Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 143,499,168 Issue: 300 | 13th day of Swimming, Y9
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Stowing Away a Stowaway Trophy


by elementmario222

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I’m sure many users by now have played or at least attempted to play the latest game from Neopets. Stowaway Sting, at first glance, may look very similar to the original Deckswabber, but in many aspects, it is different. I’ll tell you this; if you were any good at Deckswabber, you’ll get a major head start on this game.

Background (from Neopets’ game description)

The expedition aboard the SS Primella has made it safely back to the docks of Mystery Island, but for Scrap, the scene is not clear of danger yet. Several shady-looking and rather familiar characters are roaming the docks with an intently malicious gleam in their eyes.

With a bit of quick investigating, Scrap figures out that these are indeed the same thugs who framed him for their last heist. They have just pulled off another big heist and plan to move the goods out by boat. Always the irrepressible one, Scrap decides to try gathering up the stolen treasures before they can escape with them. If he returns the goods back to their rightful owner, perhaps it could help clear his name.

Guide Scrap using the UP, DOWN, LEFT, and RIGHT arrow keys on your keyboard. Search the docks thoroughly, collect all the treasure you can, and above all, keep away from those thugs!

Controls and Game Mechanics

Here’s a little synopsis for you guys who are too lazy to read the instructions. ;-)

The goal in this game is to use Scrap (the main character) to cover every square of the board with a certain color by jumping onto them. In levels 1-3, you’ll only need to jump on the squares once, and they’ll be covered – permanently. These are the easiest levels of the game, and you should take the time to score as many points as possible while you still have the chance. In levels 4-6, you’ll still only need to jump on every square once; but there is a catch. If you step on a square that has ALREADY been stepped on before, you’ll turn it back into its original brown color. Then you’ll have to step on it again to repaint it. This gets frustrating after awhile, but the more practice you get, the better you’ll get at correcting your mistakes. And finally, in levels 7 and 8 (which are the last stages of the game), not only will you have to deal with the annoying aspects of levels 4-6, but you’ll also have to jump on each square TWICE to complete it. And if you jump on it three times, then guess what? It goes back to the original brown color and you must start over.

So while keeping in mind all of the above information, be aware that there is a time limit for each level. When your time runs out, well, you lose. No second chances, unlike Deckswabber.

Did I mention that you also have a health bar? Ouch. On each level after the beginning level, there will be tiles that... aren’t safe. You’ll frequently see tiles with lots of equipment and spiky things on them. These are NOT necessary to completing the level, so don’t jump on them to try and color them. In some levels, though, you will HAVE to jump over at least a few of these to proceed. Each one will deliver a sliver of damage and although it may not seem like much, your health bar isn’t reset every level, so you don’t want to lose a lot of it quickly. Even worse than the spike tiles, there are water ditches. These watery holes will immediately end your game upon being stepped on. So unless you don’t want to continue your game... don’t step on them at all costs. The water may not look as intimidating as the spike tiles, but who knows, the liquid substance just might be poisoned. Don’t take the chance.

It doesn’t stop there. Unfortunately, there is still one way that Scrap can lose health and it’s likely to be the most dangerous factor in the game. Depending on what level you are playing, there will be a certain number of enemies that will stalk you (not literally). But when you are occupying the same tile that these enemies are occupying, you will in turn lose health. And you will continue to lose health until you aren’t on the same tiles anymore. They will also move around, which means you’ll have to make sure they don’t back you into a corner. Fortunately, though, they are not able to cross spikes or watery holes, so you have some safety in knowing that.

Admittedly, Stowaway Sting’s controls are not easy to master. They’re easy to learn, but not easy to use. The arrow keypad is the only one you’ll be touching throughout this game. Simply press the up arrow key to go UP one square, the left arrow key to go LEFT one square and you get the idea. What is so hard about this? Well in many levels, you’ll be scrimping time, so you’ll need to be able to get from one side of the board to the other quickly. If you rapidly mash the arrow keys, they might not respond as quickly as you’d like. And sometimes, they even respond too quickly. What does this mean? Well, if you accidentally press one of the arrow keys more times than you would like, then you might end up taking an extra step; an extra step into an enemy, spike tile, or even worse, a watery hole. The best way to prevent this is plain and obvious, but it works. Control Scrap. Don’t let him wander off without your permission. Don’t press the arrow key any more than you need to. Try and count out the number of steps you’re taking so that you don’t fall into a trap.

Items and Powerups

Well, so far, I’ve probably scared away many of the readers who were interested in playing Stowaway Sting. Fear not, because if you’re still here, most of the remainder of this article will be good news. Let’s start with the items. When traversing the board, you’ll frequently here a click, or pop and that signals either a new enemy or... a new item. Let’s take a look at them.

NP Bags: These items are the most basic. Even if you’ve never played this game before, you can probably guess what they do when you pick them up. They give you bonus points, 20 of them to be exact. It may not seem like a hefty bonus, but oh, they’ll be very useful once you reach a certain skill-level of this game.

Diamonds: These items are rarer than the NP bags, but they’re even better. Instead of your normal 20 points, you get 50 big ones. That’s a lot of points, and they rack up quickly!

Orbs: These items... not so good. They’re not really BAD, but what is bad about them is that they take the place of your coveted diamonds. You know, the ones that give you 50 points each. I’m not even quite sure what the orbs do, they seem to automatically fill in one or two tiles for you and sometimes they’ll take away a few previously colored tiles. It’s nothing to worry about concerning your level completion, but they will have an impact on your points if you get too many of them (and thus, less of the diamonds).

Hearts: These items will ALSO replace a diamond that would have otherwise appeared on the board. So another 50 points down the drain. Of course, these are much more helpful than orbs. They completely replenish your health, but they only appear when your health bar is low, so don’t expect them too often. I usually get one heart every game, you won’t want to get too many.

Clocks: Now, I may just be dreaming this up, but I thought I once saw a clock on the board as well. It was at the end of the level, so I didn’t get a good look at it or get it, so it could be just my wacky mind playing tricks on me again. If you happen to see one of these, please neomail me, I’d love to hear about it. :-D My best guess would be that they replenish some time, but of course, that’s just a guess. I tend to see them at the very end of the last level.

Scoring

How is the game scored? Well, there are three components to each of your level score.

Component #1: Your collectively earned NP Bags and Diamonds (20 and 50 points, respectively). Once you follow the strategies I have in the “Tips and Tricks” section, this should be the meat of your score.

Component #2: Your level progress score. From what I observed, for every box that you convert from the original brown color to the required color, you’ll score one point. This means that completion of a level should earn you 40 points or so, depending on the level. This should account for the second largest portion of your score.

Component #3: Your time bonus. This should be pretty small most of the time, so don’t expect more than 15-20 points per level through this bonus (you’ll need to spend your time on more important matters, more on that in the next section).

Tips and Tricks

As I said before, controls are crucial to succeeding in this game. If you don’t master them, you’ll find it hard to nab a trophy from this game.

Probably one of the most useful pieces of advice you’ll get from this article, if you didn’t already know. DON’T FINISH THE LEVEL QUICKLY JUST FOR THE TIME BONUS! Read that sentence a few times. Here’s why; the NP bags and diamonds are worth WAY more points than the time bonus will ever be worth. If you’re exceedingly fast, you’ll get like 40 points for your time bonus. Every few seconds or so, a new item appears (note that these items do NOT appear at random times) and if it’s an NP Bag or Diamond (usually about 75% of the time, depending on your situation), you’ll get a very large score boost. Need an example?

On my first run through level 1, I got a score of 137 total. 43 points from the time bonus, 54 points from the level progress and 40 points from collecting two bags of NP.

On my second run through level 1, I got a score of 166 total. 32 points from the time bonus (notice that it’s lower), 54 points from the level progress and 80 points from collecting four bags of NP (notice that it’s much higher).

See why collecting bonus points is more important than your time bonus? Your time bonus may be affected, but you’ll see such a large bonus point increase that it won’t matter. This example was very subtle. In later levels, you can increase your score by hundreds of points just by waiting around and collecting all the bonuses you can, instead of finishing the level quickly. If you want to stowaway a trophy, you’ll need to use this tactic.

You’ll find it necessary to jump on the spiked traps on many levels to get to the other side. Don’t get stuck on level 2, jump on the spikes to reach those top boxes. You’ll also find it necessary to quickly pass through some of the enemies. Don’t be in their path for long!

Type in ‘scrap’ to fully recover your health. Try to use this instead of losing a diamond when you have low health. This code can only be used once per game.

Lastly, remember that even if you’re not able to complete the level you’re on, you’ll still get more points by filling in the boxes with the appropriate colors, and those points can add up as well.

Conclusion

Though Deckswabber was an awesome game and one of Neopets’ classics, Stowaway Sting is a great replacement. If you are aiming for a trophy, do so near the beginning of the month so that you have an easier time getting onto the High Score Table (scores reset every month). At this time of writing, there hasn’t been a reset for Stowaway Sting yet, but I’d guess that a score of 1400 or higher will get you at least a bronze trophy on the 1st of the month. Good luck in your Stowaway Sting endeavors!

 
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