Skip to content

Hydroneer Beginner’s Guide

Hydroneer is a little indie gem that released on the 8th of May 2020 and has charmed thousands of people around the globe with its simple and addictive gameplay loop. We covered the game in our “top new indie games May week 1” list and would highly recommend the game if you don’t own it already. For all its charm and fun gameplay, Hydroneer lacks a proper tutorial and therefore some elements are rather unclear to new players. In this Hydroneer beginner’s guide, we answer five frequently asked questions by new players and provide another five tips to make your Hydroneer experience as smooth as possible.

How to buy things?

This is probably one of the first stumbling blocks for new players as the process of buying things in Hydroneer is not immediately clear. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out, but we will save you some time by explaining the process. In this example, we use the shop close to the new player spawn as all players will have easy access to it at the start of the game. 

The buying process includes three things, a buying platform, a money bucket and a purple buy button. To buy something, head into the shop and pick whatever you want to buy from the shelves or floor. Take this item to the wooden platform close to the money bucket and buy button. Drop the item on the platform, you should see the price increase on the board above the money bucket. Once you have everything you want to buy (and can afford) on the platform, drop your coins into the bucket. If you add enough coins to the bucket to buy the items you requested, you can focus your cursor on the purple gem/button and click to buy the items on the platform.

Hydroneer Beginner's Guide Buying
Blue Marker = Wooden Platform | Green Marker = Where You Put Your Money | Red Marker = Click To Buy [Image: Foulball Hangover]

And just like that, you are now proficient at buying things in Hydroneer.

How to sell things?

Selling things in Hydroneer is crucial to help you on your journey to build the largest and wealthiest mine you can imagine. Buying and selling things doesn’t happen at the same shop. To sell things (ore and crafted goods) you are looking for either the jeweller or the stock market. 

Selling at either the jeweller or stock market works exactly the same, although the yield will differ slightly based on the market value of the items you are selling. The jeweller always gives the same amount of cash while the stock market fluctuates. 

To sell your goods you simply place whatever you are selling on the table next to the jeweller or stock market stand. Focus on the purple gem/button and click to conclude the transaction. Your profit will appear in the bucket and you can pick the coins up from there.  

If you want to sell a pan or crucible filled with raw ore and gems simply place the container on the table and click on the sell button. The container will be emptied of its contents and you can carry it back to your operations to mine more shinies.

What do I do at the start?

Hydroneer starts off quite abruptly and with no explicit instructions. You spawn next to a small mining site which is your first mine. You start out with a shovel, bucket, pan and brush. These are the essential items you need to gather ore and build your mining operations. 

In this beginner’s guide we would suggest that you carry all these items to the river located next to the mining site and dig a deep hole that you can easily enter and exit. The deeper you mine the better the yield so try to reach the bottom if you can. Once you have access to the good soil, take your pan or bucket into the mine with you. Dig up some soil from your deepest part of the mine and dump it in the bucket or pan.

Take your container and run back up to the top. If you used the bucket, dump its contents into the pan, then drop the pan into the river. Take the pan out of the river and use the brush on the pan. After one or two movements you should have a few pieces of ore in your pan. If you used the pan to gather the dirt simply drop the pan into the river and repeat the same process.

Repeat this process as long as you want to and sell the raw ore at the jeweller for some cash to get your business started. Once you have some coins, the game really opens up and you can start building your mining operations in whichever way you want to!

How do I use the furnace, anvil and grindstone?

When we first bought a furnace, we simply dropped it in our base and waited for the fires to ignite. We were perplexed as this wasn’t happening. Turns out you need to place certain items for them to work. 

To place an item in your mine, pick it up and left-click. You will see the item snapping to different parts of the environment and the outline will be blue if you can successfully place it. Once you place the item, it will work as intended. 

Hydroneer Beginner's Guide Placing Objects
[Image: Foulball Hangover]

This is true for almost all items apart from your tools which means you have to place pipes, drills, crafting equipment, floors and almost anything else in this way for it to work properly.

How to rotate objects in the game?

Once we figure out we had to place certain objects for them to work, we ran into the next barrier, rotating an object. We went to the mouse wheel, WASD, and even Q and E for help, but none was to be found. 

It turns out that rotating items are bound to the R, T and Y keys. A quick trip to the key bindings confirmed this, but by reading this Hydroneer beginner’s guide you saved yourself that trip!

Using the Hydrotruck

Another freebie you receive at the start of Hydroneer is the aptly named Hydrotruck. The Hydrotruck is your best friend in this mining world and will help you scoot around the world to sell, buy and transport all manner of objects. 

The Hydrotruck is also responsible for some of the game’s best glitches and will sometimes catapult into the air, taking you on quite a journey through the skies. Luckily you can just press the Escape key and click on the unstuck option to return to the safety of the floor. 

An important hint is found in the name “Hydrotruck”. The truck part is obvious but they hydro part less so. The Hydrotruck uses water as fuel, and yes, you can have an empty tank. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep a bucket on the back of your truck to refill its tank every now and again.

To refill the tank you will need to get on its roof and there you will see a water tank that you can easily refill by chucking water in there. There is also a gauge on the right side of the truck indicating how far the tank is from being empty.

Understanding water pressure

Water is the lifeblood of your mining operation and pipes are the way you power all your machines. The higher the pressure in your pipes, the more effective the machines work that you connect to that pipeline. 

But building effective pipelines with good pressure is not as easy as it sounds. Each pipe you add to your pipeline decreases the water pressure. So the challenge is then to build effective pipelines with the least amount of pipes used. 

We would suggest that you position your mining operation as close as possible to a water source to minimize the length of the pipeline. To boost pressure in your pipes you can also use shards and place them into tanks that you can buy as part of your pipeline. The shard is consumed in the process, but it dramatically boosts the pressure in the pipeline for as long as it lasts.

Hydroneer Beginner's Guide Buying Shards
Shards. [Image: Foulball Hangover]

Raw ore versus crafting items

It takes quite some time and effort to smelt your ore, especially if you haven’t automated the process yet. Therefore, it is tempting to sell the raw ore as a quicker way to get money and then automate. 

Both options are valid but selling raw ore results in smaller profits than when you smelt and craft items from your ore. We have a detailed article and guide on making money in Hydroneer that you can access here to learn more about raw ore versus crafting items.

The role of sleeping

You will notice that you can buy a bed from some shops in Hydroneer. The first thing that comes to mind is that the bed is cosmetic and exists to decorate your factory or house as you start making lots of cash. This is certainly one of its uses, but there are two functions of the bed that outrank its cosmetic value.

The bed can be used to sleep in (who would have guessed) and you will always sleep until the next morning. The first perk of sleeping is that you have daylight to work with, as things can get pretty dark in Hydroneer. It’s much easier observing your operations in daylight!

The second perk of sleeping is that a new day causes the stock market to change. To abuse this system, chuck a bed next to the stock market and sleep until the item you want to sell has a good price. It’s a bit scummy but then again capitalists do what is necessary to maximize profits.

Stacking your coins

Our final tip in this Hydroneer beginner’s guide is a very useful one indeed. As you sell items, you will notice that you are gathering an uncomfortable amount of different coin stacks. It’s difficult to keep track of all these stacks and honestly a hassle to cart them around the place to buy stuff. 

Luckily Hydroneer has a stacking system, although it’s not explained very well. To stack your coins, simply drop one pile on top of another pile and they will stack. When you try to stack coins on the back of your truck, it sometimes doesn’t work so keep your stacking on the floor for now.

Hydroneer Beginner's Guide Stacking Coins
Position the green circle on another stack of coins and drop it to stack. [Image: Foulball Hangover]

Get back to work!

We hope our Hydroneer beginner’s guide saved you some time and effort it took us to figure out some of the more obscure systems of the game. Hydroneer is a fantastic game and well worth your time and with these tips, you can spend all your time making the big bucks.