Mission in Space: The Lost Colony is one of the newest strategy games on Kongregate, and one of the most awesome. It has surprisingly deep strategy for a game that is seemingly quite simple. An it just got an impossible badge too. All the more reason to try this game!
I was slightly surprised that there wasn’t a strategy guide, or even a topic, about this game yet. So I decided to write one. It’s still a work in progress, but I hope it can help some players.
It took me a while, but I did manage to get the impossible badge after retrying the last few levels a number of times. Most missions are quite doable once you get the hang of the game. Especially with a sufficiently high level. The hardest missions are probably 9 and 12.
Taking the right skills is the most important part of doing well in this game. Not all skills are born equal. Luckily you can reset as often as you want, to try out different configurations.
Taylor Sprint is a nice skill, but only with the ‘quick and alert’ upgrade. The game calls Taylor a scout, and that is his ideal role. As a result he will spend most of his turns on alert, making an unupgraded sprint not very useful, but a fully upgraded sprint invaluable. He’ll be just as fast on alert as your other characters are normally. The shotgun synergizes perfectly with this. With upgraded shotgun and sprint he can operate compeletely on his own without any trouble. Use his movement to position yourself so that enemies will just be unable to reach you, then take them out with the shotgun next turn, for only 1 AP.
Self-control may seem like another good synergy with this, but it is in fact very bad. The shotgun never misses, so enemies close to you are not a problem. Do not take this skill. Ever.
Farro The game calls him a specialist, but I generally use him in mostly the same role as Taylor, as a scout, because he can handle himself well even away from the group. Unlike Taylor though he’s also a very good protector, because of his base skill (5 instead of 10 ammo used per shot). He’ll never run out of ammo, and can spend his AP a lot more efficiently because he hardly ever has to reload. So he’s very useful as a rearguard, or to escort weaker party members. His most obvious and best purchasable skill is Sentinel. It’s an expensive skill, but well worth it. Once you have sentinel you’ll rarely want to take Farro out of alert state. It’ll make him much better both as an escort and as a scout.
The flamethrower doesn’t sound too impressive, until you realize that it can take out acid pools. An extremely useful ability on later missions, if you want the medals (which require you to do missions quickly). He can burn out a path for him and the other troops to follow.
Sharp Eye looks good on paper, but it’s pretty mediocre. You’ll want to position your troops so that you fire at 100% accuracy, and sharp eye doesn’t change that. In alert state during the alien turn it allows you to waste slightly fewer shots, but Farro already has infinite ammo, so who cares.
Woods His default skill is pretty bad. I don’t think I’ve used it even once during the entire game. Accuracy simply is not that important. The same goes for the ‘Cry of Self-Control’, except that it is even more useless because it’s so situational. His third war cry, called, rather originally, ‘War Cry’, is ok, but not more than that. The range is quite low, so usually it’ll only be a 1 AP bonus. Good, but there are better skills. So only take this once you already have quite a lot of levels and have run out of better skills for your other units. His other two skills improve his war cries, so obviously only take those once you have War Cry. Neither impress me much though. I generally keep War Cry as an emergy backup, if I find myself suddenly under attack with too few AP. So being able to use it more often is not that important. And even upgraded the range is still pathetic.
As a result, on lower levels Blake is a support character without support skills. Not the best character. Keep him with the group and use him to snipe out aliens to conserve the ammo and AP of the more important members. This role doesn’t change much at higher levels, but once you have War Cry he at least can occasionaly do something that isn’t completely generic.
Blake Blake, like Woods, is a support character. Unlike Woods though, he has a few awesome skills. His base skill is ok, but nothing special. Regeneration is downright bad. If you want the medals, you want to avoid getting hit, not heal away damage. Quickness and Shield more than make up for it though. Speed is very important in this game, and that 1 extra point can really matter. Shield is even more invaluable. Shields protects against acid. I’ll repeat that. Shield protects against acid. Especially Taylor is badly addicted to Shield, because he has a lot of movement but no way to clear acid puddles himself. Without the shield, he’d get stuck more often than not.
Both upgrades for his programs are very good. Longevity is most important. It allows you to end put up shield and not just cross acid puddles, but end your turn in them. And faster activation means more uses, no explanation required there.
Pierce It took me a while to start to appreciate Pierce. His bombs initially seemed more trouble than they were worth, I always ended up blowing up myself. But once you get the hang of using them they are very good. And they complement eachother nicely, because you can use the magnetic bomb on aliens close to you, where with the explosive bomb you would just end up blowing yourself up. It’s important to note that you can place a bomb on one turn and trigger it later. So you can preemptively place bombs at spots where aliens are going to appear.
The bomb trigger uprade is nice, but nothing special. High-Tech explosives is where the money is at though. His default bomb supply is a bit on the low side, and high-tech explosives nicely solves this. Plus it makes triggering free, which is no small bonus.
The upgrades to magnetic bomb I wouldn’t take. You don’t need a bigger radius (in fact, it may be bad. You can’t use them close to yourself anymore), and you don’t need a longer effect either. By the time those 2 turns have passed you should be long gone.
Global Upgrades Not as important as they seem. The extra light and detector range are more luxuries than necessities. If you have spare skillpoints, by all means, take them. But you don’t require them. The armor upgrade is another one that is pure luxury. You aim should be to avoid damage, not mitigate it. The two ammo upgrades are much better, even required at later levels. Without the damage upgrade you won’t be able to 2-shot aliens on hard, so you need it. And the ammo upgrades saves a lot of reloading. Not one of the first skills to take, but not one of the last either.
By hovering your mouse over an alien you can see their range. Use this to see if you need to go to alert or not. Aliens that you can not see can not reach you, even without upgraded detection. The only exception are holes in the wall though. Be careful around those. Aliens may suddenly appear out of them, and can travel 3-4 tiles even if they did not show up on the radar at all the turn before.
It’s tempting to just always put your units on alert mode, and that’s certainly the easiest way to do the mission. But not the fastest. If you want those medals, you have to move fast. So use alert as sparingly as you can. That’s still quite a lot, I rarely do not have at least 2 party members on alert. Remember, alert also saves AP.
Acid puddles are major obstacles on later levels. They can force to you stand still for 2 turns. Not good. So learn how to deal with them. There are 3 ways. You can use Blake’s Shield ability and walk over them. You can use Farro’s flamethrower to blow them up, and you can use Pierce’s bombs to blow them up. Enemies killed by flamethrower or bomb won’t produce acid puddles in the first place. So do not hestitate to use these abilities liberally. Keeping your momemtum is very important. The faster you move, the less time the aliens have to catch up with you.
Another method of dealing with acid puddles is to avoid getting them in the wrong places. This isn’t always possible, but when confronted with the red aliens, always try to position your troops such that he’ll die in a harmless place, instead of in the middle of the path.
The final method is to just shrug it off and eat them. On the last few levels, you are allowed some damage even for a diamond medal (gold on normal). Sometimes eating an acid pool for 10 damage is preferable to having your troops badly positioned, or stuck for 2 turns.
Mission specific strategy
Mission 9 The second hardest mission in the game, in my opinion. Those elevators really ruin your day. I finally managed to get the diamond medal when I get my strategy right. The trick is to send Taylor to an elevator on the first turn. That way he can start clearing aliens and make the landing safe for you other guys. Don’t send him to the elevator nearest to you though, it’s badly positioned. Instead send him to the elevator to your left. With sprint and a movement bonus from Blake you can just make it. Start the mission with a war cry from for extra skillpoints. You should have this upgraded so it lasts 2 turns. This gives Blake 8 AP, enough for 4 Quickness programs, on all party members but himself. Send Taylor the elevator, put him on alert. Send Woods to the right elevator as well, put him on guard just outside it. Pierce can pick up the receiver and also head to the right. The idea is that Taylor will clear the upper floor, Woods protects the lower one, and Taylor can take the elevator up as soon as it’s back.
Send Farro and Blake to the left. Not the middle elevator, but the far left elevator. Put neither on alert. Sometime come in through the hold behind you and hit you. In that case just restart. You can have Pierce drop off a bomb at the entrance of that hole before picking up the receiver. That way if aliens do spawn you can blow up easily (if you have magnetic bombs, use those).
On your second turn, Farro will probably meet a lot of aliens in the narrow corridor to his left. Flamethrower them! Have Blake follow him. Use his movement program on himself so he catches up. Upstairs take Taylor out of the elevator and let Woods call it. Farro can clear the aliens in his room, then try to move towards the middle room.
Third turn, Farro will probably have to flamethrower again. No problem! Flamethrower, removing any acid, then run him forward, out of the way of blake, and in range of the hole in the wall, and finally put him on alert. His job this mission is done. Send Pierce up, and then start moving Woods to the middle elevator.
Next few turns, try to clear up as many aliens as you can with Taylor, while safely getting Pierce to the target. Try to move towards the middle, though you’ll probably have to guard pierce. You should be able to send both Blake and Woods up on the 5th turn. Woods on alert, to distract a few aliens. One up, blake needs 2 full turns to reach the target, so he can’t take any detours and he can’t stop for acid puddles. Use shield if you have it, and a warcry for that vital extra AP (shield + 2 shots for 1 dead alien). You might still fail if you have bad spawns, but you should make it with a few tries at most.
Without a doubt the hardest mission the game. Especially the challenge, that only allows using 30 skill points. I’ll write a detailed guide on this mission soon. One of the reasons it’s so hard is because it requires a quite different playstyle from the other missions. Taylor is now a support character, Pierce a front-line fighter. Another major difficulty is the ranged attack the boss has. Learning how to dodge that is vital for keeping your received damage low.
Any additions or suggestions are welcome. If you have your own awesome strategies, I’d like to hear them!