteed by the seventh.


The light blue pilgrim causes light blue seeds to freeze all adjacent blocks of like color in addition to growing a small plus shape. If you PLANT a light blue seed in a group of exploded red blocks, all the touching red blocks will turn into light blue blocks. Freezing orange, red, or green blocks is generally good because light blue blocks corrupt more slowly than these blocks. Of course, freezing purple blocks decreases the time it takes the void to reach you. And although freezing tan blocks also decreases the void consumption time, there’s a trade-off between great void-stalling power with tan blocks and greater JUMP mobility with light blue blocks.


The dark blue pilgrim simply JUMPS four blocks high, as opposed to three. Tan blocks still restrict JUMP height to half a block high. This one upgraded ability doesn’t greatly change any of the strategies one can apply. Minor strategic changes include waiting longer before JUMPING on top of growing pink block towers.


The tan pilgrim JUMPS two blocks high instead of the typical three. Fortunately, this pilgrim is unhindered by tan blocks. In other words, the tan pilgrim always JUMPS two blocks high off of any block type. Tan's ability doesn’t allow for significantly different strategies overall. With a smaller JUMP, players may have to JUMP on top of growing seeds a bit earlier than normal. Being unencumbered by tan blocks is great, but getting trapped by tan blocks is something skilled players learn to avoid early on. With the tan pilgrim the red seed explosions are harder to escape from; instead of being able to JUMP off the top of the detonator seeds right before they explode, you must escape the blast horizontally. The tan pilgrim’s gimped JUMP not only limits platforming, but in a more subtle way, it limits the amount of DIGGING players can do to fine tune their strategies. Dark blue blocks become more valuable as they still allow the player to JUMP five blocks high.


The red pilgrim has an unusual plus-shaped DIGGING pattern. Ultimately, this ability doesn’t affect most of the core movement strategies. Overall, DIGGING as the red pilgrim is more dangerous as DIGGING creates bigger holes and destroys more blocks. Plan ahead and be careful not to fall into the holes you make and not to destroy too many blocks that are good for stalling the void. Ultimately, the red pilgrim has fewer strategies than the default pilgrim because players cannot fine tune as much with DIG.


With the orange pilgrim, the seeds and void grow more quickly. The DIG, MOVE, and JUMP speed remain the same as the default pilgrim. This simple change makes adapting to seeds as they grow more difficult. Green seeds in particular are more dangerous because the speed of the random growth gives players less time to react to JUMP on top or avoid getting crushed. The orange seeds also grow nearly instantly to their full length (6-10 blocks). This near-instant growth speed eliminates the ability to use orange seeds to travel upwards by standing on top as they grow. The vertical growth is so fast that orange block towers simply push you to the side. Though uncommon, using orange seeds to touch star blocks is not a viable option with the orange pilgrim. Like the red seeds, orange seeds with the orange pilgrim have the ability to override star blocks. Overall, the orange pilgrim limits a few vertical-movement and key-reaching strategies.


The purple pilgrim cannot DIG into any blocks except pink blocks. By removing a core mechanic of the gameplay, naturally many strategies become impossible. Without the ability to fine tune the shape of platforms, players have even less options on where to PLANT seeds. Green seeds are more difficult to use for movement because the embedded hearts prevent other seeds from being PLANTED in the same block. Without the ability to DIG, many formations of blocks on the edge of platforms prevent orange seeds from being used for horizontal movement. Players cannot DIG through red, purple, or other combinations of blocks to move downward. Tan seed growth cannot be stopped by DIGGING into the growing tan blocks. Out of all the pilgrims, the viable strategies with the purple pilgrim are the least varied.



by: Steve Johnathan


March 3, 2014

#Variation #Design Space
Read the next article in this series:
Pilgrim's Progress Part 3
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