Hades Beginner’s Guide
After almost two years in Early Access, Supergiant Games’ critically-acclaimed roguelike, Hades, has reached its 1.0 launch. This final version includes a lot of intriguing new additions that even players who have been playing since Early Access will be drawn to — most notably, a proper ending. However, this will still be many players’ first exposure to Zagreus’ mythological journey to escape the Underworld. Hades will throw everything he has at you to keep you trapped in his domain, but with the help of the Gods, and this guide, you can defeat your father and reach the surface.
Beginner’s Guide And Tips For Hades
Hades centers around Zagreus, the son of Hades, fighting his way through chambers of mythological beasts and figures in an attempt to escape the Underworld. Like other roguelikes, there are a ton of variables, items, upgrades, and currencies that will influence your runs. Here’s our comprehensive Hades beginner’s guide to make sure you get the most out of each and every one of them.
If you’re looking for a more detailed breakdown of the game, be sure to check out our whole Hades complete guide and walkthrough.
Dying Is Part Of Progression
You’re going to die in Hades, over and over again. This might seem frustrating at first, but it’s all part of how you will make yourself stronger down the line. Each time you die you will be sent back to the House of Hades, your hub, where you can, and should, interact with all the NPCs before running back for your next escape attempt. Not only does this offer lots of fascinating lore — it’s also your chance to give other characters gifts in exchange for equippable Keepsakes, make purchases from vendors, and unlock new buffs and weapons.
Aside from weapons, which you can see in the room just before you start a run, you should always make sure to examine the Mirror of Night. This is where you will spend a special currency to permanently upgrade Zagreus. While you can certainly beat the game without any of the Mirror of Night’s unique upgrades, and you’re free to turn them on or off at will, these are intended to be unlocked and applied as you gradually make it further in your runs.
What You Lose Upon Death
Not everything you pick up during a run will stay with you when you drag yourself out of the Pool of Styx after returning to the House of Hades. Here’s everything that gets left behind after each run:
- Charon’s Obol, which you spend in whatever shops you encounter during a run.
- All Boons and Skills.
- All Skill upgrades.
- All Weapon upgrades.
In terms of what you can keep, you actually hold on to a lot more materials than most other roguelikes. For example, you keep all of the resources that you can use in the House of Hades, such as Darkness, Nectar, Ambrosia, Chthonic Keys, Gemstones, and Titan Blood.
How To Pick Rooms
Speaking of items, currencies, and upgrades, knowing which rooms to prioritize during a run can massively influence your progress. After you defeat all the enemies in any room, you will be given a choice of two or three doorways to progress through, and what you will find in each of them is represented by a symbol. Here’s what every chamber reward symbol in Hades means:
- Key – You will be rewarded with Chthonic Key(s) upon clearing the following room.
- Golden Coins – You will receive Charon’s Obol upon clearing the next room.
- Flask – You will get a Nectar for beating the next room.
- Purple Tear-shaped Crystal – The reward for the next room will be Darkness Crystals.
- Blue Orb With A Red Cross – You will get a max health upgrade in the next room.
- The rest will all be a symbol for a specific God — or sometimes multiple Gods — which means you will get a Boon from the next room. Zeus is represented by a lightning bolt, Artemis by a green arrow, and so on — if you want to know more about Boons, check out our Hades best builds guide.
Olympian Boons are what power you up in Hades, changing how your attacks and movement abilities function. You start out with a basic primary attack and secondary attack with your weapon, cast attack determined by how many bloodstones you have, and a dash. Boons are ultimately what add extra damage and effects to enhance individual moves, such as an Athena Boon adding shields to your dash, or Zeus Boon adding chain lightning to your cast.
Each time you encounter a Boon you will have three options to choose from. Once you apply a Boon to any particular slot — primary attack, cast, dash, and so on — you can’t get another Boon in said slot unless you replace your current one. Boons also come in various rarities: common, rare, epic, and legendary. The higher the rarity, the more powerful the bonuses will be.
You will end up mixing many Boons from different Gods together on your run, so learn which God’s effects you prefer with certain moves and try to make builds that complement one another, and be sure to read up on Hades’ Duo Boons, which are especially powerful buffs gained from two Gods at once.
Stay Alive And Defy Death
There are a few ways to restore health in Hades — however, you can also come back from the dead several times on every single run.
Health isn’t very easy to come by, but there are a few sources to look out for.
- Healing Fountains – found randomly once per realm after purchasing the relevant upgrade from the House Renovator, or on the in between floor after a boss fight.
- Centaur Hearts – These are one of the potential room rewards you can pick. As well as increasing your max HP, they also restore the amount it is raised by.
- Infernal Troves – These extra challenges can occasionally offer HP as a reward, but in order to get it you will need to defeat a set of enemies within a time limit, so it may end up costing you more than you get back.
- Food – Sold at shops for gold.
If death still finds you too early, here’s how you can keep a run going just a bit longer. Death Defiance is an ability you can purchase from the Mirror of Night in Zagreus’ room, and allows you to come back to life with 50% of your max HP. You can upgrade this at the mirror to grant you up to three revivals in a single run. However, there are also several ways to restore a used Death Defiance during a run.
If you come across a Well of Charon you can buy a Kiss of Styx for 200 Obols to restore a use. Athena’s Last Stand and Deathless Stand Boons also restore one charge, and selecting the Kiss of Styx Premium from Patroclus in Elysium will restore all of your lost charges. Using Skelly’s Keepsake, the Lucky Tooth, can give you a fourth Death Defiance, while obtaining Chaos’ Legendary Boon — which you can only get after already visiting him at least once on your current run — can actually give you a fifth charge.
These tips just scratch the surface of the Underworld that is Hades. The majority of your skills will be gained through trial and error, but now you can at least skip the early stumbles and start to work on improving and experimenting rather than constantly pausing and dying because you didn’t understand what was happening, or what you were choosing.
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