In this Core Keeper beginner’s guide, we’ll go through a few tips to help you get the most out of your first few hours of gameplay as you find ways to thrive and survive in your mysterious procedurally generated cavern. We’ll be focusing mostly on the single-player game to get started, but we’ll also take a quick look at the multiplayer as well.
Don’t sweat your background
Character creation doesn’t get too complicated, but you might hesitate over choosing your character’s Background and the perks that come along with it. Don’t worry too much. It doesn’t really make a huge difference beyond the first hour or so, and if you sink a decent amount of time into Core Keeper, it all seems to even out again anyway.
There are definitely some nice bonuses — like the Explorer’s lantern or the Miner starting with an upgraded pickaxe — but no one class is going to give you a huge advantage over any of the others.
Find interaction in visual cues
Still being early access, there isn’t much of a tutorial, or, like, any tutorial at all, so be on the lookout for little visual cues to learn how to interact with things. Different icons will become highlighted and let you know how to open various other menus, so if you’re trying to do something and not having much success, just take a second to see if the game is desperately trying to tell you to press E instead of angrily clicking away.
Wood will be the first resource you’ll come across, and that will be all you need to get going once your character pops out of their mysterious pod.
Right away, use the basic crafting available to you in your pack menu to make some torches, a pickaxe, and the workbench. Everything else can wait for a bit, since you’ll need a few other key items and upgrades before you go much further.
Start digging through the walls around you, aiming for any shiny stuff. This will get you some dirt and ore, so craft your furnace at the workbench. That allows you to melt the copper ore to upgrade your pickaxe and craft a sword to take care of some of the slimes you might see nearby.
Don’t be in a huge rush to unlock all the crafting resources immediately, though, since you can get a lot done by starting simply.
Use your skill points
You’ll get little XP bonuses for pretty much all the actions you’re already doing, like mining, running, and crafting. But when you see a message that says you’ve got a new skill point, go assign it in your skills menu right away. There are a ton of perks and quality of life improvements hiding in there — like increasing your mining speed, or decreasing food energy used by running — so you’ll want to get a jump on attaining them to make your adventure go a little smoother.
Let there be light
The dynamic lighting in Core Keeper is gorgeous to watch as you run around with a torch, but if your hands are otherwise occupied, it can get pretty dark down there. Keep a little stock of torches on hand to light up areas you’re going to be spending time in.
It’s also a good idea to take the time and fully clear out areas, so the light can actually reach all the dim corners and not get cut off by random chunks of wall. You might also want to let the naturally occurring environment give you a little help along the way. Some resources — such as glow tulips or even little clouds of fireflies — can be just as useful when they’re left alone to help light your path.
Don’t rush into combat
Slow-moving slimes may not seem like much of a challenge, but if you stumble across a good-sized bunch, things can take a turn quickly. Not only do they do a surprising amount of damage, but if you die, you’ll also need to head back to that area to reclaim just about everything you had in your pack (only equipment and whatever was in your quickbar will respawn with you). That might mean having to gather more resources just to fight your way back in and recover your property.
Take it slowly at first, and don’t rush into combat. You’ll eventually be able to craft armor, but don’t prioritize that over keeping the rest of your tools in good working order.
Grow crops, and learn to cook
You’ll come across plenty of naturally occurring food, but it’s not nearly as effective as the health boost and extra perks you can get from learning to cook. Once you’ve crafted the cooking pot at the workbench, you can combine ingredients to make dishes that increase your speed, max health, and even make you glow while they fill your health bar back up.
And if you want to make sure you always have fresh ingredients, craft a hoe to clear out some farmland, and plant the seeds that you’ll inevitably pick up during your travels. Next, craft a watering can and fill it up at the nearest underground lake, and you’ll have crops ready in almost no time at all — everything grew faster than we expected.
Get some bed rest
As soon as you find enough fiber (which you’ll only find in wooden crates for now), make yourself a bed. Taking a quick nap will top off your health bar, so you can conserve your food before running back out to fight slimes. Not only that, but if you really start branching out, it might be a good idea to make smaller bases outside of your main base with beds of their own. That way you can quickly recharge when you’re far from home, and give yourself another respawn point should you run into trouble.
Play with friends
Core Keeper can support up to eight players in a single cave system at once with a pretty straightforward multiplayer system. Co-op is online only for now, but sharing your game ID is easy enough to invite visitors to drop by. It seems that for now this game ID is necessary. You can’t currently drop into a stranger’s game or just open your own game to other players.