Below are some general notes and guides for scoring in the game, while you'll find dream and mare specific notes in the relevent gameplay sections.
Also see the forums for other detailed comments about various aspects of the game that SA.net members have discovered, as well as a detailed Scoringfaq in the General forum.
General Scoring Strategies
- As a general rule, the scoring order of importance is - Open capture>links>
stunt rings>link balls>chips>stars>rings>nightmarians>mepians, though
everyone will have their own preferences (especially whether its stunt
rings>link, and although nightmarians are worth more pts than rings, they
dont add to your link total).
- Almost all Ideya Captures in the game can be opened during the first lap.
(exceptions include SM3, FB4 and TS3). If possible, that is your first
priority, as your scores will instantly double from then on.
- Collect chips as Claris/Elliot before starting mare 1. Try to collect
enough chips, that when added to any you pick up as Nights, will to open
the capture on the first lap. This can be taken to an extreme, exploiting
the games 16 minutes, 30 seconds time limit while playing as the kids (see
SG and FB pre-mare strats), though this method is generally frowned upon.
This thread by Lance Way gives details about each of the pre 1 mare routes
- Perfect their short double/triple jumps. Hit the jump button as soon as
they land, but release the button as soon as they are in the air.
- Rings will replenish your dash bar if you end up running out. Try to dash
into a row of them, then just fly through the rings and dash out again.
This can be useful in some mares where dash can get quite low (ie SV1)
- Keep your link going as long as possible. Everytime you lose your link,
your missing out on 450pts, which means in bonus time you'd be down
nearly a thousand pts every time you miss a link.
- you can kill as many Mepians as you like (80pts each), but try to avoid
paralooping Nightopians, as you'll lose the star bonus in mare 4, missing
out on over 5k in pts. The only mare where its difficult to get the max 255
is SV, so in any other dream, collect it as soon as bonus time starts.
- Know how long a full lap (for scoring) and a fast lap (dashing through)
takes. That way as time starts to get low, you can judge how to use whats
- There is a slight glitch that can cause items to not reappear on a mare
where you have run the previous mare backwards.
- If your A-life numbers start to slowdown the game (most infamously around
the big tree in SV), copy your score save onto the internal memory or the
back up cart, which ever one you dont keep an A-life save on. That way,
you can play with clean dreams. Just remember to copy it back afterward,
otherwise you will lose your new scores.
- Once you've completed the game to C or more on the main 6 dreams, you
can select which boss to have via the options. Choose the one that you
are most consistent getting a 2.0 with.
- Dash panels seem to vary the speed that they send you out. Try only dashing
just before you enter one, as opposed to dashing all the way to them. They
can help to continue a link, and save you a lot time getting to different
parts of a mare.
- Plan when you are going to collect the dash refill, paraloop and pian
helper tokens. All have their uses (in the above order of usefulness), for
example, collect any dash token during your last lap of a mare (ie SC1),
or when you are especially low (FB3)
- Chip cages are especially useful to up your chip total quickly to open
captures as fast as possible (examples in SV2, MF3), though with planning,
can be used for scoring instead (SG2, SV4)
- Large paraloops will drag items that are off course from other mares. This
can help in getting chips for a quick lap 1 capture opening (SG3/4, MF3), or
in potential link continuing (SC2, FB2)
- The biggest link or collecting every single item you see doesnt always mean
the best overall score. For example in SG1 and SM1 you dont need to paraloop
the clusters of items to continue the link, and the time saved not doing
them will get you 1 or more extra laps.
- If a mare has link ball(s), often the focus can be on them over links, as
cutting the link total can get you more laps (as above)
- Air braked Paraloops - NiD's equalivent to power slides. While paralooping,
you can apply the air brake (L+R pressed together), bringing Nights to a
stop and allowing you to make a smaller parallop, thus saving you time at
(at the exspence of size). This can be useful in saving you time, though
can not be used with any cluster of items, as the small size of the
air-braked paraloop will not carry the items far enough. This technique is
difficult to explain, and needs more of a feel, though try to hold neutral
while air-braking, as this avoids Nights flying in a stunt-forced direction
you dont want
This technique was discovered by SA.net member Ben 'Blackrabite' Masters and you can read about it
- Analogy versus digital. Nights allows control via both, and they each have
there pros and cons. Theres more control with the analogy, but the digital
pad allows for tighter paraloops (most obvious when done with the SM stunt
mode). Although the general consenus is that the analogy stick is more
presice, experiment with which suits you best.
Note - all scores are listed during non-bonus time unless otherwise stated;
all scores x2 once the capture is open.
Your link number equals the number of items (chips or rings) you collect plus
rings you pass through, minus 1.
Scoring starts at 10, then adds 10 for each after that, with a max of 100pts
for every item above 9. So the first item/ring gets you 10pts, the second 20,
8th 80 etc.
So the accumalated scoring for links are -
1 item/ring (0 link) = 10
1 link = 30
2 link = 60
3 link = 100
4 link = 150
5 link = 210
6 link = 280
7 link = 360
8 link = 450
with each link above 8 adding 100pts
Basically, above a link of 9, take your link total, times 100 and minus 350
gives you your pts.
so for example, not in bonus time
1 item/ring (0 link) = 10
1 link = 30
10 link = 650
20 link = 1650
30 link = 2650
50 link = 4650
100link = 9650
150link = 14650
200link = 19650
250link = 24650
300link = 29650
350link = 34650
400link = 39650
450link = 44650
500link = 49650
and for example in bonus time
1 item/ring (0 link) = 20
1 link = 60
10 link = 1300
20 link = 3300
30 link = 5300
50 link = 9300
100link = 19300
150link = 29300
200link = 39300
250link = 49300
300link = 59300
350link = 69300
400link = 79300
450link = 89300
500link = 99300 (in theory)
There are 1 or more rings per dream, except for TS and SM, where
the former has no pts for stunts, and the later has its own system (see
the SM section for details)
You are given approximately 10 secs to perform stunts for pts. The music
is the best judge of how much time is left.
The numbers to the right follow the clock, so 12 is up and 6 is down
etc, while the stunts are in the order of holding the L button, R button
then both. All the stunts are when you are facing right, and in brackets are
descriptions of some of the stunts.
To do the L+R stunts, hold down one, then atleast a second later, hold
the other. If you press them together too quickly then you will air-brake and
the ribbon will end.
12 - BALLET, TORNADO, BOOMERRANG
1 - L-WING, ARROW, ROCK 'N ROLL
2 - DANCE, PARASOL, MOON
3 - MIXER, TWISTER, SWING
4 - ROULETTE L, ROULETTE R, CROSS
5 - BASKET, SCREW, TRIANGLE
6 - T-FALL, V-FALL, SPIN
8 - DRILL, TYPHOON, SONIC (curled up ball)
9 - SCORPION, WIND, SPACE
10 - AX L, AX R, SLING
There are 6 'shape' stunts
Clover (make an 8 cross twice 90degrees to each other)
1st stunt = 100pts
2nd = 200pts
3rd = 300pts
5th = 500pts
6th = 600pts
7th = 700pts
8th = 800pts
9th = 900pts
10th = 1000pts
11th and every stunt after = 2000pts
A 'Dreamy' is awarded when you get 11 or more stunts, with very stunt after
the 10th worth 2000pts
So getting a basic Dreamy (11 stunts) is worth a total of 7,500pts
(15k in bonus time), with every stunt after that worth 2k (4k in bonus time)
Therefore the total scores for stunts are -
DO NOT MIND! (0 stunts) = 0pts
NICE ONE = 100pts
NICE TWO = 300pts
NICE THREE = 600pts
WONDERFUL FOUR = 1000pts
WONDERFUL FIVE! = 1500pts
FANTASTIC SIX!! = 2100pts
EXCELLENT SEVEN!! = 2800pts
COOL EIGHT!! = 3600pts
MARVELOUS NINE!! = 4500pts
SUPERB TEN!! = 5500pts
Dreamy (basic 11 stunts) = 7500pts (+200)
Stunt Ribbon Tips
- As you are given pts for when a stunt is complete, you can start one
before you enter the ribbon and be credited with it when it does.
- Try doing directional stunts as you fly making shape stunts
- Air breaking can give you a final stunt as the timer reaches 0, often
repeating the last stunt score. This more reliably comes out if you do a
stunt as the timer runs out.
- You can collect items and pass through rings while doing stunts, but
dont let that distract you from stunts, as the higher you go in the
stunts total, the more pts you'll get - each dreamy stunt alone is worth
the same pts as a full 25 link
- If you find that stunts stop performing, switch directions or change wall.
Sometimes just stopping for a split second can get you back into the flow.
- Stunt Wall Glitch. This was fixed in Christmas Nights, but allows Dreamies
to happen more often in the original game. By hitting a wall, ceiling or
floor while doing a directional stunt, Nights will cut out the rest of the
animation for the stunt, and credit you with completing it, thus getting
you the pts without having to do a complete stunt, saving you time in the
This Glitch has been perfected by SA.net member Peter. You can read his discovery of it here, and below is a video of the glitch in effect.
Time Bonus = 11000pts minus 100pts per sec its takes to open the capture. The
time its takes to open the capture from the beginning of the mare (either from
when the Nightmarians leave you pre mare1, or as soon as the timer starts for
the other mares). This is also when the bonus time starts.
All the below are affected by the x2 time bonus multipler, unless other wise
- Link balls = 1000pts when opened, regardless of their link target. These
are spread through out the game. Just complete the link requirement, that
range from 7 to 35.
- Nightmarians (all kinds) = 200pts each (either dashed or paralooped)
- Mepians (Nightmarian/Nightopian hyrids) = 80pts each (paralooped only)
- End of each mare bonus = number of chips left x50 (max of 99 chips). Not
affected by the time bonus.
- End of mare 4 Star bonus (only if no Nightopians have been paralooped by
you) = number of stars collected x 10 (up to a maximum of 255, max pts 5200
in bonus time)
- Snowballs = 30pts each, plus often reveals a star, but only when dashed
into, or via the sleigh. If you paraloop, no stars will appear. Snowballs
only appear in FB.
- Magnetising Machine in SC3 = 10pts awarded for every attached 'object' when
you go through the de-magnatising section (objects include marian, pians and
each small ball section of any rings - chips and stars are collected as
normal). Banging into a wall will loosen objects off you.
- Ballons = 30pts each, some releasing chips as well (mainly the ones in TS4).
- Bosses = a multiplier of anywhere between 1.0 and 2.0 (see Boss section)