One of the key draws of a game like Below is how little it holds your hand. Right from the beginning, you are thrown into a huge, mysterious world where seemingly everything is out to kill you.
Sometimes, a little help is warranted.
Wandering around with no clue what you are supposed to be doing is fine for a bit, but it can get frustrating if you’re trying to move forward with no clue what to do. We don’t want to spoil things for you here, but we do want to help get your feet under you – or should we say… Below you? – to help you get started on your journey. Here are a couple tips for getting started in Below, and a few advanced mechanics we wish we had known about sooner.
Keep yourself healthy with food and water
Early on, it may not seem like keeping yourself healthy in Below is going to be a problem. When you start to hit deeper floors, however, you’ll notice that available resources start to dry up as you venture deeper, and you’ll often have to rely on your stocked goods to make it to the next checkpoint. There are three health meters you need to worry about – they appear in the top left corner of the screen when your they are running low or when you are at your inventory.
The icons should be fairly easy to logic out – hunger, thirst, and health. Both hunger and thirst decrease automatically, and can be replenished through items found in the dungeon.
You can find food, like turnips, growing in the ground. Even better, keep an eye out for small animals, like rats, moving through the grass. If you attack them, you can harvest some morsels that you can eat to sate your hunger. You can also spear fish in small pools by equipping your spear, holding the attack button, and releasing when a fish is nearby.
Speaking of small pools, you can replenish your thirst meter any time you find a pool by standing in it and hitting the use button. Some food also replenishes thirst, and you can fill empty bottles in your inventory for longer treks.
Fast travel and find your items after you die
As you start encountering longer dungeons and tougher enemies – not to mention that pesky spike trap – you’ll find that Below owes some of its design philosophy to games like Dark Souls. You’re going to die.
Normally, you’ll find yourself back where you started after you die, but you can actually set checkpoints for yourself so it’s easier to recover your supplies after you succumb to the dungeon’s dangers.
Whenever you hit a campfire site, you are given a few options. The left option – which will cost you a substantial chunk of the crystals you get for killing enemies – will transform the campfire into one with blue flames. The next time you die and wash up at start, you can approach the first campfire and instantly transport yourself to the blue-flamed location.
Your first stop after dying should be the spot where you fell – you’ve got to find your lantern and other items that dropped. If you pull up your map once you reach the floor where you died, you will see a visual indicator in the room you need to get to in order to retrieve everything you dropped. This should be your number one priority after dying.
Stock the Pocket
At first glance, the Pocket seems totally unneeded in Below. It’s a persistent storage space where you can stock up on items, minimizing your losses when you fall.
On later runs, as you figure out what you’re up against and runs last for much longer stretches with many fewer resources, your stockpile in the Pocket becomes an absolute necessity. Your inventory is a lot smaller than it seems, so make good use of the storage space the game gives you so you can find success later on.
Another element of Below that is based entirely on trial and error is crafting. The game doesn’t let you combine items that won’t make something new, but it also won’t tell you the recipes for crafting essential items – it leaves it up to you to discover (and remember) what makes what.
You can craft from your inventory screen, and it’s generally safer to do it at a campfire where you won’t have to worry about enemies sneaking up on your while you’re distracted.
Here is list of what we (and other members of the Below community) have discovered so far:
Simple items become more advanced when combining three of them together:
- Ember + Ember + Ember = Phosphor
- Shard + Shard + Shard = Spike
- Stick + Stick + Stick = Bundle
- String + String + String = Weave
Stay alive with these dungeon essentials:
- Blood Moss + Sludge + String = Bandage
- Blood Moss + Sludge + Leather = Bandage+
- Blood Moss + Sludge + Weave = Salve Strap
- Blood Moss + Spike + Shard = Caltrops
- Bundle + Crystal + Weave = Crystal Rod
- Stick + String + Ember = Torch
- Stick + Weave + Phosphor = Torch+
Crush your enemies by building new weapons:
- Bundle + Leather + Shard = 4X Arrow
- Bundle + Leather + Phosphor = 4X Fire Arrow
- Bundle + Spike + Shard = 4X Spike Arrow
- Bundle + String + Phosphor = 4X Bomb Arrow
- Skull + String + Phosphor = Bomb
- Skull + Spike + Phosphor = Mine
- Stick + Leather + Shard = Arrow
- Stick + Leather + Ember = Fire Arrow
- Stick + Spike + Shard = Spike Arrow
- Stick + String + Phosphor = Bomb Arrow
That’s it for our beginner’s and crafting guide for Below. Keep an eye out for other Below content and coverage of other indie games here on GameSkinny.