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Old 09-24-2011, 02:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2011
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How to get the world record in campaign mode.

Having spent months on the top of the campaign leader-board unmolested I have decided to write a helpful guide to beating my score, in the interest of competitiveness and stirring interest in this great game again on Steam.

First some general principles:
Always destroy multiple asteroids when possible. On most levels this should involve bumping into asteroids for a bit before you start, to get them as clustered as possible. If it takes me five minutes to do this properly I will spend that time cursing at my monitor, just to get a high score. In addition, if you are using a circle of gravity or just shooting at the clustered meteors take the time to shoot some ions into the corner you`re using before you start, so you have plenty to work with when you start firing. Always gather asteroids if there are no mobs disturbing you and you`ve lost the multiplier.
Alternate between firing and attracting score globes. If you keep the shooter down continuously you`ll lose a lot of points, so take downtime and manouver while gathering points.
Avoid bouncing against walls and asteroids unless absolutely necessary, since this will cause you to lose some control of your ship.
Always play aggressively to maximize score, and do your best to survive the following frenzy of activity. Playing carefully should not really be necessary before Tau Ceti, excepting Crag level four.
Always attack things that shoot or things that spawn more mobs first, followed by things that stalk you before any stationary or passive targets are dealt with.

Gravity circles: Use these to quickly destroy as many of the level`s asteroids as possible after you`ve bunched them together. It seems to work best if all the asteroids are in a corner and when you alternate between using the circle and shooting into the corner. Well executed this can clear all the asteroids on a stage before any mobs can appear, for huge multiplier bonuses.

Mines: Same as with the gravity circles but normally less effective for scoring. You will have to chain the mines together in order to clear a level with three mines, which can sometimes be hard. On the other hand the mines are useful on defense and avoidance as well, since any pursuing mobs are likely to be killed by a well placed mine.

Homing Missiles: Best used for defensive purposes after you have cleared the asteroids and spawned all the mobs for the level. Send them out and try your best to not get killed.

Shield and slow: Save these until you are in avoidance mode after the initial scoring.

Gravity Boost: Works well with the circle or mines as you destroy the asteroids. Always alternate between using the circles and shooting for best results.

After these quick guidelines, here is my level by level guide to Ion Assault. On making it I scored 5,7 million because I was writing notes, but based on my high scoring experiences I estimate at least 8 million as being within the realm of possibility, providing one plays well and does not die a single time.


1: Gather asteroids in a corner, fire from the outside into the corner to keep the asteroids reasonably in place. Get the gravity boost to help and destroy Juggernauts.
This stage is a good test of scoring, since you can restart it as many times as you want. I normally score somewhere between 70 and 125k on this level but I have managed as much as 139k. The difference when added up for all 20 levels is clearly worth trying to perfect the techniques of asteroid herding I have described.

2: Get circle, gather asteroids, use circle, get shield ASAP before dying, kill fighters, get gravity boost, kill collectors.
On my play-through now I had 212k after this level, but 260k or thereabouts should be perfectly doable.

3: Destroy trip mines, get mines, gather, chain mines on the asteroids, destroy portals, get homers but save them for level 5.
I was at 310k after this.

4: Destroy trip mines, get circle, gather, use circle, avoid, get slow. 445k

5: Get mines, destroy collectors, gather, chain mines, avoid, use homers while avoiding, pick up slow and more homing missiles while avoiding. 565k

Finale: Focus on one turret at a time while avoiding the ships coming out. The shield will close when a certain number have spawned so you`ll have to kill some then. Also the shield will repulse ions inside it when it closes so dont go too near the turrets while charging your gun. Stay at an angle when finishing the boss off to avoid getting shot, preferably with a gravity booster for added speed.

At this point one should have at least 600k, but between 7 and 800k is best.


1: Evacuate middle, destroy quadbombs, get mines, destroy quadbombs, gather, chain mines, avoid, use homing missiles.

2: No special weapons available, grind the multiplier and pick up the gravity boost. After this stage you should be over 1 million. If you`re not do a restart and try again.

3: Get mines and circle, gather, use circle, use mines semi-defensively. Avoidance can be hard, get the Juggernaut separated and destroyed ASAP.

4; Use circle initially, alternate fire and circle while avoiding the strikers, get the shield, keep the multiplier after this.

5: The first hard level. Gather asteroids, use circle, pick up circle and homers, use homers on the Juggernauts. Depending on how well the first gathering went or if you`ve lost the multiplier you might wanna stop firing and gather the remains again before using the circle, otherwise proceed just keeping the multiplier.

Finale: Remove lasers, circle boss to kite the missiles into rocks, don`t hit the walls, lasers or asteroids or the boss will launch more missiles.

After this I was at 1,750 mill, but above 2 is doable.


It is generally wise to become slightly less aggressive at this point, especially on some stages. The kalmars in particular have a tendency to flood you if you are too fast with the asteroids, but even that is no problem on the stages where you can find a shield or a slow.

1: Get mines, gather, chain mines, avoid, get shield, beware of hatcher with eggs.

2: Destroy eggs, get homers, gather, use circle, use homers, avoid, beware hatchery.

3: Gather, chain mines, avoid, get circle.

4: Evacuate center, destroy hatcheries, destroy eggs and swarmers, gather, use circle, destroy hatcheries.

5: On my tutorial play-through I died twice on this level, and a more cautious approach would have been better. Avoid dying twice here for high score.
Get mines, destroy the four kalmars, gather, chain mines, get homers, use homers, get homers. Survive the pandemonium better than I just did.

Finale: Clear eggs and swarmers and keep clearing them. Ideally there should be none left when the boss starts moving around. Stay close to the shielding rocks so you can hide quickly, as this is an easy spot in which to waste a life.


Normally this would be the place to go on the defensive and care more about survival than scoring. Generally you`ll lose more points losing a life than whatever you can gain by being gung ho in Tau Ceti.
However, as always the same principles apply and if you can succeed with an aggressive play-style here you`ll beat me easily as long as you don`t die.

1: Destroy turrets and seeker, gather, shoot, get homers, use homers, get homers, survive.

2: Destroy mines, gather, shoot, use mines while surviving as they are good for taking out seekers and other nasty stuff.

3: Circle round the edges destroying turrets, gather, shoot, get shield, survive, get shield, survive.

- At this point I was at roughly 3 million which is a few hundred k too low for a high score, mainly due to note taking. I reckon 3,5 million should be good enough to be on track for beating the high score.

4: Get circle, destroy seeker, gather, shoot, survive, beware mines and seekers. On this stage I clumsily lost three more lives for a total of five lost. For a shot at the high score no more than two lives can be lost due to stupidity, clumsiness, involuntary movements or other anomalies. I have failed therefore and would normally have restarted or taken a break.

5: Gather, shoot, survive, get shield, homers and slow. Use any remaining specials to ensure survival.

Circle round the boss to avoid being trapped by lasers, fully finish one turret at a time, circle to avoid getting shot.

And that`s it. Without my silly deaths I would have been at roughly 6 million, maybe a little less. With 100% focus and no note taking 6 million is fairly easy and even I should be able to reach 7 million on a good day. Surely more competent gamers than I can reach even 8 million or more. Hopefully my humble notes may assist them in this

Last edited by Bentusi: 10-01-2011 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:42 PM   #2
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I have been working some on Tau Ceti because it has always been the main trouble of my record attempts that I can`t make it through there without losing lives, and have worked out a better strategy for accomplishing this. I would also like to correct my statement that two homing missiles spawn on level one as this is not the case.
The amount of specials you receive in Tau Ceti is limited and especially for homing missiles, my main defense against swarms, trash clutter and pesky shooters. The fourth and fifth levels are especially hard to survive at all without this, so the missiles from the first level should be saved for one of these levels. There is a shield on level five that can be used to survive it, but it arrives quite late and staying alive to get it in the dense minefields with several seekers charging you isn`t easy. Anyway this is an argument for using missiles during level four, while in general level five is harder which is one for using them there, even though more missiles do spawn on level five eventually. In any case save some mines for the level you are not using the missiles on, since they can be helpful against the seekers in particular.
In comparison level three has two shields arriving and is therefore very easy to survive, as is level one. This leaves level two as the main obstacle to be survived without homing missiles to clear the trash.
To do this get rid of parts of the minefield when it appears and try to get behind the defenders or kite them, as well as using mines for the worst of it. As soon as the defenders are taken care of clearing the mines is easy enough.

After a lot of hassle and frustration I have finally managed to survive Tau Ceti with no loss of lives and will now try in earnest to maximize my Ion Assault score by not dying at all for the whole game. See you in six months

Last edited by Bentusi: 10-01-2011 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 10-01-2011, 03:56 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2011
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First attempt 6,836,200, and I still lost three lives!

Oh and btw the 5 million achievement is still broken, if any responsible person happens to read this.

Last edited by Bentusi: 10-01-2011 at 04:52 PM.
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