You need to know these Hades beginner tips before you play

© Supergiant Games
It's all Greek to me
Written by Vikki BlakePublished on
If you've ever wondered what it's like to run around the underworld as an immortal god (well, kind of), look no further – Hades is here.
There are thousands of story events and an endless combination of abilities and combos, which means every adventure will feel and play a little differently as you seek to help the son of Hades, Zagreus, escape this underworld. With a rich backstory and complex systems, though, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed when you first jump in.
If you're looking to maximise Zagreus' chances, here's everything you need to know about Hades before you start your first escape attempt. Good luck!

1. Get chatty

Hades athena
Lifeless squalor? I feel attacked
While it's tempting just to get stuck in, there's a surprisingly sophisticated story sitting at the centre of this action game. It's therefore as important to chat with every character you see as it is to murder everything that moves, so get into the habit of approaching every character you see when you're back in the court of Hades, regardless of whether or not they're displaying exclamation marks. This way you'll be able to soak up that luscious lore as well as all the blood.

2. Be generous with your Nectar

hades action
Collect Nectar Points here
While you're dropping by your pals, use the time to share the Nectar you've collected, too. Not only will all recipients respond in kind by sharing a Keepsake – equipable items that buff your stats – but it also makes you best buddies.
Prioritise sharing the Nectar across as many characters as possible before you double-down with a favourite or two, focusing on the gods Cerberus and Hypnos, and vendor Eurydice at first. Pro tip: Gift your very first bottle to Skelly and ignore Hades for now – you'll only get his Keepsake once you've completed the story.

3. Chthonic Keys are, er, key

hades boss fight
Barenaked Hades
Hades can be pretty overwhelming – particularly for beginners getting to grips with the game's complex systems – so if you take nothing else from this guide, let it be this: prioritise collecting Chthonic Keys.
With these, you'll be able to make important upgrades at the Mirror of Night so if you're ever given the choice, always choose a key. You'll need 82 to max out the Mirror and Infernal Arms, so the sooner you start collecting, the better.

4. Experiment, experiment, and then experiment some more

hades action minotaur
Minotaur the gap
It'll take hours of hard graft before you'll really come to understand how Hades works, so in the meantime, experiment wildly with your abilities and weapons. The sooner you get to grips with them the better, and the more you're able to experiment with the abilities granted by the Mirror of Night, the better you can optimise and tweak your stats to your particular style of play. While your mileage may vary, you might find buffs like Boiling Blood, Death Defiance and Shadow Presence particularly helpful in the early game.
If you make a mistake in your upgrades and need to start over (you certainly won't be alone), don't forget that you can reset your Mirror of Night bonuses with a single Chthonic Key.

5. Going Dark

Hades action urns
B-Urn in hell
Before each run, you'll be offered a tempting selection of weapons but there's only one that's worth taking, and that's whatever weapon is glowing purple.
While there's only one of these up for grabs each round, it'll significantly boost the Darkness you collect – just one of several Artifact currencies available in Hades – which is key for those all-important Mirror of Night upgrades.

6. Get Daedalus Hammer upgrades sooner rather than later

Stupid sexy Zagreus
Prince charming
While you get no say in which Darkness weapon is available to you, you do get the chance to invest in what is arguably Hades' most powerful weapon: Daedalus Hammers. They're incredibly powerful and therefore should never be overlooked, particularly as each one offers different upgrade pathways with drastically alters how they work. The further into the game you go, the fewer you might find, but to get you started, you should find one in Tartarus and another in Elysium.

7. Don't be afraid to evoke God Mode

Hades action god mode
If you can't stand the heat... cheat?
There are going to be plenty who'll baulk at this, but if you're struggling early on, don't be scared of turning on God Mode. It's a legitimate tactic if you're having trouble keeping Zagreus alive, and while it doesn't quite make you invincible (well, not to start with anyway – although the more you die with God Mode activated, the stronger you'll be when you respawn) it helps rebalance the game if you're new to – or not a fan of – rogue-like games.