The basic mechanics of the Nightmare Stages are simple at first. They are easily beaten with good planning, knowledge of some basic tactics, and fast thinking. Later on, the game introduces many different items, block types, and special boss stages which complicate things tremendously.
The goal of each stage is to make it to the top of the tower. The player does this by pushing and pulling blocks to make a stairway; Vincent can only climb one box height at a time, so there are often many blocks that need to be moved before he can scale a wall to the next area.
Blocks that are pushed or pulled to the point where there is nothing underneath them do not fall. They have a unique 'Edge' property, which allows them to stay in the air as long as one of their four edges is touching another block's edge. When this happens, the edge lights up in a spark of blue and the game will call out 'Edge'.
If the block is pushed in a direction where an edge connection cannot be made, it and any other blocks it may have been supporting will collapse.
HangingEditPlayers have the ability to climb down and hang on blocks as well. Vincent can drop down and climb along blocks at any time, but this is most helpful when he pulls a block out and has no supporting block to step back on. Instead of falling to his death, he will grab the edge of the block and can slide around and climb up elsewhere. He can only move sideways, and can only scale a block if there is an empty space for him to climb up.
In Very Easy, Easy and Normal difficulty, the player can press the Select button to undo up to 10 moves that have been made. This is especially helpful when a vital section of the tower collapses due to an incorrect block push, or when the player is trapped without a way to escape.
These are methods of climbing in the Nightmare stages that can be learned on the landings in between levels by talking to the sheep. Some techniques can only be used later in the game as they can be specific to block type.
These can be found throughout the Nightmare stages or purchased on some landings with Enigma Coins. Only one can be carried at a time, but they are retained across floors (not across Stages). Items can allow you to create/restore blocks, climb higher or eliminate enemies instantly.
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