Hard Times is a series of four additional levels that focus on solving harder puzzles than you saw in the campaign, rather than the story. This is a detailed guide on getting through every puzzle in Hard Times, so I would suggest only using it if you get stuck. If you just read it straight through as you play, you might as well not even play Hard Times, as you won’t be solving the puzzles at all. With all that said, I hope this helps those of you who do get stuck and either can’t move on or don’t have the patience to bang your head against a wall for a while trying to figure it out.
A note on phrasing: In one part of one of the levels, you must reverse gravity back and forth several times. When this happens, rather than trying to change the way I say things for each swap, I will refer to up, down, ceiling, floor, etc., based on their position on the screen, not the way Rochard is oriented. So up will always be the top of the screen, down, the bottom, and the ceiling will be on the top of the screen. Therefore, you’ll see things like “drop to the ceiling” or “jump up toward the floor,” which don’t seem like they make sense, but do when you are upside down. Just be aware of that if you’re jumping in and out of this guide.
When you walk right through the first blast door, you’ll see two of the large metal crates that slide up and down tracks, as well as some lasers. This is reminiscent of part of the original campaign, only in that instance, you had four crates to work with. In this case, you have only two, but you have several horizontal lasers to get through. To start, jump on the first crate and let it fall until the laser is right at the top of the crate, then jump to the next. Don’t let the laser go above the crate; if you’re cutting it close, it can sometimes do this right after you jump off the first crate. As the second crate starts to fall, wait until it is far enough down that you are under the laser, then use the G-Beam on the first crate to move it down with you. Pull it down far enough so that you can jump back onto the first crate without hitting the laser, then jump back onto the first crate. You’ll do the same thing but in reverse now: let the first crate fall a little, then G-Beam the second until you can jump onto it again. Finally, just let the second crate fall far enough to block the last laser, then hop off the left side. Walk through the blast door on the right. Congratulations: you’ve just completed your first room.
In the second room, we get to play with gravity. This room can be sort of annoying, and not because of the puzzle itself: there are several little laser drones flying about that will constantly be shooting at you. When you first come through the door, take out the first drone, then slide the grey metal crate on the rails up on the ceiling over to the right so that it overlaps the wooden crate on the ground. Use the console to reverse the gravity, then hop on top of the crates, which should now be stacked on the ceiling. Use a low- gravity jump to jump from the top of the wooden crate to the ledge on the right above the electric floor. This can be a slightly tricky jump, as you will often hit your head on the floor while jumping from the crate, therefore not having the height to make the jump. Just make sure to stand on the far right edge of the crate before jumping.
Once you have made the jump, drop down to the red force field on the ceiling, then use a low-g jump to hit the console and reverse the gravity again. As soon as you fall, quickly run to the left and drop down the opening there before the crate that was above the red force field slides down and blocks it. Be careful, as there will often be another drone waiting down in that little area for you. Kill it, and then take the time to finish off the rest of the drones (three more) and the human enemy waiting for you on the other side of the crate in front of you. Standing to the right side of the lowest crate, use your G-Beam to pull it to the right so that it is about halfway between the console on the ceiling and the ledge on the right. Reverse the gravity using the console on the left side of the room, then go to the console on the ceiling. As you hit the ceiling console, use low-g and run to the right so that you land on the crate you just moved. Then you are a simple low-g jump away from the ledge and the end of Container Chaos!
Shaft Shuffle (Part 1)
This level is all about fuses. There is one sitting on the ground in front of you when you enter the “L337 hanger;” grab it with your G-Beam and plug it into the first socket. Run through the first force field, which is now blue, and grab the fuse through the red force field near the ceiling with your G-Beam. It will turn blue, so you’ll just have to move the fuse down and bring it through the larger field, now red. Drop the fuse inside the small area you are in and use low-g to pick up the large cargo container that is in there too. Throw the container through the red force field onto the electric floor in the next small area, then plug the fuse into the socket above you. Jump through the now-blue force field onto the crate you just placed, then get the fuse the same way you got it before: through the small red force field near the ceiling. Throw the fuse through the red force field to the right into the hole with the fan in the floor, then trigger low-g so that it floats up into the socket on the ceiling. Finally, just low-g jump over the electric floor to finish up that part.
Grab the fuse from the socket and head to the right. In this area, you’ll be G-swinging, so you might as well just toggle low-g on with caps lock rather than holding shift the entire time. What you will need to do is throw the fuse through the red force field near the ceiling, jump through the blue one and grab the fuse again as it falls, throw it into the socket above the next set of force fields, then grab the G-swing block in the now-blue force field. If your timing is off or you make a different mistake, you can actually stand right next to the red force field on the tiny ledge, or use the g-swing block back at the original ledge you jumped from. Once you pass through the first force field over the electric floor, you’ll have to grab the second fuse from its socket near the ceiling and throw it through the red force field near the ceiling all in one go. Once again, if you need to, land on the tiny lip next to the red force field (or, if you get the second fuse out but just don’t get it through the next field, you can just stand in the blue field, giving you more room) or swing back on the previous g-swing block. Once you get through with the fuse and back on solid, non-electrified ground, just throw the fuse up into the red force field above the door so that it lands in the socket, and head on through.
Once in the next room, grab the fuse from above the door. Toss it into the right side of the shaft through the red force field and trigger low-g, sending both you and fuse floating upward. You’ll both eventually hit a force field you can’t get through, so then just float through the blue force field on the right, grab the fuse and toss it through the lower red field so that it ends up on the side you were just on, while you’re on its side. Once again, hit low-g and continue your journey to the top. Once you come out of the shaft, head through the slanted blue force field to the left and pick up the fuse. If it has sunk back into the shaft, just turn off low-g for a few seconds, then turn it back on. It will pop back up and you can grab it. Launch it through the top part of the slanted force field, the red part, head back to the right through the blue part, grab the fuse and toss it through the red force field on the far into the shaft with the fan. Turn on low-g to make it rise, and head back to the left to use the g-swing blocks to move upward yourself.
Once you reach the next platform, you should find the fuse waiting for you, having been blown out of the shaft by the horizontal fan. Grab it and jump up next to the door. You will have to then throw it up through the large, horizontal red force field to the left, then jump through the blue force field above you and grab it through the smaller, vertical red field which will then be to your left. Obviously, low-g is a necessity for that. Then plug it into the socket on the right wall, while staying far to the right to avoid the laser that will turn on when you do so. If you have trouble doing that all in one jump, feel free to fall back down next to the door: the fuse will sit on the blue force field above the door, so when you’re ready to plug it in you just have to jump up and grab it. Once you get it in, the blast door will open, and you can go through it and head up the shaft using the fan and around to the left.
Drop down onto the large red horizontal force field and grab the fuse again. Then jump up to the ledge on the left with the fuse. This is a tricky part. Standing at the left edge of the ledge, above the electric floor, throw the fuse onto the electric floor, but NOT into the socket yet. Then jump through the blue force field and land on the red one. Pick up the fuse. Now you will need to start your low-g jump just like the vertical red force field wasn’t there, and while in the air, throw the fuse down through the red force field floor and into the socket, turning both fields blue and letting you complete your jump. Then grab the fuse from the socket, and get ready for more g-swings.
Shaft Shuffle (Part 2)
In this area, there are several floating g-swing blocks in a large open shaft. The goal is simple: reach the top with the fuse. You’re going to have to repeatedly throw the fuse into the air, swing up, grab the fuse, throw it again, and keep swinging. Just keep doing that until you’re able to throw the fuse onto the ledge, which is in the top right corner of the shaft. There’s not one set way to do this, so I’ll just give a couple tips: once again, toggling low-g on rather than just holding it can help, and don’t forget you can land on the g-swing blocks and just stand there. That can be useful to catch a little break, and then to jump off again so as to get more height before throwing the fuse. Also, you can see the ground when you’re standing on top of the first g-swing block, so if you want a small head start, land on the first block and just pick the fuse up off the ground from there.
Once you reach the top, you’re faced with the same puzzle we just saw on the floor below, only in reverse. It’s actually a lot simpler this time. Throw the fuse into the socket in the electrified floor, then put a sticky grenade on it (select those by pressing the 2 key). Jump through the now-blue force field, and once through, trigger the grenade. It will damage the fuse, turning the bottom force field red and allowing you to land on it. Then just jump through the blue force field to the right and land on the ledge. Make sure you do it before the fuse is fixed and turns the bottom field blue again, sending you to a shocking death. Once on the ledge, grab the fuse once more from the socket.
This next part looks more complex than it is. Actually, I’m not sure if I did it the “right” way or if I cheesed it, because I didn’t use the fuse on the ceiling or the g-swing block, and I didn’t do anything with the force fields. But maybe those are all red herrings to mislead you, and I haven’t seen any other way to do it, so it could be my way is right. Anyway, the way I did i is simple and easy, so that’s what I’ll put here. The fuse actually blocks lasers, so just hold it over a laser so that it’s blocking it, and then drop it. It will fall through the red force field and land on the blue one, still blocking the laser (if it rolls off or something, just grab it and reposition it, but it never rolled off for me). Then just walk to the other side, grab the fuse, and repeat with the next laser. You’ll shortly be past all four. Then throw the fuse through the small red force field above the blue one, walk through the blue one and grab the fuse again.
This next section is repetitive jumping, basically. Throw the fuse into the socket on the ceiling by the force fields, then grab the large cargo container (low-g, obviously). Throw the cargo container through the now-red force field so that it lands on the laser, blocking it. Try to make it land as far to the left (i.e., as close to you) as possible while still blocking the laser. Then grab the fuse from the socket and throw it through the upper force field, which is now red. You don’t have to throw it anywhere in particular — just make sure it lands in the first area and doesn’t go through the next force field as well. Then do a low-g jump, and press yourself to the right against the red force field. Hold the D key so that you keep moving right, and as you fall, you should slide over once you get under the red force fields and land on the container you previously placed.
Now here’s another fun part. You’re going to need to do a low-g jump a little to the right, grab the large container and do a recoil jump with it to land on the red force field. If you mess up on the recoil jump but still manage to grab the container, don’t try again in that same jump. The second grab pulls you down and then pushes you up much less than the first one, so just try to land on the container again and try again. The main thing is to just try to throw the container straight down to give you as much upward momentum as possible. It shouldn’t be much of a problem, but make sure not to go to far to the left since the laser will be firing upward again. Then you get to repeat the process: grab the fuse, throw it into the next socket, position the container over the next laser, pull the fuse and throw it into the next area, and do the low-g jump onto your container. Another recoil jump, and your on the next force field. Do it all again once more, and you’ll be right by the exit. Grab the fuse, put it in the socket above the door, and head on through. On to the next level!
You’ll be seeing a few more enemies in this level. The first thing you need to do is a simple recoil jump through the blue force field above onto the ledge to the right. There’s a turret sitting above the door, so just grab it, shoot it, or even ignore it and head through the door. In this pit, there’s a turret on the left wall, a guy with a gun and two cargo containers. Dispose of the enemies as you see fit, then do a double recoil jump to get out onto the other side. Now, you could just do a normal recoil jump, then grab the second container from the ground and use it for the next jump, but I prefer to do it slightly differently. I throw one container straight into the air in low-g, grab the second and do my recoil jump, then grab the first from the air for the second recoil jump. The first method will get you right to the edge, but the second will give you more height, and thus more wiggle room, which can come in handy later when you have to do it in real puzzles and not just practice. Whichever way you choose, just remember how you did it, since, as I said, you’ll be doing it again later. Head through the door once you get up on the ledge.
In this room, the first thing you’ll want to do is get rid of the turrets. There are three: one you’ll see immediately right below you in the yellow force field, the next is on the ceiling right past the red force field, and the third is on the far right wall. You can just shoot or grab the one by the red field, and even though the yellow field is supposed to stop shots, you can still shoot the one inside it since it sticks out of it. For the third, you can either wait until later to kill it or just jump while standing next to the red force field to shoot down and hit it. Whatever you do, make sure not to fall down the blue force field in the floor yet. This part’s pretty tough. You’ll need to face the yellow force field while standing on the right side of the blue force field in the ground. There’s a fuse in the upper left corner of the bottom area, under the door. As you step through the blue field on low-g, you will need to grab that fuse before you hit the ground. Once it’s removed, the electricity on the floor goes away and you won’t die when you touch down. This can be hard to do, because the remains of the turret can block your G-Beam, so you have to be pretty spot on to grab the fuse in time. Once you reach ground without turning extra crispy, drop the fuse and grab the container that’s to the right. Set the container down on top of the little vent in the floor. Run through the yellow force field and put a sticky grenade on or next to the socket, then go back through the field and stand on the container. Put the fuse back into the socket, electrifying the floor again. This also turns on the blast door at the end of the room, which will let us get through it once we reach it. Trigger the grenade and run to the other side of the room, under the blue force field. Grab the container and do a recoil jump up through the field onto the ledge next to the door. The fuse will repair itself, opening the door and letting us though.
Refill your explosium, then go stand on the very far right of the red force field, right up against the wall. Grab the cargo container on the left side of the electrified floor, then drop it back onto the electrified floor right under you. Grab the fuse from the left wall. It will kill the red force field, dropping you onto the container you just placed. There’s a turret in the corner on the right side of the room; now’s a good time to kill it. You can also have a nice evil chuckle when you kill the guy patrolling in the top right of the room by removing the socket on the right wall when he walks over the red force field. It will drop him, but he won’t have a nice container to land on like you did. Anyway, once the enemies are gone, use the two containers to leap frog across the electric floor until you’re under the right-side blue force field. Put a fuse back into the socket on the right wall, and put a sticky grenade on it. Remember how I said you would have to do a double recoil jump? Well, now’s the time. Do a recoil jump, trigger the explosion to remove the red force field, then grab the next box and do another recoil jump. This is where throwing the second box up really helps. Anyway, once you reach the top, wait for the fuse to repair then head through the blast door.
As soon as you enter this room, you’ll probably have a turret shooting at you from above, so take it out, then get rid of the second one that is to its left. You can also use some grenades to take out the guy walking around up top since you have a refill station right there. Once the enemies are gone, refill your explosium, then stand on the ground floor to the right of the elevator. The fuse you need is on the far right side of the room, but there are a lot of force fields between you and it. But there’s a way around that. First, put a sticky grenade on the fuse. Then switch to your anti-grav grenades (default 3 key). You’ll have to put two onto the fuse; after one, it will just sort of hover right about the ground. After two, it shoots upward, and once it hits the barrier you can trigger your sticky grenade to destroy the barrier it will shoot to the ceiling, so quickly jump to the ledge with the explosium refill, then jump up and grab the fuse. Once you have it, head back to the ground floor and put it in the socket in between the red and blue force fields. This will turn on the elevator, but it also turns on some electricity part of the way up the elevator track. Get on the elevator and send it up, but quickly jump off before it gets to the electricity. Wait until it’s halfway between the top floor and the explosion refill ledge (pretty much right at the electricity), then remove the fuse, stopping the elevator. If you misposition the elevator, just replace the fuse and use the elevator call button. You can stop the elevator on the way down, or wait until it hits bottom and try again going up. Jump up using the elevator and the ledges, taking the fuse with you. Put the fuse in the socket on the ceiling at the top and go through the blast door. On to the last level!
This level is deceptively simple. It’s easy in concept, harder in practice. You’ll start in the center of a sort of confusing-looking room with a lot of force fields. There are conveyor belts, fans, and a laser. Firstly, don’t panic. Once you understand what’s going on, it’s pretty easy to get a hang of. There are four machines that the conveyor belts go through, labeled A, B, C, and D. Periodically, a box will come out of machine A that says B. You need to pick up the box and put it on the conveyor belt leading into the machine B. It will then come out the other side of machine B and say C. When it gets over to the fan on the side, you have to turn on low-g so that it floats up the air current, then turn off low-g so that it lands on the next belt and keeps moving. You then grab it and put it on the belt that leads to machine C. When it comes out, it will say, you guessed it, D. You need to once again turn on low-g to get it to the next belt, then grab it and send it to machine D. When it goes through D, it goes away, and one of the eight red force fields on the bottom of the room blocking you from Skyler will go away.
See, I told you it was simple. But here’s the hard part: see the three lights on the top of the room? Well, if you miss grabbing a box and let it fall onto the laser, it blows up. When it blows up, a light comes on. When all three lights come on, YOU blow up. OK, that’s a little tougher. But the REAL reason it’s hard? In the beginning, you’ll be getting pretty much one box at a time. As you lower more force fields to get to Skyler, you start getting more and more boxes. Soon, you’ll have every conveyor full, boxes falling all over the place, and boxes running into each other. Oh, did I not mention that if two boxes hit each other, they blow up? Well, they do, and it turns on two lights because two boxes blew up.
This level is pretty tough. As I said, once you know what you’re doing, it’s not that difficult a concept. But when you’re on your seventh or eighth gate and you’ve got boxes flying around everywhere, it feels like you’re juggling, and the penalty for dropping the balls is painful, explodey death. And believe me, you WILL drop the balls. You’re going to fail a few times on this one until you get a rhythm going. There’s not much I can tell you about this, other than just keep trying it for a while, and it will get easier. I died quite a few times, firstly because I didn’t know what I was doing with the boxes the first few times until I figured out they needed to go into each machine, and then I died just getting the pattern down.
A few tips:
- If you need to slow things up slightly, keep low-g on. It will stop the boxes that are on the fans, but beware: don’t let another box come up behind the first one and hit it. You can also stand on the red force field in front of the conveyor belt coming from the A machine and block the B box from falling, but once again, don’t stand there too long or another box will come out and bump it.
- It’s better to let one box fall and get control of all the others than trying to save every box and have two or more fall or run into each other. You have three strikes before you’re out; use the first two if you need to.
- It’s sometimes hard to pay attention to both sides at once, so when in doubt, turn on low-g. At the least, it will buy you some time since you’ll have to wait for the next box to come to hit any that are floating on the vents, rather than having the first box just fall onto the laser.
- Make sure you don’t get stuck on the conveyor belts leading to machines B or C. You can get off of them if you step on them, but it will definitely slow you down, and if you have a bunch of boxes all coming at once, it can be death.
- If you get the right angle, you can grab a box that is floating on top of the vents from the middle of the room. This can be very useful when you have a box on the other side of the room heading for the vents that need to be lifted up.
Once you get all eight red force fields down, everything stops and you don’t have to worry about explosions or the lights anymore. My advice is just to ignore the force fields and focus on the boxes. It’s no use thinking, “One more force field to go!” when the fraction of a second you took to look down and check it makes you miss a box and blow up. Just focus on the boxes, and when it ends, it ends. Once it does end, just walk down to Skyler to finish the level and the DLC. Congratulations! You just beat Hard Times.
And that concludes this Rochard guide. Help us improve this guide by leaving your suggestions in the comment section below.