GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon: the ultimate guide to becoming the best in the clan

Welcome to the clan. Be ready to die... and to learn how to play Konami's dark and hard roguelite game.

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GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon launched last year for PC and Nintendo Switch as a modernisation of the classic one that debuted in the 1980s on the NES, and now comes in a physical edition. Even if it's taken some beating from both critics and users after a while in early access, some of us on the Gamereactor team have ended up addicted to this dark fantasy set in feudal Japan.

So, like a samurai, we prefer to "sacrifice" ourselves, dying over and over again so we could unveil all the secrets of this demonic game that, once its gameplay and mechanics have been understood, shows its most fun and satisfying side, bringing you to a lot of spectacular and exciting moments.

This guide gathers some tricks and tips especially for getting started in GetsuFumaDen, as the explanation of some of the concepts, especially those related to character evolution and game progress within the roguelite concept, are darker than Ryukotsuki's heart. So, without further ado, if you're "rushing" through the first few levels of the game feeling like you're dying and making little to no progress, keep reading.

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Health comes first

There are basic enemies (Oni, we're looking at you) that will send you back to the clan base with a couple of punches, so other than learning their attack patterns and trying to make sure that the regular enemies don't take away your health from you except for unforeseen traps, it's good to have a large health bar and some potions.

To have more health you must use Soul Devour, one of the four upgrades you can see at the bottom of the screen. If you look closely, every time you pick up a blue soul (not a purple soul memory, but the ones you find in big chests or on enemies with a pink aura) the Soul Devour marker goes to the next power from left to right. Our advice is that in the first few runs you should only press the right stick when the marker is on Health+, something you should do a couple of times before considering other options. Depending on your initial health, the first "shot" will be quite significant (around 700 HP), but then it will drop with each injection until it's not that useful (when it barely adds 300 HP).

And why start with Health+? It's actually very simple: the longer your health bar is, the more your potions will recover because they always recover half of your current health. This way, you will quickly reach 4,000 HP and will be able to face almost any challenge.

  • Tip: When you beat a boss, the chest it leaves after its death spits out four souls. Look at your current Soul Devour marker and try to figure out how many souls you need for the effect you want instead of grabbing them all on the run.

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GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

Use healing potions wisely

Regarding potions, and based on what we've just explained, it really is very important to choose the best time to drink one of them. Of course, if you're on a boss and it's hammering you while you're in the red zone, drink it as soon as possible, but it iss wiser to have a strategy for potions while in a level.

You begin the game with two potions (an amount that can be increased by investing Spirit Minerals), and you shouldn't use them until you have increased your HP. To get more potions, you can either read one of the rock engravings in each level (you always get a potion and a little bag full of materials), or use the fourth power of Soul Devour, which you'll want to use at the beginning in order to extend your health bar.

If you're clearing the level rather easily, note that both the engraving rock and the spitting potion are both on the map and won't disappear, so you can either leave the potion there to drink it or fill it just before you face the boss, using the nearest teleporter. This may improve your health further along the way, and the potion will then recover more HP when the time comes.

In fact, if you're having a great run, your health bar might be doing quite well while still having a spare potion, so using Soul Devour to generate an additional potion is an extremely consuming resource that should only be used when in trouble.

Play yellow: drain your enemies

In order to keep your health bar full, there are primary and secondary weapons that allow you to recover health if they have the right stats. The most common one is the Fang of Pursuit: Yellow, which offers the ability to drain the enemy for a while. What does that mean? It sucks the life out of them through a sort of umbilical cord, of vital link. You can even link up to several at once with weapons like the Eldritch Bow or the Vampiric Gun, allowing you to hit them from afar, and then watch them slowly falling. The problem is that it breaks the rhythm of the game and is kind of "lame".

Once you start feeling more powerful, you may decide to forget about this technique and look for others that are more suited to a faster gameplay. But it never hurts to carry one of these in your bag.

  • Tip: Study your enemies and the different states they cause since they also know how to drain, cause burning or bleeding.

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

It's a roguelite: you can turn your console off

Even if GetsuFumaDen is presented as a dark and merciless game, and although its progression is hard and confusing, it's not as devastating as other roguelite games. So, here's a trick: if you look closer, the game autosaves as soon as you enter a level or a boss and doesn't save your game at the exact moment you die, but rather when your soul arrives at the clan base. If you're crafty, you can turn off the console (or rather close the game) right after you die, so you can just retry the last part. Of course, you'll lose some of your player honour in the process...

  • Tip: Actually, in the most advanced areas and their respective bosses, if you push too hard and try to get through with this trick while being low on health, potions and attack power, you will find out that it either becomes impossible or not worth it for the next section, so remember to bring resources with you to the grave, let yourself die and enhance your character a bit more to become more powerful next time.

Bring more resources and minerals to the grave

The way to improve in GetsuFumaDen is through resources and scrolls. The problem, as you may notice in your first few games, is that you barely can save anything when you die, so it feels like you're starting from the very beginning. Therefore, we recommend your first upgrades are aimed at bringing more resources to the grave, especially Spirit Minerals, that kind of nine-shaped magatama amulet used to permanently upgrade in the Training (green Spirit Minerals, the six basic skills) and Maestry of the Secret Arts (yellow Spirit Minerals, the six secondary) sections.

The specific upgrade for this purpose is called Spirit Mineral Recovery. Once set to Rank 2, it will already save you 40% of the green and yellow magatamas in your base's warehouse in the moment you fall. This upgrade allows you to progress with more confidence, so you can consider increasing the number of maximum healing potions you can carry, or even increasing the number of weapons that appear at rebirth at the clan base (and their serial number). Basic materials are also crucial for refining weapons, so that Recovery upgrade is still of interest after a while.

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

Returning to Getsu Clan Estate after death

We know that as a member of the Getsu clan you're ambitious and want to send demons to the underworld as soon as possible, but considering that impatience is your worst enemy in roguelike and roguelite games, you should meditate and rest in GetsuFumaDen in order to face the "suffering" with a clear mind. So, especially during your first games, it's a good idea to return to the Getsu Clan Estate once you have defeated one of the first bosses. For example, we have Ryukotsuki, Land of Limbo's boss (level 1) or the Colossal Centipede, Hellfire Cliff's boss (level 2).

You may ask: but why would I do so since I'm eventually losing the weapons? Well, you get a much more powerful start, with increased health and the Soul Devour you have used in the previous run. In addition, you can take all the materials with you to use them or to store them in the base, instead of having to decide between boss and upgrade and probably losing materials on the following death. We insist this practice is ideal at the beginning when you need to upgrade your character a bit in order to feel more confident.

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

It's better to find than to buy

There are two kinds of shops in GetsuFumaDen, even if you will only find the first one in some of the levels: one for weapons and other for material bags. In both of them, besides the shopkeeper, there's another dead lady who offers you to increase your weapon rank or to enable upgrades for the weapons you carry.

Both of these, activation and refinement, are always better than spending money on new weapons for a couple of reasons. First, the weapons you find around, either dropped by enemies or in chests, are usually better in both type and stats, but they also tend to come with some upgrades already activated or unlocked. You will find out very soon that it's better to pick up a weapon, even if it looks basic, and upgrade it rather than spending money on a different one. It's best to spend your gold and souls in increasing your rank and activating upgrades on the weapons you already have... until you find an appealing one or other with more upgrade potential one during your journey. In addition, when you're well equipped, almost every weapon that appears isn't going to be better than the ones you're carrying, so it's a good idea to Dismantle their materials and souls.

If the Spirit Materials were important for upgrading your Getsu Clan member, the remaining materials are crucial for refining weapons along with the armour scrolls (diagrams) you find lying around. The good thing about unlocking weapon upgrades (you can't do this at shops, but at the clan base or after defeating a boss) is that you can activate them with souls if you pick them up in later games, and several may already come activated. You may also want to take a basic weapon from the Getsu Clan Estate and refine it with materials before heading to the Lands of Limbo.

  • Tip: You have been playing for a while now and you can't get the resources you need to unlock that one hell of a weapon or ultimate upgrade? (Great Demon Fang, we're looking at you). Maybe, if you're always going down the same path, you won't be defeating the enemies that give you the right materials. If you keep an eye on the bestiary before leaving the clan base, you will find the clue you're looking for. Go to the Hall of Treasures and open the "Battle Record", where you will find descriptions of all the enemies and bosses you've beaten, as well as their special strengths and the "acquirable materials" they drop when they die.

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

Combinations of weapons and styles and Transformation

By now you will have probably seen that carrying a short, fast primary weapon and a longer and/or powerful one is quite a good idea, as well as a secondary throwing weapon and maybe a striking or trapping weapon. But this depends on personal style and choice.

For example, as for the primary weapon, I personally prefer a katana or double blades (two-handed weapons, swords, or fans) for the course of the levels, and then a club or a mace to face bosses and tougher enemies. If you're more of a parry person, you will like the special action of the katana or the defence of the umbrella, and if you prefer to keep your distance you will choose whips and spears, as opposed to gauntlets.

In addition, some primary weapons may get you easier to the Transformation, a kind of Super Saiyan Getsu which the game describes in a very romantic way:

As for the secondary weapon, it's best to have a bomb-type weapon like the Lily of the Valley (easy to quickly boost the damage up to 1,000) and a ranged weapon like the rifle or bow. But again, kunai can do a lot of damage by bouncing, and thistle traps can be great for holding off a tiring enemy. Remember the aforementioned tip, study their special effects and spend your resources unlocking the ones you're going to benefit from, especially the Fang of Pursuit: Yellow.

Of course, the new Talismans change all this a bit since they are equipped as a secondary weapon that you can't use. But if you look good with the one you're carrying and the two primary ones, they can give you a boost to your damage or break stats, for example, or even resurrect you when in a hurry.

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

Tips against bosses

At last, we're going to gather some basic tips for dealing with the various bosses in the game:

  • Ryukotsuki: The return of the NES game's final boss as the first boss in this edition. Stick as hard as hard as you can to break their heart as fast as you can with a bunch of bunt blows. Just stand back when they attack with their hand horizontally (if you stick to the edge of the screen, you can take the chance to hit them) and do your double jump at the same time they punch the ground, doing area damage. Their skulls are fairly harmless and their big ball is easy to draw to one side and then go to the other and jump over the blue fires.

  • Colossal Centipede: As its exoskeleton shows, it's way tougher to handle than he initially appears. It needs to be given a real beating when it rolls in the centre of the stage to rest. Its train-like crawling attack is easy to dodge by double jumping to get on top of it and keep on striking. Its direct bites or its giant balls (I mean... the ones it throws at you) are the most dangerous but easiest to see, and when it flies all over the stage it's all about jumping and fighting back.

  • Twin Tempest Demons: This battle against Raiki (yellow, lightning) and Fuki (blue, wind) can be either super easy or super difficult. Even if Raiki looks like the bigger threat, our advice is to go for Fuki first. He always stays to the right, and his consecutive wind balls attack is the most dangerous one since it does damage, but it also can throw you into the spikes. If you can take him out quickly, they can't do their joint attack, which is lethal but can be avoided at one of the edges of the screen. When Raiki is left alone it really is easy to see where he is going to throw the lightning or electricity balls and, while he moves more, he's quickly done. It's crucial to figure out when to drink a potion.

  • Hydra of the Depths: It's been lurking throughout the whole level of The Great Wave of Damnation, but it only showed one of its five heads. This boss can be lethal if you stand too far away because it will drag you into the water. The key is hitting it really close.

  • Subterranean Spider: It's not as difficult as it seems. Don't mess around with the geishas from the Avenue of Pleasure and Illusion and the other enemies in the Pleasure District that it brings back to live with its nets, and try to figure out the places where it usually lands to hit it from close. Its strongest attack take up to 1,000 HP in one hit, so try to catch it while attacking so you don't receive that much of a hit.

  • Nine Tailed Fox: This winter Kyubi is even easier, which you can kill on the first difficulty levels without getting a scratch from him. Jump from the first minute to get the tales on one side and break a couple of them, so that his head falls off. In that moment, you should take the chance to deliver a deadly blow and take half of its health bar. As soon as he recovers, do the same with the ones on the other side, he will fall again and the battle will be yours.

  • Daidarabotchi: He's the only boss with 100% resistance to all special statuses, the most menacing (you will see his haunting eye through the windows) and the one that can do the most damage to you while going through his tricky level, the Subspace Citadel (basically because he takes out buildings with one punch). In other words, an unfair bastard in every sense of the word, and more worthy of the title of final boss than Amatsu-Tosu. Still, the procedure is the same as with the Fox or Amatsu-Tosu: limbs first, then head. The problem is he's so big it will take you a while to go from one arm to the other. You better focus on one arm, then the other, and finally go for the head. Don't get frustrated with his health bar barely lowering until you start hitting special strikes. And, if he goes red with rage, it's the same, but faster. However, it doesn't stop him from doing the double two-handed combo to crush you, or taking some tries to figure out how the mountains he sends out in a straight line work: when you see one coming, just jump towards it to avoid the damage.

  • Amatsu-Tosu: More impressive than problematic, the strategy for taking out this final boss is actually pretty similar to the previous one: go for a couple of tentacles to make it fall, then go for the head. You have to focus first on the one on the floating platform (start with a good bomb and leave it almost finished), then use that platform as an escape from the ones below. When it falls, do as you already know: go for the head.

Getsu Clan Members

Former clan members are also a challenge for Fuma:

  • Renge's Remnants: The spirit of this powerful fighter appears randomly as an interference between a boss and one of the levels. She's like a pain in the arse because she can crush you if you've been hurt by the previous boss, but it's not too difficult and, if you beat her, you get a double prize. On one hand, because of the family ties, your Soul Devour will go up by one. On the other hand, defeating her for the very first time will unlock Renge, so you can start a new game with her as a playable character (more agile than Fuma) from the clan base. Moreover, you will recover the life lost in combat to start the next level.

  • Getsu Rando: Fuma's older brother and the core of the game's narrative: he's been writing the memories you read engraved on the stones, but he's cursed. Defeating him the first few times is more difficult than doing so with Renge, and his presence is way more dramatic and transcendental. Furthermore, (so far) it's impossible to unlock him as a playable character. The strategy, as well as with Renge, consists of trying to corner him and combining primary and secondary skills. If you're good at "breaking", the best defence is a good attack.

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

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