11 Beginner Hades Tips You Should Know

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These 11 Hades tips will give you a better understanding on a beautifully crafted videogame created by Supergiant games called ”Hades”. With a name like that you do not expect it to be an easy game. Hence these tips will give you a better understanding on what to look out for and what the game expects out of you. On the other hand the game is not extremely punishing (unless you want it to be).

What is Hades videogame?

Hades is a dungeon crawler rouge-like with a Greek mythology setting. You play the role of Zagreus, the son of Hades. Who is the ruler of the Greek underworld aka HELL. As the crown prince of the darkness, your driving force throughout the game is to escape the underworld. As to why? the story unfolds each time you try to escape.

Like with any good rouge-like Hades moment to moment gameplay has big swings. At one time you feel unstoppable like a God mowing down your enemies. The very next wanting to snap your controller in half.

Here are the 11 Beginner Hades tips you should know, especially if you are new to this type of genre.  


Play the game on the default difficulty

Hades doesn’t have any default difficulty settings. However, it does have a Hell mode and God mode option. For the purpose of this guide let’s forget about the Hell Mode option. As it is a mode for players looking for a even bigger challenge. 

We are going to be focusing more on the default or standard mode of the game and the God Mode (towards the end). I firmly believe even new players to this genre or new to rouge-like games in general should start the game at the default difficulty. Because the early game in Hades which are your first few runs is what I would consider as tutorial runs.

The reason I won’t recommend going straight for the God Mode option is because in those initial runs you will get a sense of what the game’s default difficulty is like and what it expects out of you.

If you start to feel like no this is not going to be a game what you will enjoy because its getting too hard then yes, do go for the God Mode option from the start.

Know your Rewards

Zagreus is dropped into a combat room at the start of each run. The starting location combat room will always be the same however the enemies in it won’t be. After successfully clearing the enemies in the room a door that has a symbol becomes visible. The symbol refers to one of the possible rewards that can be granted from clearing the next combat room. 

Hades game starting chamber
Hades starting chamber

The possible rewards for clearing combat rooms in Hades are as follows:

Chthonic Key Used to unlock Infernal Arms (weapons) and also used at the Mirror of Night to unlock more abilities  
Darkness Used to upgrade abilities at the Mirror of Night (permanent upgrades)   
Gemstones Used for renovating the underworld including the House of Hades. Yes, Hades has a personal house contractor and it’s quite hilarious. 
Nectar Used as gifts to be given to Non Playable Characters (NPC) that you will meet throughout the game.  
Centaur Heart Used to increase Zagreus’s max health by 25 but only for that particular run. It resets on his death. 
Charon’s Obol It’s essentially money i.e. coins that you collect for defeating enemies but a large amount of it can also be found as a room reward. Money is used at Charon’s shop or at the Well of Charon to buy items and boons. However money collected in one run is not carried over to the next. 
Daedalus Hammer Used to change the way your current equipped weapon for that run behaves. Essentially changes the attack pattern or damage output. 
Poms of Power Used as an upgrade to your existing Boon’s power. If more than one boon is present you can choose which one you would like to level up. 
Boons Are status traits granted to Zagreus by the Olympian Gods. Each god’s boon has a unique status effect / trait depending on the god that granted it. Also some God’s boons work well with each other, thereby giving Zagreus a chance to obtain duo-boons.        
Rewards for clearing combat rooms in Hades videogame
  • Chthonic Key In Hades
  • Darkness in Hades videogame
  • Gemstones in Hades videogame
  • Nectar in Hades videogame
  • Centaur heart in Hades videogame
  • Charon’s obol in Hades videogame
  • Daedalus hammer in Hades videogame
  • Pom’s power in Hades videogame
  • Boons in Hades videogame

Knowing which rewards you want to focus on in your initial runs is key.

Chthonic Keys

As mentioned above they are essentially keys that help you unlock your Infernal Arms (weapons) and a good strategy would be to focus to acquiring these keys whenever you get the opportunity.

Stygian Blade Default starting weapon  
Heart-Seeking Bow Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 1 
Shield of Chaos Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 3 
Eternal Spear Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 4 
Twin Fists of Malphon Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 8 
Adamant Rail Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 8 
Infernal Arms in Hades videogame
Infernal arms in Hades game
Infernal arms in Hades game

Unlocking the first 3 weapons of Zagreus should be the goal i.e. you would need a total of 8 Chthonic Keys. They also unlock in a set order as mentioned above. Its always good to have different weapons unlocked as they are a great way to try out different boon combinations. Each weapon is unique and has its own move set. Apart from that each weapon also possess its own special attacks. 

Tip: After you unlock the Eternal spear, you can stop focusing on Infernal Arms for some time and use the Chthonic keys to unlock other abilities for Zagreus as you can come back to unlocking the remaining two Infernal Arms later.     

The Chthonic keys are also used to unlock further abilities for Zagreus at the Mirror of Night.

4 Abilities  Unlocked from the start 
2 Abilities  Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 5 
2 Abilities Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 10 
2 Abilities Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 20 
2 Abilities Unlocked by Chthonic Key x 30 
Mirror of night abilities in Hades videogame
Mirror of night in Hades game
Mirror of Night

Also each time you want to reset an ability it will cost you a Chthonic Key. Meaning if you want to get back all the darkness you spent on upgrading a particular talent you will need to spend Chthonic Key x 1.   

Tip: After you unlock the first tier of new abilities (after spending Chthonic Key x 5) you can then return your focus to unlocking the remaining two Infernal Arms and then continue acquiring keys to eventually unlock all the abilities for Zagreus.     

Chthonic Keys are also used as a tradeable item with the Wretched Broker who is another delightful character found in the house of Hades. And finally the Chthonic Keys are used to unlock ranks from the Resource Director but don’t worry about that now as it is a fairly later game cosmetic item.

Darkness 

Another upgrade currency so to speak is Darkness. It is primarily used to upgrade your abilities at the Mirror of Night. Each ability has multiple ranks and each rank requires a certain amount of Darkness before that ability is maxed out. These abilities act as your permanent upgrade system that carries over from one run into the next run. 

After having collected 300 Darkness you unlock each abilities alternate form and you can again spend more Darkness to upgrade that alternate version as well. However only one version of each ability can be active at any given time and they be easily switched at the Mirror of Night either before or after a run.

Tip: Darkness is earned via a room reward or by beating a main boss a second time around. You can also buy it from Charon’s Well or Shop if it is available. The Wretched Broker also sells them from time to time. Even talking to certain NPC characters (identified by the exclamation point over their head) can get Darkness. After some runs you will notice a purple hue around some of your Infernal Arms, if you equip that weapon for your next run then you gain 20% more darkness.   

So don’t worry too much about the requirement of Darkness that each ability will have because once you start playing more, you will start collecting a decent amount of Darkness per run.

Talk to Everyone 

Whenever you meet a NPC (Non Playable Characters) and they have an exclamation mark over their head. Make it a point to talk to them as these characters not only add context and back story to your journey through the underworld. But they may also have valuable rewards for you which can be quite helpful during a run. 

  • NPC in Hades game
  • NPC in Hades game
  • NPC in Hades game

However this interaction is not limited to only talking to them while you are on an escape attempt. Let’s say you had an unsuccessful escape attempt and returned back home. Chances are, not only does Zagreus react to what just happened but key NPC’s at the House of Hades have some comments about what just happened. The interactions ranges from throwing shade at you to actually complementing on how far you reach in your last attempt (depends who you speak too).

Tip: Talking to NPC after any action (completing favours, giving gifts, killing enemies, getting killed etc.) leads to opening up more of the story and upgrade options as well.   

Also not only can you talk to your dog “Cerberus” yeah that Cerberus the 3 headed one but you can pet it too. 

Gift Nectar to NPC’s

Another unique reward item you can find during your runs is Nectar. Their primary function is to be given as gifts to NPC’s. Any NPC that you speak too can also be given a Nectar provided you have one on you at the time. Giving this Nectar to a NPC lets you unlock whats called a Keepsake. For example giving Skelly a Nectar before you go on a run will make him want to gift you in return. His keepsake item is a Golden Tooth. 

  • Nectar in Hades game
  • NPC in Hades game

Each NPC has his/her unique Keepsake item. You only need to give a single Nectar to any NPC once for them to give you their keepsake. Therefore it is a good strategy to always be carrying some Nectars with you in case you run into an NPC who you have haven’t given one.

Tip: Don’t give a single NPC multiple nectars the first time around. Spread the wealth and try to collect all the different type of keepsakes as each one has a unique property that can help you in your next run.

Once you have unlocked Achilles Codex, you can quickly check to see who all you have given Nectar too and how many times you have given. Each time you give a Nectar it is represented will a filled heart icon. It even shows you if you give more Nectar to the NPC you can unlock an important dialog or even their “Favour” which is their personal quest. You need to give a higher tier item in order to Max out the relationship / bond with them.

  • Codex in hades Videogame
  • Codex in hades Videogame
  • Codex in hades Videogame

Equip a keepsake 

Each Keepsake is different and they grant you different bonuses like attack power, increase stats, buffs and they can be upgraded by clearing rooms (Encounters). They are stored in your keepsake collection box next to your weapons before the start of any run. 

Some examples of Keepsakes in Hades:

KeepsakeNPCStating 1 Star (Level / Rank)
 Old Spiked Collar CerberusGain extra +25 Health at the start of a run.
Myrmidon BracerAchilles 20% less damage is taken from the front while 10% more damage is taken from the back. 
Black ShawlNyx Deal 10% damage when attacking undamaged foes and when attacking them from behind. 
Pierced ButterflyThanatos Gain an additional 1% damage for each room you clear without taking damage. 
Bone HourglassCharon Timed Items that are found in the Well of Charon have a longer time limit before they expire (+4 rooms) 
Chthonic Coin PurseHypnos Receive 100 Charon’s Obol at the beginning of any run (once per run). 
Skull EarringMegaera Your attacks Deal 20% more damage when your health is at 35% or below. 
Harpy Feather DusterDusa During a run any urns that you break in the environment have a 3% chance to contain healing items. 
Lucky ToothSkelly Automatically restore up to 50 Health when you die (Can only be used once per run). 
Examples of Keepsakes in Hades videogame
  • Keepsakes in Hades
  • Keepsakes in Hades
  • Keepsakes in Hades

Tip: Use your Codex to keep a track of who all you have given you a keepsake and before you leave for an escape attempt always equip a Keepsake as they can be levelled up to 3 times depending on the amount of rooms you clear having that particular keepsake equipped.

However only 6 NPC’s have the option to give you another item after giving you their Keepsake. They are called a Legendary Keepsake aka Companions and they can only be acquired after you have completed that particular character “favour” or quest and have given them a special higher tier item called Ambrosia.

Easiest way to identify which characters have these Legendary Keepsakes is from the codex. The characters Affinity Gauge will show you with a keyhole meaning that you would need to complete their favour in order to progress further. The Affinity Gauge only increases by given Nectar to the NPC.    

Don’t hoard your Obols

Charon’s Obols aka money is something you need to be fast and loose with when you’re in a run. For starters they don’t carry over from one run to the other. Once you die you lose them all. You have no use for them at the House of Hades. They can’t be used for any upgrades outside a run (escape attempt). 

Charon’s obol in Hades videogame
Charon’s Obol

However you can equip Keepsakes that grant you more money at the start of each run. You can get Abilities from the Mirror of Night that also let you get more money at the start of each run as well. Even the House Hades Contractors have upgrades that let you pick up more coins from Hades Treasure Troves encounters, Clamming underworld rewards also grants you Coins and destroying Urns in the environment can grant you coins. 

You primarily accumulate coins by defeating enemies and you spend them at Charon’s Well or Shop. At the shop you can spend money to buy health, Pom of Power, Boons from different Olympian Gods etc.

Tip: Try to avoid going to the shop early on during a run. Don’t go to the shop if you don’t have at least 50 coins

His prices tend to vary depending on what items are there in the shop. For example Health items require 50 coins, a Slice of Pom is 50 coins, Pom of Power is 100 coins, Centaur Heart is 125 coins, God Boons are 150 coins etc.

At any given time there will be up to 3 items in the shop that only holds true from the first level till the third. The Shop in 4th level is little different where more items are on sale including rarer Boons & items.

Experiment with Boons & Weapons combo

Boons can be considered as run based power-ups that you receive from the Olympian Gods to help you bust out from the underworld. These can be buffs, status effects, curses, extra dash attacks, cast power ups etc. Depending on which Olympian Gods boon you accepted, it can have varying effects on your Infernal Arm (weapon) or on your abilities like dashing and casting.

  • Boons in Hades game

It pays to experiment with your Infernal Arms as each one behaves quite differently. You can quickly find which weapon you are comfortable with but also keep in mind that the various Boons you may encounter along the way also add a lot of variety even to that same Infernal Arm.

Don’t get completely attached to one weapon and boon combination as it’s highly unlikely that you will get the same boon drops as you did in your previous runs. The game offers you a ton of variety, embrace it and you will start to find what works for you best.

Tip: Some boons combinations work together and you may get the opportunity to get a very powerful Duo Boon. Which means that even among the Olympian Gods some play well together better than others. Try to experiment with various type of boons and see which weapon and boon combination suits your type of playstyle better.    

Don’t forget to Dash & Cast 

Hades moves at a quick pace and you start to notice that the more encounters (rooms) you clear, the enemies will also start to be more aggressive with you. They force you to use the entire space and in those moment the dash move is your friend. 

The ability to quickly dash away from the enemy or dash into one to get in some quick hits, is highly underrated. When you dash in Hades the movement feels so precise.

Hades Tips – How to dash and cast on Playstation

Tip: Get the Dash & Cast upgrades from the Mirror of Night as they are extremely useful. To be able to dash away once is great from to be able to dash more than once is even better. Same can be said for your cast, once to unlock the ability to cast more and do more damage. It really does open up various ways to get in and out of a combat situation.

Also not to forget that your cast and dash’s moves are also affected by the type of Boon’s you pick up.

For example if you accept a boon from Zeus, you may get ability that each time you dash a bolt of lightning drop’s down. Let’s say you accept a boon from Athena, you cast not only damages enemies in a small area but can also reflect attacks.

God Mode 

There is absolutely no shame in turning on the “God Mode” option. The reason for that option to exist is to be more accessible and welcoming to new players. Plus to also give a moment of respite for players who have hit that proverbial wall. The game doesn’t lock out any trophies or penalise your run if the mode is activated in the middle of a run. 

The way the God mode works is that it does not make you invulnerable to damage but instead reduces the damage you take by 20%. However, when you die and return back home your damage resistance in your next run increases by 2% and caps at 80%. Meaning at any given time when the mode is activated you take less damage from enemies.

  • God mode in Hades game
  • God mode in Hades game

For example: you start a run with 22% damage resistance and when you die your damage resistance increases by another 2% (which now makes it 24%) So on your next run you have a damage resistance of 24% from the start. This keeps building up until it maxes out at 80%.

The resistance credit only works once the mode has been activated and stops the minute the mode is turned off. Everything else about the game remains the same.

Having said all that, there is a lot more depth and much more to unlock in Hades. There is a reason why Hades has won so many Game of the Year awards and has been one of the best rouge-like video game made in the last decade. 

Also if you are enjoying the game and would like to learn more about it, then do check this section on the Maker of Hades videogame in our previous article.

Note: Wherever you decide to pick the game up, be it the PlayStation, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch or the P.C. Cross-Saves do not carry over from one platform to the other. Meaning your save files don’t transfer over from the PlayStation to the Nintendo Switch or the Xbox Series X/s and vice-versa. However only the Nintendo switch system has cross-save support between the P.C and Switch version of the game. For more information on cross-saves refer to the FAQ of Supergiant Games.

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