WITHOUT using the Architect, complete the game dying 15 times or less*MISSABLE*
If you don't do this on your first playthrough, you'll need to start a new game on a fresh save file to attempt it. It is NOT POSSIBLE to complete this achievement on New Game+ and beyond, because your death count and Architect usage carry over.
There is a ton of information available across the internet relative to this achievement, and I have done my best to consolidate it all here. First, I will go through the various exploits that are available, all of which you can take advantage of to make this easier. After that, I will go through general tips and advice that you should be using throughout your playthroughs, regardless of which and how many exploits you use, and finally a rough walkthrough of how I progressed, which I believe anyone should be able to manage with enough practice and patience. Even with all of these exploits, tips, and this guide, this will be a very stressful and challenging achievement, so be prepared to use all of the practice and skill you've developed from your previous two or more playthroughs.
Money Farming Exploit #1
Luck Needed: 1/10
Skill Required: 1/10
This money farming exploit is very quick and easy to do, but it is insanely slow. The rate you will amass gold is agonizingly slow, but if you don't mind grinding for literally tens of hours to get plenty of gold, then this stress-free way to do it is always an option. How it works is that, when you pause during a game and quit to the main menu then continue your game, you start back at the first room of the castle, all rooms you've cleared and enemies you've defeated stay that way, with one big exception: all rooms marked with a pink question mark (such as miniboss rooms, rooms with Spiritual Shrines, rooms with jukeboxes, rooms with journal entires, etc.) will have the breakable objects in them respawn. You can take advantage of this by going to those rooms marked on your map and breaking all objects in them, collecting any gold that drops, and then pause, quit to the main menu, continue your game, warp to that area, and revisit them to break the objects again. You can repeat this forever, amassing as much gold as you'd like. However, as noted above, this can be insanely slow. Of course, the more pink question mark rooms you can revisit on each reload, the faster this will go.
Money Farming Exploit #2
Luck Needed: 9/10
Skill Required: 4/10
As you can see, this method is far faster than the first method. Unfortuantely, it requires a massive amount of luck. The goal here is to be lucky enough to have a dagger-throwing clown game spawn in your playthrough, This can spawn in any of the four areas, not just the castle. For this minigame, you have 10 daggers and need to hit 8 targets to win. Every target you hit gives you money immediately. So the exploit here is that you are going to throw all but one dagger and/or hit all by one target (i.e. ensure you do NOT complete the minigame), then pause and quit to the main menu. Continue your game, and now you can warp back near the minigame room and head back to it. You'll have all your money you gained from hitting targets, but can now start the minigame over from the beginning. You can repeat this forever to amass as much gold as you want.
Note on Money Farming Exploits:
The biggest question you'll have with using an exploit to gain money is "how much money is enough?" That will definitely depend on how confident and skilled you are with the game (the worse you are, the more money you should amass to boost your stats even more). As a point of reference, during my successful run I didn't use the second method at all and barely used the first, and I ended up spending somewhere in the range of 40,000-50,000 gold to get to around Level 50 for the final boss. It took me multiple tries to beat Herodotus and the final boss, and I consider myself above average with these types of games. So hopefully that helps you gauge how much gold to save up.
Food/Mana Farming Exploit:
Luck Needed: 2/10
Skill Required: 1/10
This isn't actually a separate exploit. The exact same exploit described above for Money Farming #1 can be used to farm health and mana infinitely too. Gold will drop the most frequently, then mana, and then food, but you can use that exact same method to refill your health to full before every boss fight. Once again, the more applicable rooms you have available, the faster you'll be able to find health items to refill.
Blueprint Farming Exploit
Luck Needed: 5/10
Skill Required: 6/10
I haven't really seen mention of this exploit anywhere, but there is an incredibly fast way to collect every blueprint available in your first playthrough in a matter of ten minutes or so, allowing you to purchase great gear very early in your playthrough. The caveat is that this exploit requires you to find and defeat any miniboss in the game. Sometimes you'll find two or three minibosses in one playthrough and sometimes you'll go five playthroughs without finding one, so there is decent luck with this one. But, once you do find one and beat it, this method is such a fast way to collect all of the blueprints. You have to be a little more careful with this one since it works a bit different from the money farming exploits above. Here are the steps:
- Locate the miniboss room and kill the miniboss so it drops a gold chest
- Open the gold chest
- DO NOT leave the room or quit to the main menu
- Press the Guide button on your controller and force close the game app
- Launch the game and continue your game. You'll be back in the first room of the castle but will have kept the contents of the chest
- Warp back near the miniboss room and head back inside
- The gold chest will be there, closed, allowing you to open it again for another reward
- Repeat the above steps over and over
Cloud Save Exploit
This is probably the most important exploit in the game, as it will theoretically allow anyone to get this achievement on a single playthrough regardless of your luck. You will, however, still need a ton of skill to beat all of the bosses, but this exploit gives you unlimited attempts and makes it 100% safe so you aren't taking any unnecessary risks. You may have heard or be aware that it's possible to back up your cloud save for Playstation users, who can take a more obvious and direct advantage of this, but it is still 100% possible to do so on Xbox too. Here is a step by step guide on how to back up your cloud save and reload it if you mess up:
- Reach a point in your playthrough where you're happy with your progress, gold, etc., and then pause and quit to the main menu.
- Press the Guide button and then force close the game app. This creates a cloud save backup of your progress (I always waited a minute or two after closing the app to allow the save to get loaded to the cloud).
- Launch the game app and continue your game. You will be back in the first room of the castle, but all enemies you've defeated are still dead, and all your progress is saved.
- Press the Guide button, scroll right all the way, and then choose Settings. Go to Network Settings, and then choose the option "Go offline."
- Close all those menus and go back into your game, where you're now playing offline.
- Make all your progress and attempt all your boss fights offline!
- Close the game app
- Press on the game tile and choose Manage Games and Add-Ons
- Scroll down to Save Data for that game and choose it
- Choose Delete, and then choose the option Delete From Console to delete the local save
- Press the Guide button, scroll over to Settings, Network Settings, and choose to Go Online
- Launch the game app. It will sync with the cloud and restore your cloud save
- After continuing your game, go back offline and try again
- Pause and quit to the main menu, then continue your game. This puts you back in the first room of the castle and ensures with 100% certainly that you will not accidentally die while creating a new backup save
- While in your game, press the Guide button, scroll over to Settings, Network Settings, and choose Go Online
- Once it connects, go back to your game, pause, quit to the main menu, then press the Guide button and force close the game app. This will create an updated cloud save to work from
- Launch the game again and continue your game, then go offline again before progressing further
General Tips and Advice:
- Complete all other achievements betore attempting this. In particular, definitely defeat all of the remixed bosses. They will be very challenging, and will make the regular boss versions you fight in this playthrough feel so much easier.
- While you can technically not kill enemies and instead just avoid them and progress to the next room, my recommendation is to slowly kill all enemies in every room before progressing to the next. This prevents you from an unpleasant surprise when you backtrack to go a different direction and accidentally get hit and potentially die.
- Use the peek-and-run technique to scout every room before engaging in it. Enter the room and immediately leave, taking note of any obvious enemies you saw in the split second you spend in the room. While in the safety of the room you came from (presumably you've killed all enemies in it already), pull up your map and check out the room you just added to your map. If there are no chests and no other exits from that room, then definitely completely ignore it. If there are chests, it's up to you if you want to attempt killing enemies and/or reaching the chest(s) depending on how many enemies there are, and how much risk you'd need to take to reach the chests.
- Dead enemies stay dead when you leave a room, but alive enemies reset. You can take advantage of this to slowly kill enemies in a row one at a time. Slowly enter a room and kill an enemy or two, and if you see more coming after you, quickly leave the room to reset them, then kill another one or two, etc. This is the safest way to clear rooms.
- This should be pretty obvious after your first two playthroughs, but save the statues in each teleport room for when you really need the food (or mana).
With the knowledge of all of those exploits above, feel free to dive in and play using any combination of them if you're skilled and confident enough. What I've detailed below is the route and strategy I used to find and beat every boss in the game. I did it with six deaths, four or which were intentional. Also be aware that I won't be referencing any of the above tips in this section, as you should be using them constantly regardless of which exploits you're using.
The other thing worth noting is that, of the exploits above, Gold Farming #2 (Clown dagger game) and Blueprint Farming are both entirely luck based. I therefore won't be mentioning either in the walkthrough here, because there's no telling when you'll happen upon the dagger game or a miniboss, nor do I think you should waste time continually starting new games until you find either. Instead, when you encounter the dagger game or a miniboss, I highly recommend taking advantage of both.
Life #1 - Level 0
Your goal in this first life is to explore most (preferably all) rooms of the Castle and locate the boss room, then kill Khidr, collecting as much gold as possible on the way. You will obviously be very weak, but you'll still be able to kill all regular enemies in two or three hits, at most, in all rooms of the Castle. This is the best time to put all of those tips into practice above. Take your time, because each hit can take a huge amount of health off. You can obviously abuse the Cloud Save Exploit to the extreme and create a new save after every room you clear, but that's excessive and I wouldn't recommend it. Instead, progress until you at least find a new warp room (either leading to a new area or the boss room). That's a good opportunity to make a new backup save. When you do find the boss room, if your health isn't at least 84 or so, use the Food Farming Exploit above to refill your health. This will allow you to take a couple hits in the boss fight without dying, making it far less stressful. Once you've farmed some health, definitely make a backup save there, before the boss fight. As mentioned in the tips, this (and all) boss fight should be done offline so you can reload your save if you die.
Khidr Fight: the biggest difference between this fight and when you beat him in previous playthroughs is that you won't have the ability to double jump. So you should have no problems avoiding the majority of his attacks (especially after beating Neo Khidr), with the only exception being his spiral attack. If it spirals away from you - no problem, just follow it around to the other side of him. If it spirals towards you, this will require you to jump over him to dodge the projectiles. Without double jump, the only way this is possible without getting hit is to do a downward strike on top of him. The timing make take a couple tries to get down, but it's not really difficult to master after a couple attempts. And if you have enough health, you can take a couple hits without dying, so it's not critical to avoid all damage.
With Khidr dead, you should definitely have over 5,000 gold on you. Immediately make a new backup save. While it's technically possible to beat more bosses at Level 0, it's a hugely unnecessary struggle. Instead, after you beat Khidr, I recommend finishing exploring any rooms you haven't yet in the castle, collecting any money chests you didn't get. Consider going after a fairy chest or two. Lastly, feel free to progress into the Forest to track down more gold if you haven't died yet. I had around 10,000 gold when I took my first death, so that's a good point of reference but it's not absolutely critical. I would say 7,000 or more is solid. At this point you have no other classes to choose from, and class isn't really important, so no need to make a backup save before dying to choose your next class. Take a death whenever you're ready to upgrade for the Forest and second boss.
- Start off by buying the Smithy, Health Up, Upgrade Knight, and Equip Up, then buy the Enchantress on the right. Now back out before buying any more upgrades.
- Head to the Enchantress first and buy the available Vault Rune (Helm). This is critical to surviving the second, third, and fourth bosses.
- Head to the Smithy next. Here is where a lot of variation will come into play. If you managed to farm blueprints during your first life already, then you'll obviously be spending a lot more money here to buy higher level gear, but your money will dictate how many you can buy, since you'll need to upgrade Equip Up to afford the heavier stuff. The second thing to mention here is that your playstyle could influence your equipment. For example, I never used mana/magic at all, so I never bought a cape or bracers. Instead, I bought the highest damage sword, the highest health helm, and the highest armor chestplate. Top priority needs to be chestplate, because it's your only source of increasing your armor, following my walkthrough.
- Once you've bought your gear and that Vault Rune, head back into the manor and buy the Architect (won't be using this but needs to be bought to access more upgrades), Upgrade Barbarian, and Unlock Shinobi. Unless you farmed blueprints, you should have enough money to afford all those upgrades easily.
- Now spend the rest of your money on Attack Up until you can't afford any more. Any remaining money should be spent on Health Up.
Life #2 - Level 10-20
As soon as you enter the castle for this life, remember to make a backup save and play offline again. The goal of this life is to find and beat the second boss. While you could explore a good deal on your way, I recommend finding the door to the second boss as soon as possible, to maximize the amount of health you have when you get there. Still kill enemies along the way, and even if you don't progress through rooms, it's still a good idea to pop into every possible room along your path just to have it added to your map. The castle will feel far easier now with how strong your attacks are, but you still want to be careful because you'll still take decent damage. Slowly work your way right through the castle, and carefully explore the Forest to find the boss door, then make a backup save.
Alexander Fight: No real difference here whatsoever compared to the first fight against him, aside from you'll obviously take more damage from attacks. The important thing to note/realize here is that touching Alexander or getting hit by his energy balls does huge damage to you, whereas touching a Fury or getting hit by a white energy ball does significantly less. So if you're ever in a bind, it's far better to purposely run into a Fury or its projectile than to touch Alexander. Other than that, make use of your double jump and hack away at him until he's dead. You should have enough attack strength that it shouldn't take very long to finish him off.
With Alexander defeated, immediately make another backup save. Now, I definitely recommend fully exploring the castle rooms and all Forest rooms. Kill the enemies and collect most or all of the regular chests. Grab any easy fairy chests too. I ended up with close to 15,000 gold on this life, as a point of reference. I got all the chests in the Castle and Forest regions, and even explored some rooms in the Maya just to get more gold. Again, not hugely critical, but I would say you should shoot for 10,000 gold at least. Once you're satisfied, make a new backup save before taking your next death.
I recommend going offline for your death to ensure you get to pick a Shinobi class with good (at least, no bad) traits. Its high damage will make it very easy to kill enemies in the Maya and will make the boss a piece of cake. So I recommend reloading your cloud backup save until you get a good Shinobi class to choose from.
- Before spending any gold in the manor, back out and go to the Smithy first. Any better Chestplate or Sword should be bought immediately. You can also visit the Enchantress if you want, for any runes you prefer. I personally never bought any runes beyond that original Vault Rune. I don't recommend wasting money on any other movement runes unless you have money to spare (see below).
- Head into the manor and spend all of your money on Attack Up until you can't afford more, then spend the rest of your money on Health Up.
- If you still have a few hundred gold left and can't afford another upgrade for those two, you should back out and buy an Enchantress Rune that'll help you. You could potentially spend that money on an upgrade for Mana Up or Magic Damage Up, but I never used them so didn't bother.
Life #3 - Level 25-30
Once again, make a backup save as soon as you start, since you'll be exploring the Maya this time which can be quite perilous with all the enemies and fake treasure chests. Like before, your goal is to locate the boss door as soon as possible. Once you find it, make a new backup save to fight the boss offline.
Ponce de Leon Fight: Literally no difference from your first fight with him. For me, I was a Shinobi with plenty of Attack Up, so this fight was over in a minute or two at most. Nothing new to add to the standard strategy here.
With Ponce dead, just like with before, fully explore the rest of the Maya to get money, then do the same for the Castle, and then the Forest. Your goal here should be again 10,000 to 15,000 gold, which should be no problem with all the chests you have available at this point. Once you're done exploring and have plenty of gold, feel free to explore into the Dungeon somewhat too for more gold. As a side note, I was lucky enough to find a miniboss in the Maya at this point, and I farmed all of the blueprints from it here. Hugely luck dependent though, obviously.
Once you're happy with your gold amount, make a new backup save before dying. This one is very important, so you can use it to get a good class for the fourth boss. Herodotus can be very unpredictable and a huge pain. This fight can be made worlds easier by getting a hero with the P.A.D trait, which makes floor spikes inactive from walking on them. I highly, highly recommend reloading your backup save to get a hero with PAD. I didn't, and it took me easily 20 tries (probably more) to beat Herodotus on the next life, and that was even after farming blueprints and having the best gear. It's worth it to get a PAD hero to save yourself the frustration.
Just like before, head to the Smithy first and get any improved gear, then return to the manor and spend all your money on Attack Up. At this point, Health Up will be expensive enough that you won't be able to use your leftovers on it, so if you have leftover money, use it on any helpful runes for your playstyle. Vampire runes are great for the upcoming boss, if you have them available. An extra jump could be very useful too.
As another point of reference, I was level 43 going into this life.
Life #4+ - Level 35-45+
Just life with previous lives, your goal here is to get to the boss door in the Dungeon, make a backup save outside it, and then fight and beat Herodotus offline. The Dungeon and Herodotus are, in my opinion, the hardest region and boss in the regular playthrough, so this will be the hardest part of this playthrough. The good news is that if you made it here on Life #4 like with this walkthrough, you have a ton of lives to spare for this achievement. So if you find yourself struggling immensely with enemies, surviving, and/or Herodotus, there is absolutely no reason to force yourself through that on Life #4. Instead, feel free to deviate by spend this life fully exploring the Castle, Forest, and Maya again to collect all of the gold. You should easily be able to collect another 10,000. You may also get lucky enough to find a miniboss room to farm blueprints if you haven't already. Once you've fully explored and gotten tons of gold and maybe more runes too, kill yourself, upgrade your stats more, buy new gear and/or runes, and attempt the Dungeon and Herodotus again. Because you have enough lives to spare, you could potentially do this a couple more limes to buff up your stats even more. I still recommend doing each life offline though, just so you don't waste one getting only a couple thousand gold and can't really upgrade your attack anymore.
While you could've done this farming of gold and buffing up earlier too, I found it not as needed, and also far easier to do now with how strong you are. The Castle and Forest in particular should be a breeze since you should be able to kill all enemies in one hit. So feel free to spend a handful of lives exploring just to farm gold and improve your stats further. None of it is wasted, since it'll only help you against the final boss too.
Herodotus Fight: Once you're ready to fight it, this fight can be a pain. The absolutely ideal state is that your attacks kill the Gravisors in a single hit, greatly simplifying things. Either way though, this fight has a ton of randomness to it that makes it challenging. If you managing to reload saves to get a PAD hero, it'll be far easier since you can just stand at the bottom and hit any blobs that come near you, safely under the center platform.
With Herodotus dead, the door to the final boss opens. Now it's up to you how many more lives you want to spend grinding gold to buff your stats before the final fight. While you can theoretically wait until your 14th life to go against the final boss, it's risky, and it's not necessary to grind that much. I say it's risky because if you make a mistake with your backup save or miscalculate, you risk having to start all over. It's also not necessary to grind that much because you don't need to be that strong to beat the final boss.
As a reference point again, I was level 50 going into the final boss fight. I also was able to grind out blueprints, so I had the best Sword, Helm, and Chestplate available in the first playthrough. It took me probably ten or so attempts to beat him, and I did it on my sixth character. So my recommendation would be to use around ten heroes to be safe, so you have leeway before 15 but also get a bunch of gold for improving your stats. That should make it much easier for you than it was for me.
The most important thing to know for this final fight is that you do NOT need to be online when you beat the final boss to unlock this achievement! Treat this boss fight the same as the others: make each attempt offline, and if you die, try again either with your backup save or a new hero. Once you beat him, and the credits end and you're back at the main menu, close the game and delete your local save before going back online. This is to ensure that you have another chance in case you miscalculated and used too many heroes. If you were successful, when you go back online and launch the game to restore your cloud save, the achievement will unlock shortly after you launch the game. Once it does, you can be extremely proud of your completion, even with some exploits!