The Legend of Bum-Bo

I’ve been playing The Legend of Bum-Bo like crazy since it landed on consoles last week. I just can’t get enough of this highly addictive little game. And in my playtime, I’ve made several realizations that I think will help anyone who’s struggling with the game’s challenging nature.

So I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned over the course of my Bum-Bo adventure in the hopes that they’ll help folks have an easier journey than the one I had.

So let’s dig in.

The Legend of Bum-Bo is not a deckbuilder

The Legend of Bum-Bo

Okay, so this isn’t really a tip, but I feel like it needs to be said. The Legend of Bum-Bo is described as a deckbuilding roguelike for some reason. It’s not. There are no deckbuilding mechanics here whatsoever (unless you consider your upgrades as cards, I suppose). This is a turn-based roguelike where combat is handled via a match-four game played out on a cardboard grid.

If you have a very specific appetite for roguelike deckbuilders, you’re not going to find it satisfied by The Legend of Bum-Bo. But don’t be dismayed, we actually have a really good list of roguelike deckbuilders that you can try instead.

RNG is king

The Legend of Bum-Bo

So, this is a roguelike, where dungeon layouts and upgrade paths are determined by RNG (random number generators). This means that your skills might not end up being compatible with the dangers you’ll face off against. Sometimes, the entire world feels balanced in your favor, while at other times, it feels like every deck is stacked against you — though I suppose that’s not a great metaphor to use here, what with the confusion over whether or not this is a deckbuilder… it’s not.

Anyway, RNG is part of the game. The thrill of a game like this is not knowing whether your next run is going to be smooth sailing or an absolute nightmare. You just have to jump in and find out for yourself.

Some people don’t like that. Some folks want game worlds that can be conquered through memorization rather than systems that change organically to constantly keep you on your toes. While I get that instinct to some extent, The Legend of Bum-Bo is simply not designed for those types of players.

Success in a game like this is more about understanding the core mechanics as deeply as possible, and then using that understanding to react to danger on the fly. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you will be enjoying the absolute bounty of entertainment that this game can provide.

But enough about what The Legend of Bum-Bo is or isn’t. Let’s get to the real tips and tricks!

Take your time

The Legend of Bum-Bo

The Legend of Bum-Bo is turn-based, which means there’s no penalty for taking a long time to think between moves. You should absolutely be using that time. Don’t just make the first move you think of off the top of your head; examine the board to see if a better option exists. Try to think two or three moves ahead and figure out where tiles will be in the future so you can plan around those tile positions.

I admittedly tried to play this game very quickly in the beginning, but once I slowed down, my runs became far more successful, even when I was overwhelmed with near-impossible scenarios.

Stop, think, and plan. That’s how you get ahead in this game.

Extend every turn for as long as you possibly can

The Legend of Bum-Bo - End Turn

When I first started playing The Legend of Bum-Bo, my instinct was to focus on offensive skills to take down each group of enemies as fast as possible. What I didn’t realize at the time was that there’s a deeper set of mechanics that supersedes pure DPS.

The true goal of combat here is not to deal as much damage as possible, but to extend a single turn for as long as you possibly can. You are in control of the combat rhythm here, and you should be bending that in your favor. If an enemy attacks you, it’s generally because you allowed them to.

How do you do wrest this control away from the game? Well, every turn, you’re generally going to start with two allotted moves. Once those are spent, your turn is over… Or is it?

Before your turn ends, you are given the option to spend any available mana on spells. Of course, you can cast your spells at any time, so long as you have the mana, but the game will actually pause once you are out of moves so you can cast spells if you’d like to (unless you have no mana, in which case your turn will end automatically).

Some of your spells let you rearrange tiles on the game board. You should always use those spells when you have them, as they essentially end up being extra moves.

On top of that, you can earn additional moves by matching pee drops. This means you can actually get all the way to the “End Turn?” prompt, then cast a spell that earns you more moves, which keeps you playing without giving the enemy a turn.

Because this is hard to explain, here’s an eleven-second video:

Here, I used the Blender Blade spell, which knocks out tiles in a plus-shaped pattern. I was able to drop a pee tile into the missing slot in a row to complete the match and earn an extra turn. Note that all of this happened after the “End Turn?” prompt, illustrating how you can extend turns even beyond the point where most turns should end.

Know the difference between bones and teeth

The Legend of Bum-Bo

You have two main damage dealing options from the puzzle board: bones and teeth. When you match four bones, you can throw one bone at your enemy, and when you match four teeth, you can throw one tooth at your enemy. So at a glance, it seems like these two options are functionally the same.

However, the difference comes into play when you have matches that are higher than four. Matching five bones will let you throw two bones at your enemies, while matching five teeth will give you a tooth with +2 attack power.

So let’s say your puzzle damage stat is at 1. If you match five teeth, you end up with a single tooth that does 3 points of damage.

It’s good to keep the difference in mind, because if you’re trying to kill multiple enemies that only have 1 HP per unit, bones are the superior option. However, if you’re attacking a single enemy, you’ll deal more damage using teeth.

Curse tiles will damage you if you match them

The Legend of Bum-Bo - Curse Tiles

If you start seeing curse tiles show up (the purple skull icon), you might be tempted to match them just to see what they do. Well, I can save you the pain of having to do that, because I tested it for myself. Matching curse tiles will damage you; the more you match, the greater the damage.

Five is usually better than four

The Legend of Bum-Bo

While the goal is to line up four matching tiles, there is a bonus modifier for matching beyond that. You can match four, five, six, or even seven tiles. While lining up seven tiles is obviously the best possible move, it’s also generally more “expensive” in terms of how many moves it takes to line up the play. If you want the absolute best payout for the spend, five tiles really gives you the best value. In fact, if you train your brain to consider this a match-five game instead of a match-four game, you’ll have way more success.

Think about it this way: Matching five tiles generally grants you double the payout of matching four. So 4 earns you x, while 5 earns you 2x, and 6 earns you 3x. 7, of course, is a special case, because it unlocks a more powerful move, but I’ll get to that in the next tip. What I’m hoping you can see is that, even if it costs you an extra move, you make back enough by matching five that it’s justified in most cases to go for five instead of four.

Of course, there are situations where you need to play a hand as soon as you can. When an enemy is primed to attack, for example, you want to make sure you set up a defense before that enemy can attack. This might mean sacrificing a possible five-tile move for a four-tile move, just to make sure you can get to it before your turn ends.

Seven-tile special moves are no joke

The Legend of Bum-Bo

If you line up seven tiles, you will get a special reward.

  • 7 Boogers (Mega Boogie) – Waves of snot will hit every enemy on the board, preventing them from moving for several turns.
  • 7 Teeth (Mega Chomper) – A giant mouth will bite down on the room, damaging all enemies at once.
  • 7 Bones (Mega Boner) – A skull will fly overhead and rain down bones, damaging all enemies in the room.
  • 7 Pee (Mega Peepee) – Grants four additional moves.
  • 7 Poop (Mega Turd) – Blocks all three aisles with poop three layers deep.
  • 7 Hearts (Mega Love) – Your health will refill to maximum, and you’ll earn a soul heart.
  • 7 Curses (Mega Cursed!) – Your health will drain down to half a heart.

I generally consider a match of seven to be a bonus rather than something I’m actively shooting for most of the time, because it’s pretty challenging to pull it off in the heat of battle. In fact…

There’s only one possible way to line up seven tiles

The Legend of Bum-Bo

If you want to line up seven tiles, you must follow this pattern: OOOXOOO. You will then fill in the X space with a tile that matches the O tiles. The reason the game works this way is because four of the same tiles next to each other will count as a match. For example, OOXOOOO or OOOOXOO are not possible, because as soon as you line up four tiles, the match is made.

Knowing this simple fact makes setting up those seven-tile combos a whole lot easier.

Think twice before skipping boss fights

The Legend of Bum-Bo - Loaf

Occasionally, you will get a spell that lets you skip rooms. You might be thinking that it’s probably best to save those for boss rooms, but that’s not always going to be the case. Bosses give you a lot of coins, and beating a boss lets you into the casino. This is where you generally get the best upgrades in the game.

So even though it seems like you want to skip boss fights, doing so can leave you underpowered for later rooms. Then again, if there’s a boss that is really difficult, and who is known for ending your runs, then it does make sense to skip it.

Balance the risks against the rewards and choose carefully…

How to deal with the green gas clouds

The Legend of Bum-Bo - Green Gas Clouds

Some enemies belch out green gas clouds. If an enemy is inside one of these clouds, dealing damage to it will cause the gas cloud to attack you. There are three ways you can deal with this.

  1. Wait. The gas clouds will usually dissipate after a turn has passed.
  2. Poop. If you set up a poop barrier, the gas cloud will attack the barrier instead of your character.
  3. 7-tile attacks. The Mega Chomper and Mega Boner attacks deal damage without causing the gas cloud to retaliate.

How to kill the burrowing worms

The Legend of Bum-Bo - Burrowing Worms

The first time you encounter the burrowing worms pictured above (they’re called dig digs), you might struggle to take them down. When you damage them, they hide underground, where they’re impervious to damage.

The trick to beating these things is to simply get all of them underground at the same time. When that happens, they will all die at once. After you damage one, you should have about two turns to hit the other ones before the first dig dig pops back up.

How to kill the tapeworms

The Legend of Bum-Bo

You’ll sometimes find long dangly tapeworm-looking things hanging from the ceiling. They’re actually called Longits, but around my house we call them Cringey Bois (because they cringe when you attack them).

If you damage one of these guys, they will recoil so that they’re unable to be damaged. You’ll just have to wait for them to come down before you attack them again…


You can actually damage hiding Longits with 7-tile attacks (Mega Chomper and Mega Boner). Alternatively, you can make sure you use more powerful attacks. These generally have 4 HP, so if you’re damaging them for 1 HP at a time, it’s going to take you a long time to bring one down. On the other hand, if you can damage one for 4 HP right off the bat, it won’t even have a chance to hide and you won’t have to deal with all that waiting.

Enemy resistances

The Legend of Bum-Bo

Some enemies are resistant to certain attack types and cannot be damaged by them. An enemy that’s resistant to puzzle damage cannot be damaged by puzzle attacks, and an enemy that’s resistant to spell damage cannot be damaged by spell attacks.

You can easily tell if an enemy has a resistance because it will be colored either purple or blue. The blue enemies will also have a puzzle icon, while the purple enemies will have a sword icon. (Here’s a Wiki link if you want more information about status types and their corresponding icons).

So, it works out like this:

  • Blue enemy with a puzzle icon — cannot be damaged by spells.
  • Purple enemy with a sword icon — cannot be damaged by puzzle attacks.

Spells, remember, are anything that costs mana to cast, while puzzle attacks are throwing bones or teeth.

What if you use Magic Marker on a wild tile?

The Legend of Bum-Bo

Okay, so this is going to be kind of an obscure tip…

If you play as Bum-Bo the Weird, you’ll have a spell called Magic Marker. This allows you to select any type of tile and create duplicates of it. So if you select a bone, the Magic Marker spell will swap out a bunch of non-bone tiles with bone tiles.

So what happens if you use the Magic Marker on a wild tile? I was genuinely curious about this, so I tried it out. It turns out, you can’t duplicate a wild tile — instead, it will create heart tiles.

So that’s good to know for Bum-Bo the Weird players.

Destroying a barrier counts as a kill

The Legend of Bum-Bo

And since we’re on the topic of tips exclusive to Bum-Bo the Weird…

Bum-Bo the Weird gains an extra move for every kill. And those barriers that are set up on some of the early stages? Those count as kills. So destroying one of those barriers — these generally only have 1 HP — will grant you an additional move… If you’re playing with Bum-Bo the Weird.

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