The Score Attack Mode in Bastion becomes available after you complete the story for the first time. It’s similar to a New Game Plus (NG+) where you play the game again from the beginning.
And like NG+, you also get these perks:
- You get to keep your owned idols and spirits when starting the Score Attack Mode.
- All buildings can be built in any order, and they have their “True” form unlocked. Later on, using Shards on them also gives you 2500 fragments each.
The above two are the only benefits that Score Attack shares with an NG+.
Beyond those things, Score Attack Mode also comes with its own challenges:
- You start the mode at Lv. 1.
- All your weapons and upgrades are gone. You must find them and their materials again in the story levels.
- Story levels are repeatable.
- The user interface now includes a score tracker on the bottom-left.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about Score Attack Mode and how to get the Hard Bargain Achievement.
The Scoring System
Rule #1: You gain points by acquiring XP.
Any XP you gain adds to your score. Most of it will come from killing enemies, but this also includes picking up items:
- +100 XP for Cores and Shards
- +100 XP for mementos (except for the Crystal Barrette, which gives +5 XP only)
- +50 XP for upgrade materials
- +10 XP for tonics while you’re already fully stocked and at full health
Rule #2: You can multiply your points gained from enemies with the combo gauge.
The combo gauge fills up if you keep killing enemies consecutively. It’ll start going down after a few seconds without a kill. Getting damaged will also take away a chunk of the gauge.
You can still restore a portion of it by killing another foe before the gauge runs out.
If the gauge is active, all XP received from enemies will be pooled beside a multiplier. This number increases with every kill. It’ll only come into effect once you allow the combo gauge to run out.
You’ll also use up the multiplier when that happens.
Checking Your Total Score
You can view your total score at any time by pausing and then opening the Leaderboards. From there, select “Score Attack Mode”.
You’ll then see your highest total, along with those of other players as well.
Note: This won’t show the breakdown of your score. You’ll have to revisit a level to know your score from that specific place.
Hard Bargain Achievement
|Earn a total of at least 1,000,000 points in Score Attack Mode
To get the Hard Bargain achievement, your total score from across all levels must reach at least a million points. Only the highest score of each level will count towards the tally.
Note: Redoing a level and getting a new high score will also improve your total.
You can earn around half of the 1 million points amount by playing through to the end, even without idols. For the rest of the points, you’ll need to invoke the idols for their XP boost.
All ten idols will give you a +75% XP gain. This also boosts the score you get from slaying foes.
Increasing Scores from Dreams
You can rack up the total required score from any of the Dreams (Who Knows Where).
Even if you go at them slowly, you’ll still get more than enough for the achievement.
We’ve also created specific guides on each Dream in Bastion:
Increasing Scores from Story Levels
If the Dreams are too hard for you, you can redo certain story levels instead.
But some story levels are focused more on combat and feature plenty of enemies, so you can squeeze out more points from them.
Steam user rarestMeow made a list of estimated points for each level, so we’ve curated the most notable ones from their list:
|The Workmen Ward
|The Melting Pot
|The Tazal Terminals
General Achievement Tips
Tip #1: Play through the entire mode to reacquire your weapons first
Since you start with none of your weapons and upgrades, it’s better to focus on getting those first.
Turn off any idols and speedrun through the game until you finish Zulten’s Hollow.
After that, get your preferred weapons fully upgraded.
Only then should you activate the idols and attempt to get high scores from the levels.
Tip #2: Equip a ranged weapon
Brawling in melee exposes you to damage more often.
On the other hand, ranged weapons reduce that risk. This makes it easier to maintain your combo gauge.
Not only that, but it’s more comfortable too, since you’re not pressured to dodge all the time.
You’ll also be able to spot incoming attacks more often, giving you a wider window to react and defend.
Tip #3: Ignore the minions created by corn bins and hives
There are certain enemies that do not give XP.
These are the Squirts and Stinkeyes that spawn out of corn bins and hives. This was likely done on purpose to prevent players from farming them for points.
So when you’re fighting against them, go straight for the corn bins and hives.
Tip #4: Take your time when challenging the Dreams
Don’t try to rush the Dreams. You’ll receive more damage that way, which hurts your combo gauge.
Instead, try being more careful by taking down enemies one-by-one. You’ll be more efficient at extending your gauge by practicing caution this way.