The Ensign - Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Give You a Fighting Chance

Posted by Rob Rich on September 4th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Hello Wasteland Wanderers:
Wondering what we thought of the grueling trial-by-fire that is The Ensign? Then take a look at our review!

The Ensign is the prequel to the smash-hit A Dark Room by Amir Rajan. The game starts with the player’s starship crashing onto a hostile planet. The commanding officer gives up hope, and the player takes charge to refuel the ship so that the crew can make their escape. Using only a meagre amount of supplies you will have to journey through an unknown world with only your compass and wits to guide you.

The Ensign is actually a spin on an old genre of games that saw its heyday in the late-80s and early-90s called “roguelike adventures.” Roguelikes are known for their high difficulty and being unforgiving to any mistakes. Many of them feature permanent death as well, forcing the player to start over entirely from the beginning if they die. The Ensign can be very unforgiving, and players will need to be aware of the limitations of the in-game character if they hope to make it to the end.

These tips will help you face the harsh world of The Ensign. The best advice however, is to not get discouraged. This game, unlike many mobile games, is a very harsh and unforgiving one. It cannot be said to be unfair, though.

Getting Started

  • Food and Water - Food and water, like in real life, are essential to your survival. Every step you take depletes a unit of water and every two steps depletes a unit of food. Managing your food and water correctly is essential to success in The Ensign. Keep in mind that food also counts towards your maximum carry limit.
  • The Map - The game world, like the roguelikes and MUDs of yore, is represented by numbers, letters, and symbols. The best thing to do your first couple of lives is just to explore what the symbols mean and get a feel for where to find help and where to avoid until later.
  • Know your limits - As you get to know the various nuances of the map, try to plan ahead a few steps before you plunge into your next location. Homes marked by (H) and places marked by (P) are great spots to replenish water and gain more loot. Avoid caves if you have no torches. Avoid Armories, marked by (A) if you don’t have the resources and weapons for a fight.


  • The Flow of Battle - Combat in The Ensign is turn-based, which means you have to wait for the meter on your weapons to fill before you can hit the enemy and vice-versa.
  • Weapons - You initially start which just your fists to attack. As you explore more of the map you will uncover various weapons such as swords, knives, and bolas. Each weapon will have its own action bar, which when full will allow you to attack with it. This means the more weapons you have equipped the more chances you will have to attack. Be careful though - each weapon besides your fists has a durability rating, and once that rating reaches 0% the weapon becomes useless. In addition, you can only have one of each type of weapon equipped at once, so if you find a weapon you already have that has a higher durability rating you should swap them.
  • HealingM - You can heal yourself in battle by consuming food for 10 HP. Be careful though, because food is one of the valuable resources you must use to keep yourself alive while out of battle as well. In bigger battles, stronger enemies can sweep you off the field if you’re not careful. Consider spending more food for HP than you normally would in those tougher battles.

Loot and Upgrades

  • Inventory Space - You have a limited amount that you can carry in The Ensign. Although the amount that you can carry can be upgraded as you progress, you will want to make sure that you are always making the best use of your available space. The only time you can drop an item is on a loot screen, so make sure you aren’t holding on to weapons that are at low durability or anything else you don’t need.
  • Upgrades - To survive this harsh world you are going to need to become stronger. The specific items used for basic upgrades are eyes, teeth, and flesh. 10 eyes will upgrade your sight, 10 teeth will upgrade your melee skills, and 10 flesh will upgrade your health. A good way to accrue these items is by finding and clearing out towns on the map.


  • Death is Inevitable - You will die many times in The Ensign, but don’t be discouraged. Each time you die you will be sent back to the first moment of the game, but the world will randomize and your adventure will be completely different from the last.

    The Ensign

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Released: 2014-08-17 :: Category: Game


iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

The Ensign screenshot 1

iPad Screenshots

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The Ensign screenshot 2
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