Hades, the recent roguelike from Supergiant Games, is a combat-heavy experience that charges Zagreus, the son of the titular Greek god, with escaping the Underworld. He’ll start his journey with little in the way of power and variety, but over time you’ll earn new weapons, accessories, and character upgrades that make it easier to survive the waves of enemies you’ll face.
Character progression is a bit of a slow burn in Hades, as most permanent upgrades require Darkness, a collectible that you aren’t guaranteed to find in any given run. There are also many other collectibles to find, such as Chthonic Keys, Nectar, Obols, and more. Because of the number of different items to find and upgrades to choose from, starting a game of Hades can be a bit overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll provide some tips and tricks that you should keep in mind when venturing out into the Underworld.
As a quick note, remember that Hades is in early access, which means that this information is subject to change!
The Best Mirror of Night Upgrades for the Early Game
Darkness is one of the only items that you don’t lose between runs. It serves as a currency that you’ll use to upgrade Zagreus’ various stats and abilities. You can turn it in at the Mirror of Night, which can be found in Zagreus’ room. We recommend focusing on upgrades to Health and the Dash ability.
The Greater Reflex upgrade lets you Dash twice in quick succession, and costs 50 Darkness. This should be an early priority as your agility is one of your greatest assets in combat. Being able to Dash out of traps and explosions is absolutely invaluable.
You should also pump Darkness into points of Chthonic Vitality, which restores a small amount of Heath in between encounters. There are three tiers to Chthonic Vitality:
- Tier 1 – Restores 1 Health between rooms. Costs 10 Darkness.
- Tier 2 – Restores 2 Health between rooms. Costs 20 Darkness.
- Tier 3 – Restores 3 Health between rooms. Costs 40 Darkness.
On the surface, Chthonic Vitality doesn’t restore all that much health, but rooms can typically be cleared in a minute or less, which adds up over the course of a run. You should also consider nabbing Death Defiance for 30 Darkness, which lets you avoid death once from the first tier, and twice in the second.
The Best Keepsakes to Buy First
In Hades, you can gift the various NPCs with Nectar, a rare reward for clearing an encounter or Infernal Trove, and can sometimes be earned in trades with the Wretched Broker. In exchange for Nectar, characters will offer Zagreus a Keepsake, which is a sort of accessory that offers various bonuses. These are the best ones to go for first:
- Old Spiked Collar – You get this Keepsake from Cerberus. It’s a flat increase to Zagreus’ Health pool, which is invaluable, not just in the early game, but throughout.
- Cthonic Coin Purse – This Keepsake is gained from Hypnos, and gives you an early boost to your Obols at the start of a run. Obols are the money used to buy goods from Charon, which are always useful.
- Broken Spearpoint – Acquired from Patroclus, this Keepsake makes you invulnerable for a short time after taking damage. Considering that Hades is a fast-paced game of twitch reflexes, this can often mean the difference of life and death.
Use the Environment in Combat
Combat encounters are fraught with perils beyond enemies. There are a plethora of traps and other environmental hazards to be found in each room. But they don’t just hurt Zagreus; they can be used against your foes as well. Attacking pillars will drop debris around them, which can hurt monsters, as can spike traps and timed bombs. Knocking enemies into walls leaves them stunned briefly in addition to dealing bonus damage. Leveraging such knowledge can turn the tide in a battle.
Experiment With Your Weapons
As of this writing, there are five Infernal Arms in Hades. The default Stygian Blade is pretty good, but it behooves you to experiment with them all and find the one best suited to your playstyle. Who knows, you might just dig the defensive combat of the Shield of Chaos, or the ranged combat of the Heart-Seeking Bow. There’s even a straight-up gun called the Adamant Rail if you prefer action shooters like Enter the Gungeon.
And there you have it, four tips to help you get the ball rolling in Hades. Did they help you out? Let us know in the comments section!