Tips from a beginner, for a beginner!
General Gameplay Tips
Movement and Menu navigation
You can use WASD to move your character around or clicking the mouse. I've found the mouse to be a little imprecise, especially with clicking on your character to Wait a turn. I suggest using WASD for movement, space for waiting a turn and the mouse for everything else.
Left click on any item in your inventory to open a context menu for that item. Right click to de-select the item and return to normal play.
All items have context menus detailing what you can use them for, even if you don't have all of the required components to make it. If you don't have the required components, the game will tell you what you're missing. It's worth reading all the options for each item you get to see what you're working with as it's not always obvious. For example - Metal Pipes can be used as a melee weapon, but can also be crafted into a pipe bomb or a pipe pistol.
Health, Stamina and Sanity
Your health bar by default is white. When you're hit by an enemy, they cause some immediate damage which takes health away from the bar AND they usually cause you to bleed, turning a portion of the bar red. If left untreated, the red portion of the bar will deplete over time until it reaches the white part, at which point it stabilizes. You can reduce the amount you will bleed by using rags or bandages.
Your stamina is a little simpler. The white bar shows available stamina which ticks down as you perform actions that consume it. A portion of the bar turns an olive green indicating how much stamina you just used. Unless you're under a negative status effect, the stamina will regenerate on it's own.
Your sanity is harder to regenerate, but also is generally harder to deplete too. An action that reduces your sanity by a chunk will show it as purple, similar to how stamina shows olive for a sudden depletion. Damage to your sanity over time DOES NOT have this effect, so you need to watch the bar when you're encountering a lot of enemies. Sanity is critical to being able to "progress" in this game, as unlocking other classes and scenarios requires you to not die with zero sanity.
There are plenty of them, and most of them bad from what I've seen. Tooltips can be found by hovering your mouse over each Status effect. Usually they give specific information on what the status does, sometimes they give something more like flavor text.
You progress in this game by accumulating Experience, which can be gained by surviving a full in-game day. You CAN lose all of your experience by dying while you're completely out of Sanity, so BEWARE.
If you think you're going to lose all of your Sanity and don't have a means to regain it, consider committing suicide. Not all methods of suicide are instantaneous: stabbing yourself causes ALL of your health to go into Bleeding which ticks down slowly over time, potentially giving you enough time to lose all of your Sanity. Suicide with a gun is instant, though I haven't personally tried it while wearing any head protection so beware.
Experience can be used to unlock new starting classes and scenarios.
You're going to die a lot in this game. Let's just get that out of the way right at the start. Even if you have a fair idea of the basics, you're still going to make mistakes. That's fine though, that's how you learn in these games - trial and error.
That being said, you need to take care of some basic needs to survive in this game (aside from being killed by enemies), which are hunger, thirst and sanity.
This seems to be the most difficult (in my limited experience) to manage. Most of the food you find in the world is rotten and cause you trauma (sanity damage) from eating. The only things I've found so far which don't seem to give negative side effects are:
- Food Rations (untested, does not list side effects)
- Dog Meat (untested, though needs to be cooked)
You can ingest spoiled foods such as rotten potatoes but you'll be traumatized, which damages your sanity. Drinking alcohol can help with this.
You can find plenty of swamp water (brown wavy lines) in woodland which can be collected in glass bottles and boiled for safe consumption. You can drink the swamp water straight but that resulted in Dysentery the one time I tried it, which (if I remember rightly) slowly drains your health and makes it so you can't keep things down.
You can find glass bottles in houses as junk on the floor, in furniture or you can drink alcohol you find to give you the empty glass bottle.
Sanity management seems the easiest of the three core needs. You regain it by reading books you find, drinking alcohol or starving (weirdly enough). The main ways your sanity is drained is from having a monster in your field of view (commonly zombies or vampires), or from spending time outside when it's night time.
I don't have the exact time down yet of when the game enters Night Time, but when it does happen you'll notice your field of view shrinking until it's little more than a circle roughly 3 tiles in any direction from you. At that point you'll gain the status effect Dread which drains your Sanity.
You can combat the Dread status effect of being outside at night by making a bonfire or having a lit torch. Alternatively you can be in a building during night time and wait it out.
I can't confirm it, but I seem to see more Vampires at night time too.
Enemies and NPCs
There are a number of entities in the game. Some are hostile when you meet them, others are not. There isn't really a way to tell until you get close to them. Enemies that see you will have a small exclamation point appear near them indicating they're alert to your presence, which turns to a question mark if they've lost sight of you and are searching. Entities that are not hostile don't get that indicator, which is about the only way to tell.
It's worth noting that hostile entities will follow the sound of your footsteps when they haven't seen you yet, so even if they haven't got the tell-tale ! near them, they will generally move towards you. The boundary of being "alert" to your presence is usually around 3 tiles, where they'll pursue and try to attack.
- Z -
Zombies are by far the most common enemy in the game. They're not particularly fast (though they seem to move faster once they've seen you) and they're loud enough that you can see their footsteps through walls if you're close enough. They're not too fast that you can't give them the slip if you find yourself alone with one at a dead-end corridor 4-5 tiles wide. Their sight isn't the best so don't worry too much about moving around with one on the screen. They will generally meander towards you, following your footsteps.
A single shot from your .44 revolver is enough to kill them instantly. A melee battle should still be avoided if possible.
If you find yourself in an area with multiple zombies, you can Equip a zombie corpse to Disguise yourself as one of them. The Disguise works as long as you don't move to an adjacent tile of a zombie, you'll be attacked if you do. Having the zombie corpse equipped drains your Stamina fairly quickly, so be careful about wearing it and performing actions that drain Stamina such as forcing doors open or breaking furniture. Take regular breaks by unequipping, waiting for a few turns until your Stamina regenerates.
- V -
Vampires are also fairly common. They have a particular pattern of movement, which is moving 1 tile per turn for 3 turns, then pausing for 1 turn. They also make footsteps which you can track while they're fairly close by even if you can't see them.
They have enough health to take at least one shot from your starting .44 revolver. Trying to kill one with metal pipes or wooden boards has always ended in my death.
- D -
Dogs have only ever spawned in small packs for me, usually in the neighborhood of a Cat. They don't seem to be initially hostile on their own, but when they group together they have no problem chasing you down. They move 1 tile every time you move, but they move in winding, random patterns when idle so they tend not to actually move that far. Once they're set on attacking you, they do move more directly.
One shot from your pistol is enough to kill them, and a couple of melee hits sends them running away. You can Butcher their corpses for dog meat, which you need to cook to safely eat.
- H -
Horrors are a creature you should stay as far away from as possible. I've only ever seen one once, but it was enough. It was inside a building like any other, only the walls and floors were bloody (some of the tiles were red). Unfortunately that isn't a clear indication of it having a Horror inside as Cannibals also have blood stained abodes.
Upon having the Horror enter your field of vision, ALL tiles on the screen turn red and you're affected by the Horrified status effect, which rapidly depletes your Sanity. The status effect stops once you break line of sight with the Horror.
Thankfully the Horror I found didn't see me and I was able to high-tail it out of the neighbourhood.
- C -
Cannibals, as mentioned above, also live in houses that have floors and walls haphazardly sprayed with blood. The only cannibal I've seen has had a 9mm pistol which it immediately used to kill me, dealing roughly 75 damage a shot.
- C E N T I P E D E -
I've only found a centipede once. I didn't make a mistake by spelling the name out in bold, that's how long they are: 9 tiles long. It seemed to move at the same speed I did. I found it on the outskirts of a gathering of houses near the edge of some woodland, it was crawling around on the road.
I wouldn't recommend fighting one. It happily took the one round from the starting gun the Detective has, a 9mm round from a Pipe Pistol I'd crafted and 3 hits from a combat knife.
- c -
Cats usually spawn in the same area as Dogs, normally inside a building. They'll tend to try and stay in the opposite side of a room to you, keeping out of tiles adjacent to you at all costs. They speak too, urging you to "Kill the Dogs" and "Feed Me". If you drop dog meat on the floor, the Cat will rush forwards and devour it. If you're standing on the tile with the dog meat on it, the Cat will attack for fairly minimal damage until you move out of the way.
Killing a Cat will leave behind Elder Meat, which gives you a bonus to Endurance (5 if I remember rightly) at the cost of being Traumatized (Sanity damage).
Stationary (Positive Effect)
"Your aim is steady and your stamina is regenerating faster."
Every time you wait a turn without moving you gain this status effect. I highly recommend waiting for a turn before making a shot with any gun to have notably improved accuracy, and to wait a few turns between wearing a disguise so you don't get completely worn out. If you have the Dehydrated status effect, being stationary won't recover your stamina.
Hidden (Positive Effect)
"You are obscured from vision"
You gain this status effect from walking into bushes (the shorter asterisk tiles). I don't know how useful this is, as generally whenever I want to hide from a creature, it's already following my footsteps. I guess it's main advantage isn't for getting into and waiting, but to pass through a patch of it and keep walking to break visual contact. At the very least it'll help stop your sanity draining from status effects like Unsettled or Horrified.
Hydrated (Positive Effect)
"While properly hydrated your stamina regenerates faster"
You get this effect from drinking water of any kind, whether it's boiled water, dirty water or swamp water. Beware that if you drink dirty or swamp water, you'll get the Dysentery status effect.
Satiated (Positive Effect)
"Your body is satisfied and your wounds are slowly healing."
The only way I've found to restore health so far, gained by eating food. You get this whether you eat spoiled food or not but beware that if you do eat spoiled food, you'll get the Traumatized status effect. This status effect lasts roughly 5 hours.
Moving (Negative Effect)
"While moving it's harder to aim and you regenerate less stamina"
Not much to say here, you get it any time you move. If you want to regen stamina, stop moving for a few turns (as long as you're not Dehydrated).
Wet (Negative Effect)
"You are wet and will require more food to maintain proper body temperature. Stay near fire to dry yourself"
You get wet by moving through swamp water tiles. Building a fire and standing near it removes this status effect.
Unsettled (Negative Effect)
"There are things out there that defy logic by their mear existence. Your sanity fades slowly"
Every time you have monsters such as Zombies, Vampires or Centipedes in your field of view (including near the edge of the screen during day time) you gain this status effect. Simply break visual contact to return to normal.
Thirsty (Negative Effect)
"You need to get something to drink soon."
This status effect is a precursor to the Dehydrated status effect. There are no debuffs or damage taken from having this active, it's just telling you that you need to secure water soon. Your character also gives you a prompt in the middle of the screen with a speech bubble reading something like "I should drink something soon". This status effect lasts about 4 hours before progressing to Dehydration.
Dehydrated (Negative Effect)
"There is barely any saliva in your mouth. You are slowly losing sanity."
This is a ♥. You stop regenerating Stamina which is essential for combat, forcing open doors or destroying furniture. You also start losing Sanity at about 1 tick every 20-30 minutes. You need to drink some water to alleviate this status effect.
If you have access to a glass bottle (either empty already, or Alcohol which you can drink to get the empty bottle), collect some swamp water which is the brown wavy tile, boil it over a campfire then drink.
If you don't have access to a glass bottle, can't build a campfire or are desperate enough, you can drink swamp water straight (or drink the dirty water you collect from it) risking.
Dysentery (Negative Effect)
"You won't be able to eat anything for some time and you have trouble keeping what you already ate. Drinking a strong alcohol might help"
I've only had this status effect once and thankfuly had alcohol on hand to drink straight after, removing the status effect.
Traumatized (Negative Effect)
"You survived and now have to live with what you experienced"
I've only got this from eating rotten food so far. It's mainly to indicate you have a portion of your Sanity taken by whatever action you just took. The sanity remains missing once the status effect is over, so you need to restore it.