Die Young features different game mechanics, mixing them together to convey the experience to be left alone in a hostile island.
Playing as Daphne, an athletic girl with a passion for climbing and other extreme activities, the player can run, jump and climb with the agility of a freerunner.
Being trained by her father since she was a kid, Daphne knows more than one trick to survive in the wild, including gathering resources and crafting tools. Obviously, she's not as strong as most of her enemies, but she knows how to defend herself both in melee and ranged combat, if necessary.
The ability to run, jump and climb on things is what makes Die Young's gameplay pretty dynamic at its base. Daphne has a good stamina from the beginning, and she can run faster than the other human enemies in the game; only dogs and wolves manage to be close on her tail, and that's when jumping over fences or reaching higher grounds becomes extremely useful. Escaping from enemies is usually the best option, especially if you find yourself outnumbered.
By default, in Survival Mode, Daphne can run continuously for 32 seconds before depleting the stamina gauge (visit the Difficulty page to check the stamina modifiers for each mode). Once the stamina runs out, Daphne will stop running and you'll need to wait a few seconds before the stamina gauge replenishes enough to start running again.
|Tip: to increase your stamina for running you can equip Sneakers and Running Shoes. Also remember that other wearable items, like the Gas Mask and the Body Armor, negatively affect stamina.|
Daphne can climb on pretty much any flat surface up to 2.5 meters, and she can perform fairly long jumps.
|Tip: during the game you may face few difficult jumps that require you to leap at the very last moment; once you find the right timing for jumping (usually a step further from where you would instinctively jump) the game becomes a lot easier.|
One thing to always take into account is fall damage. Falling from more than 5.5 meters causes Daphne to lose health. The damage amount increases depending on the height of the fall; however, regardless of your current health, the fall won't instantly kill you unless you fell from 10 meters or your status was critical (less than 5% of health).
|Tip: equip the Kneepads to reduce fall damage.|
Daphne can use her skills to climb on walls - both natural or artificial - provided that there are handholds and ledges, which can be highlighted using Perception. By pressing the jump button in front of a handhold, Daphne will enter the climbing mode (Daphne will also automatically grab to a handhold if you reach it after a leap). In this mode you can move horizontally along the ledge or climb vertically above you if there's a handhold close enough to be reached without jumping. To jump from one handhold to another, point your cursor towards a handhold around you. If the cursor changes its shape (like two arrows pointing outwards) that means that you can safely press the jump button to let Daphne climb on that hold.
|Tip: if you don't see any "safe handhold" around you, remember that Daphne can automatically grab on any handhold or ledge that is on her reach after a "free fall" jump. Few times you'll have to take your chances a take a leap of faith.|
Climbing, like running, consumes stamina. Hanging from a handhold slowly decreases your meter, while jumping handhold-to-handhold will consume a fixed amount of stamina (this is why you should jump only if necessary, and use directionals to move whenever possible). If the gouge reaches zero, Daphne will loose her grip and fall.
|Tip: equip the Climbing Gloves to greatly improve your stamina in climbing. DO NOT equip Working Gloves, which are not suitable for climbing.|
Being set on a sun-drenched Mediterranean island in summer, the survival aspect of the game is mainly focused on hydration (hunger is not an issue for the story takes place across few days; food is just one way to recover health). The hydration gauge is a blue circle around the health and stamina meters. The hydration level decreases faster or slower depending on several conditions: faster in sunlit areas, slower in shadowy or indoor ones; faster if running or climbing, slower if walking; faster if the Body Armor is equipped, slower if you wear the Soccer Team Hat.
The hydration gauge can be replenished in different ways:
- drinking from a Water Source (water pumps, natural springs, fountains, water taps, etc.)
- drinking from the Canteen
- consuming food and drinks (Beer Bottle, Beer Can, Canned Food, etc.)
- eating edible berries from plants
- drinking from water pitchers
Every time you do one of the aforementioned actions the hydration will stop decreasing for a few minutes, depending on your Difficulty settings.
When you pick up your first Canteen, a new icon appears in the bottom-right corner of the HUD, indicating how much water can be stored (collecting more canteens lets you store more water). One unit of water will completely replenish your hydration gauge. The Canteen can be refilled at any water source and used whenever you want.
If your hydration level goes under 25% you may start to notice a distortion effect around the screen. At 20% Daphne will say something about her being dehydrated and a tutorial message will pop up advising you to drink as soon as possible. Under 10%, your stamina will decrease a lot faster and your sight will turn very blurry. If the gauge reaches zero, your health will start depleting until you die from a heatstroke.
|Tip: at the beginning of the game, Daphne wakes up in The Well partially dehydrated. Go the Twin Houses to find your first Water Source.|
Apart from hydration, another survival element in Die Young is the inventory management. When you start the game you can carry no more than five items, forcing you to carefully choose what to take and want to leave behind. The same goes for raw materials you need for crafting, which are limited to one, three or five, depending on your starting Difficulty Mode and type. However, not long after the beginning of the game, you can acquire a Backpack and a Utility Belt to increase the number of inventory slots. Upgrades can also be crafted in order to store more items and materials (up to 24 slots for common items).
One last survival aspect in the game is sleeping. In Die Young, game time and real time are the same (one minute in the game is one minute in real life); however there's no full day-night cycle. At 8:30 pm, Daphne says something about her being tired and that she should look for a safe place to spend the night. At this point, Campfires are disabled for saving and you're urged to find a Shelter before the sunset, at 9 pm. Once you entered a shelter, select "Sleep" and Daphne will wake up the next morning at 8 am.
However, if you find yourself outside a shelter after 9 pm, Daphne will be too tired to go on and she'll decide to sit and get some sleep; the screen turns black and you can hear Daphne waking up in the middle of the night a few second before being attacked by an unidentified person (probably someone from the militia). It ends with a game over screen.
Die Young's crafting system features a total 28 recipes/blueprints, divided in three main categories: pharmacy, tools and miscellaneous. You can craft healing items, weapons, upgrades, etc. by combining a set of 15 Materials, that you can find all around the island (only 13 are available from the start; the last two can be unlocked later in the game by acquiring the Venom Tools and the Lighter).
Recipes and blueprints can be obtained by finding documents, collecting tools or buying them from The Collector. Once obtained, you can browse through them in the Craft section of your inventory. Recipes that have all the requirements and materials available, and thus ready to be crafted, are marked in green color. When you select a recipe/blueprint, on the bottom of the screen you can read a list of items and raw materials needed to craft that specific object; the missing materials are marked in red. If your inventory is completely full, the word "FULL" appears over the icon, meaning you can't craft a new item until you have an empty slot in your inventory.
Thanks to her father's teachings, Daphne can craft few items from the beginning: a Healing Powder and a Crafted Knife. If you selected Adventure Mode when starting a new game, you can also craft a Campfire and Cooked Meat (if you selected Survival Mode, the recipe can be obtained later in the game, at The Watchtower).
Although being an option, engaging in combat is rarely the best way to advance in the game. A better way to approach enemies is sneaking past them unnoticed. A powerful feature called "Perception" lets you spot potential treats or targets around your location by pressing the LeftAlt-key (or pushing the Right Stick on a gamepad). An orange outline will appear around the targets/enemies nearby, including those behind obstacles (like walls).
|Tip: by default, Perception has a limited range and only works if you are completely still. Using an item called Soma will increase this range and it'll let you use Perception while walking, too.|
Generally, enemies' sight is a 30-meters long cone, with an angle of 120 degrees and a limited horizontal field of view. As Daphne comes into their sight, a white icon of an eye appears above their head, quickly turning orange from the bottom up as long as you are in their field of view (the closer the distance, the faster their reaction). Once the icon is fully orange, it turns red, meaning that they have actually seen Daphne. At this point, you can see both "Chased" and "Detected" written on the bottom-left of the HUD, near your stats.
|Tip: if a member of the militia spots Daphne, he will give a signal that will alert all the enemies nearby. One more reason to play stealthily.|
If you manage to hide yourself from enemies' sight, the icon above their head will turn into an orange exclamation mark, which means that they are still chasing you but not seeing you in your current location (only "Chased" will be shown on the HUD, and the music will start to fade to the sound of Daphne's heartbeat). After losing your sight, the enemies will search your last known location, eventually giving up after 30 seconds or so. Notice that while in "chasing mode", enemies have a slightly increased field of view, and they will spot you immediately in case you come into their sight again.
Apart from common covers, such as walls, crates, etc., Daphne can hide in tall grass too. To do that, crouch where the vegetation is thicker and tall enough to cover you completely. To be sure to be hidden from enemies, check the eye icon on the bottom-left of the screen: if it's white you're visible; if it's grayed out with an X in the center, you're hidden (however, note that if an enemy is really close to you, it may see you anyway).
|Tip: in general, crouching will reduce your visibility by 30%. Wearing the Military T-Shirt will also reduce it.|
As for enemies' hearing, they can usually detect unexpected noises in a 10-meters range in open areas. When they hear a noise, a white question mark will appear above their head, and they will turn towards the origin location of the noise and check the area. Noises produced by Daphne's steps are louder when she's running, quieter when she's walking. Crouching is the most quiet way to move, letting you sneak behind enemies unnoticed.
|Tip: you can also throw objects to distract them. If you're holding a Melee Weapon, pressing the Throw Button will throw a rock.|
Always remember that militia members (Crossbow and Melee militiamen, Trained Dogs) will alert the others nearby, in case they spot you.
Common ways to stealthily kill enemies are: Poison Arrows (or headshots with any arrow), the Poison Needle, and the Poison Bait for dogs and wolves (throw one near them and they will start to eat it; depending on the bait - Lethal or Non-Lethal - they will end up dead or stunned).
|Tip: you can also use interactions between enemies to go past them unnoticed or to slow them down in case they're chasing you. For example, stranded dogs, wolves and boars will attack all human enemies nearby, and Junkies and Militia members will attack each other.|
Engaging in combat is usually a last resort in Die Young, since facing more than one enemy at once may easily get you killed. There are two ways to approach a fight: Melee Combat and Ranged Combat.
Daphne can use each tool as a weapon, making melee combat the commonest way of fighting. Enemies too make use of melee weapons and attacks: Melee militiamen swing batons, Junkies punch, Dogs bite, etc. (for more information, take a look at the enemies' pages). If they can't reach you, human enemies will start throwing rocks.
|Tip: watch out for rocks thrown by big enemies like The Executioner: they deal a lot of damage and they will make Daphne fall!|
The attack damage is different for each weapon, and changes depending on your Difficulty level (there's also a specific modifier you can customize in the option menu). The same goes for the stamina consumed while attacking. There are two kinds of attacks you can perform: the standard attack and the charged attack. To do a standard attack, just press the Use/Swing button. To do a charged attack press and hold the Use/Swing button until the animation of Daphne rising the weapon is over, then release the button. The damage inflicted with a charged attack is higher (sometimes much higher, like the one with the Harpoon) but the animation is slower than a standard attack; also it consumes more stamina. Every time you hit an enemy, a bar above their head shows the damage dealt and their current health.
|Tip: wear Working Gloves to reduce the stamina consumption in combat.|
If you press the Block button you can also block enemies attacks. The blocking percentage vary depending on the weapon you're holding (you can also block bare-handed, if you want; blocking with non-weapon items counts as blocking bare-handed). When you block an enemy's attack, the damage taken is reduced by this percentage (the best weapons in the game, such as the Pickaxe, can block up to 70% of the damage). However, the blocked damage will reduce your stamina proportionally (the more the blocked damage, the higher the stamina consumed).
When your stamina reaches zero, your attacks will be slower and weaker. Also, your blockings will be useless (note that your stamina gauge will NOT replenish if you keep the Block button pressed!). Remember that each time a weapon hits a target or blocks an attack, its durability will be reduced, so be careful before using a worn weapon in combat.
For detailed information about durability, blocking power, attack damage and stamina consumption of each weapon, visit the Melee Weapons Stats page.
The Crossbow let you kill enemies from a distance. There are three arrow types you can load the Crossbow with: Arrow, Crafted Arrow and Poison Arrow (you can switch between them by pressing the Throw/Arrow button). Crafted Arrows deal less damage, while Poison Arrows can kill an enemy with one shot regardless the body part you hit. Headshots with any arrow will instantly kill any enemy except the big ones (The Executioner, The Beekeeper, Brother Number 3, Cujo).
Aiming accuracy depends on the circumstances in which an arrow is shot. If you're running the accuracy will be lower; crouching will increase it but for maximum precision you can switch to iron-sight by pressing the Aim button (the crosshair expands or shrinks accordingly to accuracy). While in iron-sight, Daphne's movement will be slower and she'll start shacking after a few seconds.
|Tip: remember that while you're holding a Crossbow you can't:
You can also throw rocks or some items at enemies, but the only effective ones are knives (but then you can't retrieve them if you hit the target, so it's not advisable). Throwing Molotovs is a whole different story.
Fire weapons are available for crafting after picking up the Lighter at Pyres Beach (it will appear only after "The Last Trial" task is added to the To-Do List). When the player hits an enemy with this kind of weapons, it will set them on fire and a "fire damage" will be added to the target. The Torch needs a few hits to make the enemies catch fire, while a Molotov will immediately set on fire all the enemies inside its radius (killing everyone except the big ones)
Fire weapons can also be used for non-lethal strategies. Aside from lighting up dark places, holding a Torch towards dogs and wolves will prevent them to attack you from the front. Torches will also let you get close to neutral Junkies without triggering an aggressive reaction. Another use of fires is blocking enemies in tight places.
When a militia enemy spots a fire, he will raise the alarm to the other nearby enemies.