These are a few tips to help you master Descenders.
Many situations require different jumps, depending on your momentum, the ramp, the landing area etc.
- Bunny Hop: The basic jump, just hold down your right stick, then push it up when you want to jump. The higher up on the ramp when you push up the stick, the higher you'll go.
- Moon Jump: This long jump is incredibly important to learn. Useful in many situations like BikeOut's second obstacle or many career jumps, execute it like you would a bunny hop, but push up the right stick at the beginning of a ramp. You can learn this while completing a challenge from the No More Robots Pro Tour.
- Light Jump: Makes a little jump. Instead of holding your stick down, just push it down then immediately push it up.
- No Jump: Don't bunny hop, just let your bike fly off the ramp. Useful when you got too much speed before a jump (or in the "don't brake/do not release the acceleration button" missions).
- Counter-pumping: Hold the right stick up when you are about to land, it will significantly soften the impact. Doing so, you might land jumps you wouldn’t survive otherwise. This is very important to learn, and is relatively hidden (but can be found under Extras --> Advanced Tips).
- Controlled braking: To lose speed in a precise and controlled fashion, instead of holding down the brake, just tap it repeatedly.
- Full braking: The most efficient way to lose speed - slide while braking.
- Safe respawning: In career mode, if you are off-road and can't get back on track, or are blocked, you can press the respawn button (see here for the platform-appropriate binding). If you can safely do so, this will get you back to a checkpoint WITHOUT depleting your lives.
- How to handle difficult tracks: If you want to survive on hard tracks, RIDE AT YOUR OWN SPEED! The key to mastering Descenders is to master your speed control; therefore, if you aren't comfortable with taking obstacles at a fast speed, then don't; take it in a slower and more controlled manner that you are more comfortable with. If you are not in a good position to take a ramp/ obstacle or don't have enough speed, find a way to avoid it.
- Every jump and obstacle needs a certain amount of speed. Too much and you will most likely fly out and bail; not enough and you won't pass it. Figure out what is the appropriate speed for the obstacles/jumps, and don't be afraid to slow down if necessary. Sometimes, the “drone fly” though the stage at the beginning of a node is important to view, so you can better prepare yourself for the obstacles that are there, especially for a boss jump node (that you may have reached for the first time).
- Finish-line trick: You can perform a trick a little bit before the finish line to get a little bit more Rep. However, do exercise caution; if you hit the finish gate, you may lose a life even if the run finishes.
Other general tips
- Try and get used to the control scheme instead of focusing on Rep gain. The more control you have over your bike, the more Rep you will typically gain anyway.
- Play around with the camera view. Some points of view make the game easier on certain maps or modes, while others make it harder. For example, the First person view cam is absolutely horrible. Generally speaking, the best camera view is with the Drone, which gives you a third-person view and allows you to pre-empt incoming obstacles. However, in certain conditions First person view may actually help you, for example in a nighttime track.
Crew Member tier list (subjective)
- Not all crew members are equally useful. Here is a chart by Gardalice, sorting the crew members into various tiers with explanations, and this rule of thumb can be followed for both rep-gain and regular play. This isn't a be-all and end-all guide, due to everyone's differing playstyles, but it is useful if you want to improve your modifier selection.
|Landing Impact||S (Priority for Survivability)||One of the most important crew members to have, which increases the amount of force your bike can take before bailing; combining with Pump Strength (or even just normal counter-pumping) allows you to survive jumps that you might normally bail from otherwise.|
|Fewer Obstacles||S||Less clutter, more chances to steer away from danger when going offroad. (Don't you just hate all those rocks?) Increases load time slightly, but that's a minor trade-off.|
|Speed Wobbles||S||Allows you to go faster without being thrown off course due to the micro-adjustments from the terrain. Great for lining up boss jumps, off-road maps, and just accelerating in general. It's easier to complete bonus objectives that require you to achieve a certain top speed with this crew member.|
|Prevent Modifiers||S in Career, Garbage in Career-Plus||Where's The Path modifiers on Canyon and Peaks can be incredibly dangerous; this prevents them outright. On Career-Plus, there are no storm or no-path nodes.|
|In Air Correction||A (Rep gain and maintaining speed)||Straightens your bike out faster, potentially saving you if your jump angle is awkward - especially if you do berm jumps.|
|Bunny Hop||A||Combine with Landing Impact to jump (and survive) massive leaps; combine with Spin Speed and Pump Strength for amazing stunts.|
|Spin Speed||A||Makes longer spin tricks like double backflip or 720 easier/faster to perform, yielding more Rep.|
|Tweak Speed||A||Not great on its own, but when combined with Spin Speed it becomes A-tier, as it allows for faster acceleration on spins. With enough speed, 1080s on regular jumps even become possible!|
|Smoother Curves||A||Straightens the curves and makes it easier to go fast. Combines well with Speed Wobbles and Extra Steepness, and also stacks with Less Curves.|
|Less Curves||A||Generates less (scary) curves and decreases loading time. Stacks with Smoother Curves to make Kinetic Trails into straight tracks, allowing for insane speeds.|
|Pump Strength||S with Landing Impact, A otherwise||Increases counter-pumping's potency by a bit. When combined with Landing Impact, allows you to survive huge jumps with ease if counter-pumping is timed right. On its own, helps you to build up speed when you slow down too much, maintaining your multiplier.|
|Wider Path||B (Optional modifiers)||Makes berms and curves higher, and is good up to the Canyon. On Peaks, this does not stack well with high steepness and curves levels, since the map may have a curve on a steep downhill section which can be dangerous to safely navigate. However, it does stack well with Less Curves/Smoother Curves, if combined with Extra Steepness.|
|Extra Steepness||B||Good for going fast and racking up high speed points. However, this does not stack well with Wider Path on Peaks. With Smoother Curves/Less Curves, this can result in insanely fast levels if the level has a Curves rating of 3-4.|
|Off-Road Friction||C (Technical)||Good for maintaining speed when off-road, but can be tricky to utilise. Great for speedruns where you just ignore the track and cycle as the crow flies. Stacks well with Extra Steepness, but is only really useful in Highlands and Forest, as going off-road on Canyon and Peaks is often a death sentence.|
|Fakie Balance||C||For beginning players, this is useful to save yourself when you accidentally find yourself biking backwards and need to jump + 180 to save yourself. For experienced players who are used to the default fakie controls, this helps them rack up big points easier. In terms of survivability though, this isn't that useful in the long run, as riding Canyon and Peaks backwards can prove to be fast and curvy.|
|Wheelie Balance||C||Increases the threshold for tipping over, meaning that you can stoppie non-stop while descending the Peaks. Wheelies themselves aren't great, but can still help you maintain your multiplier.|
|More Team Nodes||D (Daily) in Career, Garbage in Career-Plus||This crew member only comes into effect next world, so ideally it is best acquired when you are in the Highlands. Can help with daily challenges requiring max steepness tracks, minibosses, or rival sponsor nodes. Stacks well with Scout Nodes, making them easier to find. Team Nodes do not exist in Career-Plus.|
|Scout Nodes||D||Only good for finding bonus nodes easier, whether to beat them (Medic Camp, Team Node, Fire Node) or avoid certain ones (Helmet Cam). Stacks well with More Team Nodes.|
|Extra Stunts||D||Good for areas like Highlands where you can potentially generate extra minibosses, with the Castle giving you up to 3 miniboss clears (King of the Castle, To the Window, To the Wall). Bad for Forest and Peaks, especially if you are not used to the "bogey" stunts (rocks and logs in Forest, Enemy pits on Peaks).|
|Heavy Bail Threshold||Garbage||Raises the threshold for losing 2 lives and more from a bail, from 50 km/h to 60+ km/h. Your goal ideally is not to bail, and even if you do, you'll generally be going at speeds faster than 60 km/h in the Canyon and Peaks anyway. While more useful for newbies due to their relative inexperience, remember that this takes away one crew member slot that could be used to improve your rep gain.|
|More Checkpoints||Garbage||Your goal isn't to bail, so you should not really need these.|
|Show Compass||Garbage||Following the path ensures you won't get lost. If you get lost in Forest however, just ride the track downhill; the finish gate will be not too far off from where you end up.|