Shattered Pixel Dungeon: Tips and Tricks for Beginner

Shattered Pixel Dungeon – one of the best mobile games, finally got released on Steam. It is also quite brutal in difficulty due to the it’s randomness and the amount of game knowledge required, especially if you want to win consistently. This is a guide aimed mostly at intermediate players, however I will also go over the basic things for new players that might not be obvious at first.

The Basics

  • The “examine” button can be used to, as the name suggests, examine things in the world, this can be monsters, items laying around, traps, hazards, etc. Sometimes this can be very useful when learning the game, since many monsters have unique mechanics that are described in the examine menu.
  • The “examine” key can also be clicked twice to search the area around your character. This is vital to finding secret rooms or traps. Your character might also spot the secrets around them randomly, but don’t count on it.
  • Each stage of a dungeon (one stage spanning 5 floors, for example sewer, prison, caves, metropolis and demon halls) always contains 3 scrolls of upgrade and 2 potions of strength. BE SURE TO GET THOSE. Potions of strength allow you to equip better equipment while also making you better with your old equipment (due to excess strength), and scrolls of upgrade directly buff your items. However, it is a good practice to use them sparingly, saving them up until you’re in a pinch or until you find a high-tier weapon/armor (tier 4/5 for weapon, tier 5 for armor (unless you’re mega unlucky then tier 4, which is scale armor, will do), to which you can dump enough scrolls to get to at least +6 armor and everything else on weapon.
  • Equipable items and wands can be cursed, meaning that they come with a harmful enchantment and that you cannot unequip them, and it’s not always obvious whether or not an item you want to equip is cursed or not.
  • When you receive a new item, depending on where you got it from the item might always be cursed or never cursed. Cursed items usually come from gravestones, sacrificial altar and skeletal remains (if wraith spawns). Random drops can be cursed as well, however it’s mostly random. The items background automatically shows if the item you got is an “always cursed” or “never cursed”, blue being not cursed, red being cursed and purple being “unknown”.– Cursed

    – Not cursed

    – Unknown

  • Try not to 1v2 enemies, unless you are tearing through everything easily. You can turn tight corridors into chokes, and deal with enemies one-by-one.
  • Surprise attacks are a thing – if an enemy is sleeping or you just went through a door and they followed or if you attack when invisible, the hit is guaranteed to be successful (except against the giant crab, one of the enemies that sad ghost tells you to kill).

Tip #1: Don’t ignore alchemy.

When I started out, I ignored alchemy completely. I just wouldn’t use it, thought it was completely pointless. After getting a few wins under my belt, I was still ignoring it until a few months ago, that’s when I had a realization that alchemy is vital if you want to have consistent wins. Here are some of the ways it can change your runs:

  • Scrolls of Divination can be used to mass-identify potions/scrolls/rings without actually using them. You usually get enough identification scrolls from shops/drops/spawns that you can have almost every potion/scroll/ring identified before entering 3rd stage. The surplus scrolls and potions can them be used for further alchemy or just regular usage.
  • Beacons of returning are immensely useful and save a ton of food. You’re about to enter metropolis or demon halls, but first you want to revisit old shops and buy all scrolls/heal potions? Plop this boy down and use scrolls of passage (basically next entry) to quickly visit them all, then return. You can’t afford something in the current floors shop that you need? Plop this guy down and return anytime you have full inventory to offload or enough gold.
  • Curse infusions might sound really counter productive – deliberately curse your item to have it upgraded? Surprisingly, I found it to be quite good late game, where both your weapon and armor are upgraded to +6 or more – it gives you a curse, yes, but also a +2 upgrade on both armor and weapon, effectively giving you +4 extra upgrade scrolls. There’s also a hidden benefit of your weapon not teleporting away due to certain traps later. Also, the curses you get aren’t great, but they’re not gamebreaking either. If you don’t have any OP-tier enchantments, try it out. If you don’t like the curse, you can always re-curse your item. Note: Don’t do this to wands (mage’s staff included), unless you’re running some cursed wand build.
  • This bad boy acts as a healing potion and as food with no downsides. Invaluable for on-diet runs and very helpful on regular runs.

And that’s just a few examples. There are also the elixirs that imbue you and give you immunity to fire/toxic gas/cold which are really useful at certain bosses. I didn’t mention scroll of anti-magic, which I’ll talk about in another tip.

Tip #2: Trap/Challenge rooms – Alternative completion methods

These rooms are mainly intended to be cleared by using potions that spawn in the level. However, there are also lesser-known methods on bypassing the challenges or completing them by using less resources. These aren’t all the methods, but the methods I was able to find.

  • Fire wall room – The main way you clear the room is by throwing an frost potion next to the fire wall. However, you can save the potion by throwing an icecap seed (blue seed) next to the fire. It will catch on fire so quickly throw a random item on it to activate the frost effect.
  • Pit prison – This room doesn’t have any defined “potion” way to be cleared. There are a couple of ways this room can be tackled, though – just jumping down and yoloing it (which would cause a lot of hurt), using feather fall spell before jumping (no damage but a bit expensive). There is also a middle ground – jump down without using anything but use seed of dreamfoil (the pink one that clears debuffs) immediately after (throw it next to yourself and step on it). This will clear bleeding and crippled debuffs, meaning you only lose health from the jump and not from the bleed.

More will be added later.

Tip #3: Don’t be afraid of cursed items.

One of the ways to get stronger when progressing is to get gear upgrades, be it from drops or spawns or completing challenge rooms. However, if you were anything like me you probably are extremely paranoid about equipping new items, maybe saving an identify scroll or remove curse scroll just in case.

However, don’t be scared of cursed items – most of the curse effects aren’t that harmful. If your current items suck and you have enough strength to wear an unidentified item of different tier, do it! Maybe it’s not cursed, maybe it’s even upgraded. Even if it is cursed, it’s usually a minor inconvenience (unless the item has fragile or metabolism (unless you have max horn of plenty) on it then it’s maybe a problem).

However, let’s say you have a lot of cursed items on you because you are a dummy and you don’t have nearly enough scrolls to uncurse them. Or you have a lot of items that you can instantly identify due to talents, but don’t want to be stuck with a cursed item equipped. What do you then? Well, there’s a few ways you can completely negate curses:

  •  Well of healing is a really good way. What the well does is it heals you completely, feeds you, and uncurses all worn items. What that means is you can equip everything you can that isn’t identified, and just step into the pool. Now you have a bunch of items that you have identified (or at least, know are not cursed), a bunch of cursed items that are no longer cursed, and the aforementioned health and food.
  •  This might be one of my favorite scrolls in the game – what it does is completely negates magic temporarily. What this means for us is that we can completely ignore the “can’t unequip cursed items” part, and literally try everything we have out at a cost of some energy and 1 remove curse scroll. It’s awesome. However, this does not remove curses from items, so keep this in mind.
  • Stone of enchantment can be used to replace the curse with a beneficial enchantment. However, the part of the curse where you can’t unequip the item stays.

There’s also a way to remove a curse, which is to upgrade it. It has a 1/3 chance of working, however I would not recommend doing it, unless it’s an item you want to use until the end.

Also, it is worth mentioning that upgrading an item will weaken the curse, which means you can unequip it but the harmful effect stays. Don’t do this for random items unless you really have to.

Tip #4: Wandmaker quest items.

On stage 2, between floors 7 and 9 there is a wandmaker waiting for you to help him. The possible tasks are:

  • Get him corpse dust.
  • Kill a rotberry plant and bring him the seed.
  • Summon an elemental and kill it for embers.

However, returning to him with the items might not be the most beneficial thing you can do (except maybe if he gives you an embers quest, it is quite useless to be honest).

  • Rotberry seed is pretty straightforward – if you combine it with blandfruit and then eat it, you gain 1 extra strength point. Self explanatory, and useful.
  • If you get corpse dust, and you happen to have a wand of corruption, you can do a really funny necromancer build, where you upgrade the wand, and once a wraith spawns you use the wand of corruption on it. The wand has to have certain amount of upgrades to it to instantly corrupt the wraiths, though – up to +13 in the final level. Can also be enhanced by a corrupted dried rose, which also spawns wraiths, but way less infrequently.

As I mentioned previously, the “fresh embers” are pretty useless – they can be used to craft “spawn elemental” spell, however the elementals are basically temporary minions that don’t follow you between floors. Maybe if you didn’t need a wand you could use them against a boss, but eh.

Tip #5: A little bit about food.

During your adventures, you might have a lot of mystery meat in your inventory, and maybe you were thinking “hmm, is it better to burn it, cook it with alchemy, or freeze it?”. The answer:

Freeze > Burn > Cook.

All of these options restore the exact same amount of food, however frozen food has a chance to give you a beneficial effect like a heal. Burned (chargrilled) meat just restores the food, and stewed meat (cooked) does the same thing as burned meat, except you require alchemical energy to prepare it.

Another thing I want to add is meat pie – it requires ration of food, pastry and mystery meat. The total ingredient sum in satiation is (2/3 + 1 + 1/3 = 2 full hunger restores). What you get is 1 full hunger restore + 450 turns of no hunger, which effectively translates to 2 full hunger restores. What you also additionally get is increased healing for 450 turns, which definitely is handy, and some inventory space saved. So if you have the chance, always make meat pies. Note: Don’t eat meat pies before fighting a boss. Your hunger doesn’t deplete during the boss fight, however the 450 turn buff does.

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