Every run of Hades is different. That's due in large part to the widely varying boons from gods, upgrades, and other room-clearing bonuses you'll encounter in each playthrough.
While this is very common for roguelike games, it can be pretty daunting for newcomers to the genre. If you're befuddled by the sheer number of symbols and icons you'll encounter in the game, this roundup will explain what each and every one of them do. After reading this, you should have no trouble deciphering the function of every room you come across during a Hades run.
Symbols appear over every doorway in Hades, giving the player a preview of what's waiting ahead. At some points, players can choose between multiple rooms, and these symbols can help one know which option is the most beneficial.
Thank you to Discord user Swan for posting this image to the Supergiant Games Discord. It rounds up most of the symbols you'll encounter during a Hades run.
The first thing to note are the Laurels around the symbol. Gold laurels signify temporary buffs, while blue laurels signify items that remain after a run ends. Here's a bit more detail about what each does, starting with the boons from Greek gods and goddesses:
Gods and goddess boons in Hades
- Pink heart: A boon from Aphrodite.
- Red sword: A boon from Ares.
- Green bow and arrow: A boon from Artemis.
- Yellow shield: A boon from Athena.
- Purple wine glass: A boon from Dionysus
- Blue trident: A boon from Poseidon
- Yellow lightning: A boon from Zeus
- White wheat: A boon from Demeter
- Yellow wing: A boon from Chaos, though only 2 show up each run
- Blue arrows: A boon from Chaos that will initially debuff the player before giving a boon.
- Two of these symbols: You choose a boon from one god or goddess, fight enemies, and then get a second boon from another god or goddess.
Temporary Zagreus buffs in Hades
Next, there are the other Gold laurel items that are used to upgrade Zagreus over the course of a run:
- Pomegranate: A Pom of Power that will upgrade the level of one of Zagreus' boons.
- Yellow, grey, and red hammer: Daedalus' Hammer that will upgrade one of Zagreus' weapons.
- Yellow coin: Charon's Obol, the currency used to buy items from Charon's shop.
- Grey and Red Heart: A Centaur Heart that adds 25 to Zagreus' max health for that run.
Permanent Zagreus upgrades in Hades
Four symbols will appear with blue laurels. These items will stay with Zagreus even after a run ends:
- Yellow nectar in a circular bottle: This Nectar gives players a one-level boost to one boon during a run, and can then be given to gods or other characters to improve relationships and unlock codex entries.
- Purple teardrop-shaped gem: This is Darkness that will give Zagreus five extra health during a run and then can get used at the Mirror of Night to upgrade Zagreus' abilities. This is one of the most helpful collectibles, and typically worth going for if it's an option.
- Green, red, and yellow gems: Gemstones give 20 obols during a run and can then be used at the House Contractor between runs to customize the underworld or add new kinds of rooms to runs.
- Purple and grey key: A key that unlocks both weapons and new abilities on the Mirror of Night.
Boss room and Charon shop symbols in Hades
The following three symbols are often used in boss rooms or are found in Charon's shop:
- Red blood: Titan's Blood from the Furies is used to improve aspects of weapons after Zagreus has reached the final boss of the game while using them.
- White gem: Diamonds from the Hydra is used to unlock the best upgrades from the contractor.
- Yellow nectar in a square bottle: Ambrosia from Theseus that used to improve relationships with other characters.
Special room symbols in Hades
The final three symbols that you can come across are for special rooms where Zagreus does not have to fight any enemies:
- Multi-colored face football-shaped gem: A room that has chaos. These doors are usually on the floor of a room.
- Exclamation point on a rock: A special encounter with Sisyphus, Eurydice, or Patroclus.
- Golden Skull on a bag: Charon's shop, where many of these items can be purchased with Obols.
- Stairs: a transition room between floors of the underworld.
Choosing the right balances of boons, upgrades, permanent items, and special rooms is key to a successful run in Hades, so you should keep the meaning of all of these symbols in mind as you play.
Hades is available now for PC and Nintendo Switch.