You’re minding your own business rolling up a mountain driving your wheel machine thingy (called a Boulder), when suddenly, a giant zombie causes you to turn back… and a landslide happens! Will you escape or will you get buried under tons of debris?
Famed mobile game developer ZeptoLab, the creators of Bullet Echo, CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars and Cut the Rope, comes to you once again with another fun game to play and explore: Downhill Smash. Enter a vaguely post-apocalyptic world where you crush, obliterate, destroy, and escape hordes of zombies in your Boulder whilst trying to stay away from the impending landslide.
Its fast-paced gameplay should keep you on your toes as failure will guarantee you your demise. Are you ready to roll from the clutches of death as you clear your path of the undead horde?
If you’ve found yourself stuck by the mountainside without any fuel left and you’ve picked up this Downhill Smash guide, read on and hopefully you’ll get to the bottom of this!
1. Get Acquainted With The Controls
The first order of the day is for you to get acquainted with how the Boulder works.
The Boulder — A marvel of technological achievement. It’s fast, it’s weighty, it’s every zombie and building’s worst nightmare! To some people (like you), the Boulder probably sounds quite impressive. That’s because it is!
Allowing it to barrel down the mountainside whilst mowing zombies down slices them to pieces thanks to the miniature axes built within its body. That’s right, this wheel-bodied wonder slices, dices, and minces zombies and debris as it rolls. The game allows you to do this simple act of travel by holding down the screen.
Letting go of the screen slows the boulder down. In some cases, this is useful (we’ll tell you why soon), but in most, never stop rolling or you’ll be caught in a landslide just like the photo below.
This cause of death is quite common to Boulder drivers like you and us and that’s because we get slowed down by excessive amounts of zombies, stone parts in architecture, and other huge things that stand in our way. Jumping is an important mechanic as well, but we’ll extensively cover that bit in a few bullets or so.
What’s your real goal, though? Is it to kill all the zombies? Destroy all the buildings? No, of course not! Your goal is to survive, and the farther you go, the more rewards you will earn.
2. Go As Far As You Can
Getting far here in Downhill Smash is always a feather you can wear in your cap.
Sure you’ll encounter that one oddity in the physics of the stage, but overall, getting far in each level is a matter of skill. How you drive your Boulder through the zombie horde doesn’t mean that you should be holding the screen down all the time, sometimes you will need to let gravity take control.
For instance, let go of the screen as your Boulder falls from a great height or rolls downhill. Not only will you activate your Release weapon, you will also build momentum. This momentum will carry you forward as well as conserve fuel. Fuel is quite important, and we will talk about that later.
When the landslide claims you or if you run out of fuel, you should be able to see how far you are from the end as well as be rewarded. This should be a motivation factor for you to do better on your next run or try a different loadout.
Speaking of loadouts…
3. Pick A Loadout You’re Comfortable With
Because the Boulder is such a magnificent piece of state-of-the-art machinery, it’s highly customizable.
It has compartments for all sorts of weapons that allow it to be a small, rolling, mobile fortress. It’s these weapons that keep it safe from the zombie horde and help it bust through the walls of many abandoned structures. With that said, there are three ways weapons can be activated:
- Hold – This weapon activates while you are holding your finger on the screen.
- Release – Upon releasing your finger from the screen, the weapon activates.
- Auto – This weapon fires at fixed intervals and doesn’t require any manual activation.
The key to using your weapons here is having a versatile loadout that fits any situation you’re in. For example, having one of all three would be a very balanced loadout, giving you the chance to clear the way while you’re accelerating and while you’re letting your momentum move you.
If versatile isn’t your type, you may opt to have two Hold-type weapons and one Auto. Your weakness here is you might not be able to use any weaponry if you’re making your Boulder roll on its own. Likewise, having a full Auto loadout might sound like a dream, but you may have to rely on your Boulder’s raw stats.
As far as weapons go, you can actually make these stronger as you progress. The next item in this guide will teach you how.
4. Buy New Weapons, Upgrade Old Ones
Upgrades! Who doesn’t love them?
In many games, they’re what keep us moving and feeling like a superhero. The more upgrades we use on our main character, the better. In this case, the thing receiving the upgrades isn’t the driver of the Boulder, but the Boulder itself. For the Boulder’s upgrades, we’ll talk about that next. In this item, we will tackle the fun part about the Boulder: its impressive arsenal of weapons.
How else will you take the zombie menace out? Just by running them over? That could be fun but nothing screams deadly efficiency than the loud, whirring sounds of the Boulders weapons. It’s got guns, spikes, electric bolts, bombs, and more! But with such a large amount of weapons to choose from, do we have to use all of them to keep the zombies at bay?
Not necessarily, no. Besides picking a loadout that suits the way you drive your Boulder (see the previous item), it’s important that you at least buy new weapons you can afford. You’ll be able to diversify your loadouts that way.
Aside from that, you might wanna try taking your old weapons and upgrading them to the max. They’ll be on par with their more sophisticated counterparts until you unlock more powerful versions of them later on. After all, the buildings and zombies will get much stronger as you progress through the game.
But don’t forget to upgrade the Boulder itself! The weapons will be useless if you find yourself constantly out of fuel by the mountainside!
WARNING: Be careful where you tap while you upgrade your weapons. You may accidentally spend your gems. You will be needing those.
5. Prioritize Certain Upgrades For Your Boulder
This is where we talk about the Boulder as a whole because your weapons aren’t what carry the Boulder but the other way around.
The Boulder is like every other car out there. It’s got a gas tank, an engine, mass, hydraulics, and miniature axes covering it. Okay, maybe not that last part, but you get the idea. If you want to see to the efficiency of your Boulder, you should prioritize a couple of its upgrades over the other. The list below will be arranged from highest priority to lowest priority:
- Fuel – This is the most important part of the Boulder. Failing to upgrade this is a death sentence to you since running out of fuel automatically means you will be left by the mountainside for the landslide to finish you off.
After a couple of upgrades or so, your Boulder will be assisted by a fuel drone that will come around to refill it every time it runs out. The number of fuel drones is indicated by a number by the Boulder’s fuel gauge on the upper right every time you go downhill.
- Damage – Damage indicates the sharpness of the miniature axes covering your Boulder’s exterior. The higher the damage, the easier it is for your Boulder to mince through the zombies.
The real problem with zombies is that if they remain alive and attached to your Boulder, they will slow it down by a great deal. Until they’re in pieces, you won’t be moving at top speed. Never neglect this factor and pour in your resources, a lot of your resources, into it.
- Mass – Do you remember your physics class? Neither do we, but mass is a very important factor for your Boulder. More mass means more momentum. The zombies and buildings will have a more difficult time stopping you. Not upgrading your mass will make your Boulder hit like a papiermaché prop from school, so make it big, make it chunky.
- Engine – Speed is partly the heart of survival in this game. Speed helps you gain momentum which is quite useful when you wanna go downhill without the need to accelerate. It also helps you get through the zombies and buildings that block your way. Combined with mass, speed will help carry you forward… literally. Without it, you’ll be a landslide victim in no time.
- Coin Fabricator – Coin fabricator is a pretty good thing to invest in. The moment it becomes counterintuitive is when you choose to watch ads to boost your earnings after each run. While it’s good to upgrade this once in a while, it isn’t as important as the other stats.
- Jump – Jumping isn’t needed all too much. Aside from the points we will discuss in a few sentences or so, if you can destroy the obstacles in your Boulder’s path, you won’t need to jump. The upgrades merely reduce the cooldown of which the Boulder makes a full-powered jump.
While that sounds useful, a small jump with enough momentum made should do you just as good. Don’t upgrade the jump too much as it’s also the most expensive stat of your Boulder.
With fuel being the most important and the jump being the least important, you could rearrange these yourself to see which suit your needs as you do your runs. Some people really love the thrill of speed and crushing zombies along the way, so engine and damage will become priorities whereas mass and coin fabricator may take a backseat.
Your goal is survival. But what will save you when level design comes to kill you?
6. Be Observant
Memorization and observation — these are the yin and yang to success in most video games.
They help us keep our wits about during a difficult level, a boss, and maybe learn a few new techniques here and there that we eventually use to overcome the level. This certainly does not apply to games where the levels are procedurally generated*. Thankfully, Downhill Smash does not use such a feature.
Each level has a pattern bearing fixed points with jumps and giant zombies that exist to block your path. If you fail to kill these giants in time, they will kick you into the landslide. The jumps, however, should help you strategize when you want to get past certain parts of a level. For instance, some tall buildings may appear downhill in stages 2 and 3, so barreling through them at a high enough speed (preferably with a Chainsaw or Phase Blades) should get you past them no problem.
One other thing you should take note of is that some of the pickups arranged in arrow patterns don’t always lead to the best possible paths through the level. In stage 3, for example, following an upward jump (instead of finding a specific hole earlier in the level) may lead you into a dead end that drops you straight into the landslide. Unless you find the aforementioned hole that will allow you to safely pass under the drop, you’ll find yourself failing this level every time.
If a level has you stumped and you can get past zombies and buildings without a hitch, take a step back and try analyzing the level itself. You wouldn’t wanna spend 10 gems for a revive.
Gems? Oh, we forgot that you can use those! Our next two items on this guide will discuss what you can use gems on and how you can earn them.
*NOTE: Procedurally Generated means it’s created completely at random using algorithms in the game’s engine. Examples of games that have procedurally generated levels and maps are Terraria, Minecraft, Downwell, Soul Knight, Otherworld Legends, and Cardinal Quest II.
7. Complete Missions
A lot of games nowadays don’t truly have an end. To keep the players playing the game, the developers have to implement a special kind of incentive. This may come in the form of quests, objectives, or in Downhill Smash, missions.
These missions detail a special set of conditions for you to fulfill. After completing any of them, you will be awarded with gems and you’ll be given a new mission of the same nature but of higher caliber. Say your current mission is to kill 1000 zombies.
Completing this will get you some gems while bumping up your next zombie kill count to 2000. This should be a quick and fun way to earn gems since killing zombies can get pretty cathartic, especially when you’re experimenting with weapons.
You’ll find yourself completing these missions more and more as you play the game, so you won’t have to worry too much about checking on these every now and then. Just take a peek at the list and remember which one of these you might be close to finishing. After all, “some gems” is better than “no gems”. Don’t sweat the missions too hard, you also earn more gems by completing parts of the stages.
Because you will be earning gems from doing these, what should you spend them on?
8. Spend Your Gems On Things That Matter
As it goes with most premium currencies, any mobile game having them will try to throw various ways for you to spend them on trivial stuff. This is what we need to avoid here.
Sure you can spend 10 gems on a revive or a couple more to double your rewards, but why spend it on those when you can spend these on better weapons?
Newer, better weapons may cost either gold (which we talked about earlier) or gems. The ones that require gems to purchase are seemingly more complex and quite powerful, more so than their gold-bought counterparts. An example of this would be the Phase Blades; when you’re able to buy them, they should help you cleave through any building you may come across, be it made of wood or stone. Just be sure to preview the weapon you’d like to buy before you actually buy it, so you’ll have an idea of what you’re getting.
Now then, if you’re low on gems and you wanna save up, is there any way you can acquire free bonuses except for the new weapons?
9. Watch Ads For Boosters, Bonuses, And More
Hold up! We know what you might be thinking, but hear us out first: this is a good thing. One thing that stands true is that nobody likes ads. Nobody.
Okay, maybe that statement is an exaggeration. But in this day and age, ads are almost everywhere. If they’re not on TV, they’re in our YouTube videos, they’re on social media, they’re on our forum posts. Heck, they’re on this very website. Most importantly, ads have invaded gaming overall.
From in-game ads in Street Fighter V to credit card banners appearing in League of Legends, ads have become a bane to many players worldwide. One of the most constant types of advertising in a game would be having to watch commercials in mobile games, and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about.
Downhill Smash has its share of in-game advertising. By watching these short, short videos, you’ll be rewarded with a lot of cool stuff. You can gain an extra life for free, you can gain a boost for your current run, you can even double your gold reward as we discussed in a previous item. But the best part about all this is the VIP Rewards feature pictured above.
By watching a series of ads, you can get varying amounts of gold and gems all through the simple action of watching ads. While this does sound boring and maybe tedious, its practicality outweighs all its negatives. Earning the amount of gold and gems here should give you that necessary boost to get past the stage you’re currently in. Think of this as a break from all that zombie squishing.
But no matter how many times you try, will you ever be good enough? The answer to that is to…
10. Never Give Up
It’s no lie that many games nowadays are quite difficult. They were even more difficult back then, especially games that were designed to suck up as many quarters from your wallet as possible. Even up until this day, frustration abounds in almost every game we play.
Do you keep getting kicked into the landslide? Do you always miss that one jump? Do buildings hold you up every single time? Are you not killing zombies quick enough? Take a step back and analyze your Boulder. Think of its weapons and how they work and perhaps you might come up with a better combination. Get in that bad boy and try, try, try, try again.
That’s right, our last piece of advice is kinda cheesy, but it’s true; if you really want to see what comes next after the hills you’ve passed and the drops you’ve fallen from, you should never ever give up. Persistence is the name of the game (wait, it isn’t Downhill Smash?) and only the most persistent will see themselves at the foot of the mountain. Keep trying and work through your weaknesses. You’re bound to find your way.
Downhill Smash, overall, is quite a challenging game. You will need to familiarize yourself with your Boulder and go as far as you can to reap better rewards. With regards to weapons, pick out the ones you’re comfortable using and keep them updated and upgraded. If you want to make the most out of your Boulder’s upgrades, remember that its fuel capacity should be top priority.
All of these will be tested as you go through each level, but make sure you take note of specific parts of the level so you don’t make the same mistakes as you did last run. If you’re looking to earn gems, try completing missions and watching ads using the VIP rewards feature. Ads are your friends! The battle will be uphill (metaphorically anyway) so don’t yield to failure and keep trying different, new things with your Boulder.
That’s it for this Downhill Smash guide! If there’s anything we’ve missed on how to operate your Boulder, kill zombies faster, or destroy buildings quicker, leave your tips in our comment section beneath this guide!