The Second Sky: Jumping Three

Still in that mine. I’ll probably move on tonight, just to start making progress again, but it’s a little galling to leave with just one puzzle left undone. It’s a doozy of a puzzle, at least. Just as seemingly-impossible as killing the Slayer in Journey to Rooted Hold. I mentioned in my last post how you can use a mimic with a pickaxe to move two spaces on one turn. This puzzle comes down to using two mimics with pickaxes to move three spaces.

I won’t post a screenshot of the room here, because I’ve already posted one. The central problem here is that you need to get through two rows of pressure plates to reach the monsters. The first row opens a door on the right that lets a monster onto another pressure plate that makes it impossible to finish the puzzle. The second row of pressure plates closes that door, but if you just walk from one plate to another, it’ll be too late. The monster will already be through the door. The only way to keep it from getting through is to close the door on the same turn that you open it. That means walking three squares north in one go.

Now, the obvious approach is to take the solution for moving two spaces with one mimic and iterate it: you move forward, the mimic behind you moves forward and give you a push, the mimic behind it moves forward and gives the first mimic a push which causes it to push you again. (It must be noted pushing a mimic stuns it for that turn, preventing it from moving under its own power. So the movement sequence has to go from front to back, and that means that Beethro, who initiates the movement, has to go in front.) But there are complications. Mainly, that the two-step solution requires a trick that isn’t easily chained. A mimic tries to move exactly like you, and that means preserving its distance from you. You can’t push something while preserving your distance to it; that’s following, not pushing. So you have to trick the mimic into moving closer to you by exploiting obstacles that keep it from imitating your moves exactly. If you move northwest, and the mimic can’t move northwest because there’s a pit there, it’ll move straight north instead. This can push you, if you started in the right place. But the second mimic can’t pull the same trick on the first. If it’s directly behind the first, so that it also moves north, it’ll just preserve its distance. If it’s to the southeast, it’ll try to push the first mimic northwest, which might wind up pushing it north instead if the obstacle to the northwest is solid. But in this puzzle, it’ll just successfully push it northwest into the pit.

There’s one technique I’ve found that gets around this partially. I call it spring-loading. If mimic A tries to push mimic B north, and there’s a solid obstacle directly north of mimic B, then B cannot be pushed and it’ll wind up occupying the same space as A’s pickaxe. (Weapons occupying filled spaces is not unusual; Beethro has always been able to swing his sword into walls.) They are now in a configuration that lets mimic B move north two squares: B moves north, winding up directly in front of A’s pickaxe, then A pushes B north. Of course, in order to actually do this, the obstacle to the north has to go away. But we have one movable object that counts as a solid obstacle: Beethro, as long as you’re not moving weapon-first. The problem then becomes that we need Beethro to be an obstacle one turn and then push him with a pickaxe the next.

However, with the right placement, this is doable! And I have in fact successfully used spring-loading to move Beethro three squares at a time. The only problem is that I can only do it in a place where there are obstacles to both the left and right, and that’s a condition that only exists too far from the pressure plates to do any good. I suspect that the solution involves somehow using those obstacles at the back end of your chain and extending your reach a little by pushing the room’s lone powder keg ahead of you, like the puck in a game of recursive hockey.

Anyway, the important thing is that I’ve written all that down, and thus feel like I can move ahead without losing my progress toward figuring it out.

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