People who think today’s video games are too easy should play 1001 Spikes from Cave Story publisher Nicalis. As the title implies, the developers gives you 1,001 lives to essentially beat the game, but it’s fool’s gold. Not only will you die, but you’ll soon get careless and waste an untold number of lives, because after all, you have 950 left, right? Then that number drops to 800, then 650, 458, 300 and wow, you’ve spent nearly 1,000 lives trying to beat what is basically the Dark Souls of 2D platformers.  

We can’t prevent you from meeting your demise, but these 1001 Spikes tips will stop the bleeding, at least momentarily. 

Tip #1: Accept the fact that you’ll die

If you’re the type of gamer who throws the controller after dying, 1.) you need to chill, and 2.) death is a part of virtual life in 1001 Spikes. The sooner you realize this and learn from your mistakes, the more enjoyable the game becomes. Even the best players will croak numerous times. Relax. 

Tip #2: Know your jumps 

1001 Spikes hero Aban Hawkins has a long and medium jump, and you need to know which one to use for every situation. Jump too high and you might get impaled with a poison dart. Jump too short and you’ll plummet into a pit. The developers mapped each type of jump to a different button, so don’t get confused. 

Tip #3: Learn from your mistakes 

It’s practically impossible to achieve a flawless run the first time you experience a level in 1001 Spikes. The developers seem to take delight in surprising you with an assortment of traps. Thing is, the levels don’t change, which gives you the chance to memorize spike, dart and enemy placements so you’re read the next time through. Bottom line, you need to pay as much attention to a stage as possible. 

Tip #4: Don't attack enemies up close 

Creatures like the scorpions will immediately change direction when you shoot them, and you don’t want to be close by when that happens. One hit results in death, so put some distance between you and your prey.   

Remember, you don’t have to kill all of the enemies to complete a stage. Sometimes it’s best to leave them alone.

Tip #5: Analyze each board before making a move 

It’s easy to (as the saying goes) paint yourself into a corner in 1001 Spikes and become unable to beat a stage. Case in point, pushing a block all the way up against a wall when you should have left space on either side. This might prevent you from making a long jump or reaching a high ledge. 

This also carries over to recognizing spike and dart locations. If you know that spikes pop out from one block, stop jumping on it. 

Mistakes are bound to happen. Just make sure you make the necessary corrections. 

Tip #6: Pay attention at all times 

Don’t play 1001 Spikes while talking on the phone, watching TV or doing anything that doesn’t involve devoting your full attention to the game. Distractions result in careless mistakes you cannot afford to make.