Tactical roguelite Crying Suns throws you straight into the role of a recently awoken Imperial clone, not just that but you’re the most famous Admiral to have sailed the stars in the Empire’s long history. You’re also the last hope of finding out why the Empire has suddenly collapsed.
If that’s a lot to take in then there’s a lot more to follow. Alt Shift’s science fiction experience takes place in a well developed world complete with warring factions, crumbling ruins and the shell of a suddenly-shattered galactic Empire. Crying Suns isn’t just an FTL-esque journey through the stars however. It comes complete with an exceptionally well realised tactical combat system which involves squadrons, battleship mounted weapons and a tonne of obstacles in the way of your quest to find out how the Empire fell. You’ll need to make the right decisions while on the bridge of your ship, and be an adept battle commander in order to make it through all five chapters of the story.
Whether you’re just getting started, or are struggling to make your way through the systems, we’ve got some great tips here for getting you through to the next Folder.
1. Use your extra move well
Easily the most important piece of advice when it comes to Crying Suns is that due to the delay that the enemy alerts have while you’re navigating each sector, you always have an extra move than them.
When you first look at the map there are a lot of things to consider; there may be optional missions ahead, there may be more events down certain paths and there might be better outposts down a route. But, while the map has a finite start and finish, don’t let it trick you into thinking you need to pick one lane and barrel down it.
That extra move is a potential side-step into another lane, but even if it isn’t used as that you can use it to land at another star, which might mean an extra couple of anomalys, another checkpoint and a few more events. These are the only way to grab new squadrons and so should always be a priority.
2. Slow it down, there’s power in numbers
When it comes to the tactical combat in Crying Suns there’s a handful of different playstyles. Alongside the traditional Rock-Paper-Scissors, Sword-Axe-Spear, Fire-Water-Grass, we have Drone-Fighter-Freighter — but there are quite a few outliers there. For a start you have access to cruiser ships, which are like artillery. If you pair one of these with the sub-zero gun then you can freeze enemies for long enough for them to receive a few extra hits. You can also mask these cruisers in asteroid fields — as asteroid fields take damage before the units concealed within.
But, most importantly. Remember that you can slow the game to a stop by pausing. It’s the best way to retain control of the battlefield. This is also the best time to reassign targets for your squadrons, and also to order retreats for some of your units by right-clicking their items on the UI.
The second part of this tip is Power in Numbers. While it might seem painful to have squadrons being patched back up, or sitting damaged in your hold, if you carry the maximum amount of squadrons that your ship can hold, and even if you are fielding three squads at once, you won’t run out of units on the battlefield. Consider sending out droves of units as distractions to pull enemies away from your hull – there’s also power in numbers in regard to the fact that two damaged drones can still take out a half-power fighter even though it’s against the odds.
It might not be efficient, but it gets the job done. Also, consider the Boomer Drones, they cause collateral damage when they pop, and that’s sometimes more than enough to turn the battle around.
3. Accept surrender
When you enter into battle against your opponent it is well worth taking a moment to look at the amount of squadrons that they can field. For some smaller opponents this may well be a single digit, while I’ve seen up to 97 in one of my space battles. Many enemies seem to offer surrender if you either smash them with a lot of damage very quickly or if you decimate their squadron amounts. Check out how many they have and base your strategy on that.
Most importantly though, when the enemy offers surrender its almost always in your best interest to accept it. You’ll receive fuel, scrap or more for doing this, while if you destroy their ship then you’ll get nothing – well, not unless you use Scrapper Drones which will strip scrap off of the enemy hull while attacking it.
4. Fill up on officers when you can, and how to unlock more officers
In Crying Suns your officers are much more than the combat buffs that they might originally seem. There are three types of officers, Spy, Soldier and Scientist, but within these categories there are nine skills. These skills help resolve events which happen outside of combat — ranging from the deadly planet-side excursions through to the conversational events which take place among the stars.
If you’re looking for a top tip for you, I’d advise starting with a Spy with the speechmark-icon skill. This means they have an ability to trick your idiot enemies into giving away more information — and it certainly saved me from a few very costly mistakes.
Finally. Each of the core officers have two of the nine skills available, however there’s a bunch of specialist officers who can be unlocked, and each of these have three skills.
How do you unlock these specialist officers? When you come across a planet with a Cryo Chamber on it, that’s your best chance.
As for other ways to stock up on officers: the best way to do so is through recruiting some at the trading posts. You’ve got a cap of five officers however, so make sure to mix up your choices between the three classes.
5. Upgrade early, you can’t take It with you
It might be tempting to save up scrap for the future, but Crying Suns resets your ship, crew and all other stocks between each act. It is much better to buy in all of the ship upgrades that you need than go into combat with a lower combat capacity because you were stockpiling.
Similarly, even if every star you visited had 5 events, you’re only going to trigger around 75 events during the act. It is much better to spend your scrap in outposts, risk every event, and sell any surpluses when you can.
6. Always look ahead – It’s the best way to repair your squadrons
Tying in to both tip 5 and tip 1, as soon as your sensors allow it, make sure you fully mouse over the star map to check over those outposts. If your crew levels are massively diminished then head to an army outpost, if your squadron count is still really low and the enemies are getting harder then break off your path to head to a shipyard.
Knowing what is ahead across future jump is critical to your long-term survival, so I’d also advise investing in some scanners as soon as you can.
7. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
On the topic of the future, you, your squadrons and your marines are all immediately confirmed as extremely extendable for the greater good as Crying Suns begins. You may fall but you can continue anew. Consider this when it comes to your marine troops as well — it is much better to keep your troop levels around 15, so you can afford a few losses, than it is to not send any marines out on missions. The rewards frequently outway the risks.
And, of course, if you’ve kept your officer count up then you may well not even have to risk or deploy those marines on events in the first count.
That’s our hints and tips to keep you alive in Crying Suns. If you’ve got any other questions about the game then don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.
You do get a reward that’s often more valuable than accepting a surrender when you destroy the enemy ship. If you’re on track to win with no losses to hull or damaged squadrons, it’s usually better to destroy the ship.