Hades is available now on Nintendo Switch, and it’s finally left early-access on PC — so there’s no better time to dive into this action-heavy randomized rogue-like. Taking place in a world of Greek Mythology, you’re trapped in the eponymous after-life, and must fight your way to Freedom. Each time you die, you’ll reset at the beginning of the dungeon and try again.
You’re pretty weak at the start of your adventure, but there are multiple ways to upgrade yourself and become stronger. By building up friendships with the many characters you meet, you’ll instantly enhance yourself and earn death protection that can give you bonus lives. There’s a lot more you need to know, so if you’re dying constantly and want to get stronger, here’s a bunch of methods to improve yourself permanently.
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#1: Give Everyone You Meet Nectar For Useful Keepsakes (Especially Skelly)
Making friends should be your first priority in Hades. As you clear rooms, you’ll sometimes earn a unique currency called Nectar. Nectar is a gift you can give NPCs — in exchange, they’ll give you a Keepsake for the first nectar.
Some characters like Skelly give you a keepsake that offers Death Protection — when you hit 0% HP, you’ll instantly heal. Keepsakes can be upgraded later to enhance their effects. Give Skelly, your training Dummy, some Nectar ASAP. Do the same for Cerberus to gain a keepsake that gives you +25% starting HP.
Don’t bother giving multiple Nectars to anyone early in the game. Just give everyone 1 to gain their keepsake — then you can focus on upgrading friendships later.
#2: Try To Get Multiple Minor Boons From The Same God For A Shot At Legendary Boons
Don’t select random boons from multiple gods on each run. Stick to one god — the boon effects can stack and synergize easier when you’re working with a single god. On top of that, if you gain lots of minor boons, you can eventually get a chance to earn a legendary boon.
Gifting Nectar to specific gods gives you keepsakes that guarantee boons from that god — and if you upgrade the keepsake, you’ll increase your chances of getting rare (or better) blessings. It’s good to find a god you like and stick with them.
#3: Use Dashes (And Boons) To Avoid Damage And Apply Status Effects
No matter what type of dash you’re using, it gives you invincibility frames — meaning you can dodge straight through enemies or attacks without taking damage. Certain boons can also add a special effect to your dashes, applying status effects to enemies if you dash through them.
Applying status effect boons to your dashes is a great way to add offensive utility to your arsenal. You’ll be dodging constantly, it’s basically a free move, so why not get boons to lightning strike or blade rift?
#4: Get These Upgrades At The Mirror Of Darkness First
Like Nectar, Darkness is another vital resource that carries over between runs. Darkness is used to unlock upgrades at the Mirror of Darkness — the Mirror provides permanent upgrades so you’ll be able to greatly increase your survivability with just a few early upgrades.
- Upgrade Cthonic Vitality
- Greater Reflex
- Death Defiance
Unlock the next level in the mirror, and spend those keys to get more mirror options — you don’t need new weapons early in the game.
#5: Get The Fated List Of Minor Prophecies First & Trade Diamonds
The House Contractor offers some useful upgrades — and some cosmetic stuff you absolutely don’t need. Focus on unlocking everything on the left-most column when using the House Contractor. Start with the ‘Fated List of Minor Prophecies’ to earn rewards.
The ‘Fated List’ is like a trackable list of achievements that offer rewards. They don’t necessarily help with survivability, but they do give you lots of useful resource items you absolutely need. One of those rare resources is the Diamond.
Diamonds can be traded to the Contractor — in exchange you’ll get a special item that gives you increased rewards for each run. Get diamonds, trade to the Contractor for loot buffs, and complete more runs for more rewards.
#6: The Bow & Shield Are The Safest Weapons
Early in the game, you start with the bow and sword. Ignore the sword and stick with the bow. If you’re struggling to survive, the bow is a much safer weapon to use in combat for obvious reasons. But the safest weapon is the shield. You’ll have to unlock that one with keys, so save your keys and get the shield ASAP.
#7: Don’t Be Afraid Of Projectiles — Attack!
Finally there’s something that took me way too long to realize. You can attack standard projectiles to destroy them before they hit you. Lasers are immune to attacks and can’t be destroyed, but other pellet-style projectiles are vulnerable. Destroy them or dash to avoid them.
That’s just a few recommendations to help you stay alive longer in Hades. This is a huge game you can play for 100+ hours potentially. There’s still a lot more to learn.