The hit indie game from Supergiant Games, Hades, has garnered critical and commercial acclaim. Just three days after its early access development and official release it sold over a million copies, as it should. From its dynamic gameplay to its intriguing story, there is a lot to enjoy. So here is a general guide and introduction into the world of Hades.

You play as Zagreus, son of the titular god Hades. Well-versed in the martial arts, your goal is to reach the earth’s surface by advancing through the various floors of hell: Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and the Styx. Each floor blocks your escape with shades, monsters, and even heroic champions.

Luckily, you have some help from your distant relatives, the Olympian gods, who want Zagreus to live with them atop Mt. Olympus. Each god has their unique boon that will empower you. Mix and match them; you may end up with a lucky duo boon or even a legendary! As you collect blessings, you will learn about their immortal lives, and their vibrant personalities will color your trek out of hell.


Nyx Daedalus Hammer Mirror of Night

First things first, you won’t make it out on your first run. You won’t even beat the first floor boss. You’re meant to play again and again, so it will take some patience. Until you master Hades, experiment with your playstyle. Try out all the weapons and boon combos. Daedalus hammers will change your weapon attacks even further. I like taking the weapon with dark thirst, a currency buff. Try everything.

Nyx provides a mirror of night that strengthens you. Obtain darkness from your escape attempts and strengthen yourself. It’s pretty self-explanatory. More options will reveal themselves, but for now try out what appeals to you.

Infernal Arms

Infernal Arms Weapons Hades Titan Blood

The Olympian gods massacred their progenitors, the Titans, and scattered the remains in Tartarus so they can never resurrect. The victors have abandoned many of their armaments, yet the semi-sentient weapons still thirst for bloodshed. And now, they’ve somehow shown up in your backyard? Might as well put them to use. Defeat floor bosses for Titan Blood to level up the infernal arms. Hidden aspects unlock with time.

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Stygius, your sword, attacks three times and ends with a lunge. Varatha the spear has long melee range and fast attack speed. Aegis the shield has short range but knocks back foes. Coronacht the bow has long range spanning your screen. The drawback is you need to charge attacks for greater distances. Malphon the fists delivers fast melee attacks. Finally, Exagryph the gun reloads with rapid-fire bullets.

Boons Of The Gods, Except Hades

Boons Gods Hades

The first boon you encounter will be Athena’s. She blesses you with defense and the ability to deflect attacks. Ares equips you with delayed burst damage, AOE blade rifts, and increased damage. Artemis grants critical chance, armor damage, and cast advantages. Dionysus bestows DOT, healing buffs, and even drops nectar.

The gods listed hereafter will not appear in your first run. Aphrodite improves your health pool while weakening or even charming foes. Poseidon’s boons grant knockback, movement-based damage, and increases currency rewards. Zeus gifts you with rapid, AOE lightning and by extension range.

Hermes improves mobility, speed, and dodge chance. He will normally debut in Asphodel or the last shop in Tartarus. Demeter enhances healing and debuffs foes with slows. Her boons only appear after you reach the surface for the first time.

Chaos boons are slightly different. In order to obtain them you must sacrifice some health. Then for the next few chambers, you will be penalized by disabling a mechanic like reduced range, self-inflicted damage, etc. Afterward, the curse will transform into a blessing. Don’t worry if you can’t remember everything. You will run into them time and time again.


Keepsake Urn Hades

You will run into an item: Nectar. Give one to as many characters as you can. They will give you keepsakes, which provide great bonuses. I recommend Chaos and Skelly’s keepsakes if you’re just starting out.

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Keep an eye out for Shiny Urns. The obols add up. Look for glitter, sparkles, or saturated colors like gold, cyan, and emerald. They have a higher spawn rate in the Styx. Urns will not break when you dash into them. They can block your movement, so it might help to just attack them.

Higher difficulty chambers are denoted with a skull and flags. Although a Styx tunnel may denote a mini-boss, it can be replaced with a Satyr Sack. You won’t face any Tiny Vermin or mini-bosses in this case.

If you can’t keep track of the visuals, you may need to lower Hades‘ brightness. The explosions and flashing effects fill up your screen so the smaller details lose their clarity. Don’t worry. The contrasting, saturated colors still hold true at 50%.


Charon Shop Hades Centaur Heart Pom of Power Slice Food Obol Boon Random Darkness Chthonic Key Gemstones Daedalus Hammer Nectar

We know where the final floor bosses appear; floors 13, 23, and 35 are guaranteed to have no combat. Charon’s shop will typically appear here. He sells boons for 150 obols and a random boon for 125. Centaur hearts cost 125 obols and increase your health by a base 25. Poms of Power sell for 100, and Pom Slices for 50. Poms give you the chance to level one of three boons. Pom slices level up randomly. Food heals for a base 30% of your health and costs 50 obols. He even sells Daedalus hammers for 200.

Chthonic keys are used to unlock infernal arms and mirror upgrades. They are 50 obols. A base twenty-five Darkness sells for 25 obols. Twenty Gemstones sell for 75 obols. Later on, both currencies can increase in amount at the same price. Finally, a single Nectar is 200 obols. Chthonic Keys, Darkness, Gemstones, and Nectar are chosen from the same pool for the chance to appear in Charon’s shop.

Traps are on every floor and every combat chamber. They can be pressure plates, magma, smokescreens, ticking bombs, poison gas, ceiling guillotines, and more. They’re a double-edged sword; they can damage you and/or decimate waves of foes. Most traps deactivate when all foes are killed. Debris will also impede your path.

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Some traps are obscured by walls and corners due to the isometric perspective. One Tartarus chamber has two “hidden” spiked tiles next you when you enter. Floating enemies do not trigger traps on the ground when they cross. However, you can activate them by dashing over or quickly dashing in and out.

When you start an escape attempt, the first four gods you accept will be locked in for the remainder of that run. Be mindful, but don’t worry if you don’t get who you want. You will eventually obtain all their keepsakes and can summon them.

Hades Is A Fishing Game?

Fishing Hades Fish

Yes, Hades has a fishing game! Fish spawn on all stages provided there is liquid: water, blood, magma, or even chaos aether. They emit shining light. After defeating all foes, a bell rings out. The fish can pull your line four times, so three fake-outs guarantee a catch on the fourth. Only reel in your line when the whole bob goes under and you hear a sploosh. There should be black and white shimmery splashes. Fishes in Elysium and on the surface grant rewards with better rarity.

Try and Try Again

Zagreus Floors Hades Asphodel Elysium Tartarus Styx

If you grow frustrated, just remember: games are designed to be completed. At least, well-designed games. Especially roguelike ones. And Hades fits in both categories. I didn’t cover everything; there’s a lot the game introduces and you’ll catch on quickly. So go out there and Divine Dash in one of the best games out there!

Hades is available on Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X.

NEXT: Hades 2 – Time For Witchcraft

Luke Sakanashi
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