Deception IV is a unique release, mainly due to the fact that there aren't many trap-setting games on the market in general.
Because of that, it's often hard for people to acclimate if they've never played a past entry before (Trapt is on the PSN, by the way) -- so here are some tips to help you along.
Every piece of damage you do contributes to each discipline -- elaboration, sadism, and humiliation. Think of Elaboration traps more as "setups" for other gadgets, as they tend to do miniscule damage, but position the target accordingly. Sadist traps are basically your major damage dealers, like arrows, buzzsaws, and the like. Humiliation is a unique discipline because those traps are kind of a mix of the other two schools.
As a general rule, most players will probably want to min-max Sadism, so you have heavy traps to deal with some of the harder foes in the game. Play the game the way you want to play it, but if you're having trouble, consider using more damage traps so you can earn more Sadist XP and unlock better ones.
Use line of sight to your advantage, especially with NPCs that can't jump or ninja-flip over walls. If you get a trap ready behind a wall, the enemy will often take the shortest path towards your character -- leaving them open to well-placed combo openers.
Re-position your combos if a jumping enemy doesn't seem to quite fit into your master plan. Bait them into jumping right into a combo opener like a bear trap or a lethal lance.
Speaking of openers, a really good early-game combo is as follows: start off with a bear trap one square away from a wall, then suck the enemy into the wall with the lethal lance. Place a spike ceiling trap there, and then initiate a pendulum guillotine to swing in any direction, followed by dropping a boulder on their heads. You can put this combo on stairs to give yourself even more leeway with boulders.
Take lots of different traps -- don't just min-max with all ceiling, floor, or wall types. Having said that, ceiling traps are one of the most diverse categories in the game, as they can go practically anywhere with very little setup needed.
Almost no one is immune to the wall spikes you get early in the game (lethal lance). Use this to your advantage, and set up traps that enemies otherwise resist (like boulders or guillotines) -- once they're stunned or open to attack, they're vulnerable.
Periodically go back into your trap selection screen and see what your maximum (equipped) trap allotment is. It could increase randomly after a series of levels and you might not have noticed it.
In order to create and download quests, you need to finish at least one mission in Mission Mode -- you don't have to beat the story to unlock it.
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destructoid's previous coverage: Deception IV: Blood Ties