Dome Keeper’s combination of mining and tower defense produces an interesting blend of atmosphere, exploration, and survival that’s challenging to manage, while also being strangely cozy. Part of the allure of Dome Keeper is in its sense of mystery, but this also means the game doesn’t come with too many explanations or tutorials aside from the harsh reality of a shattered dome on an alien planet. This list of best practices and big-picture strategies should help you manage your time and resources in a way that maintains your bubble’s structural integrity for a little longer.
Related: How to win in Dome Keeper
Unlock your HUD
One of the ways Dome Keeper builds its mysterious and sometimes hostile atmosphere is by not giving you any sort of HUD at the beginning of each run. Instead, you’ll need to unlock different HUD elements as upgrades. This is important to do very early, and it should generally be your first priority in any new run. Not all of the elements are equally important, though, and we’d recommend starting with the Hostile Proximity Meter and Health Meter before making your way to the Inventory. The Cycle Counter is a neat addition, but in general, it’s optional.
This is the most important thing to get the hang of early on in Dome Keeper. Enemy waves come at short intervals, so it’s critical that you make the most of every second between them. In general, you should only mine as much as you absolutely need to, especially when your drill isn’t upgraded much or even at all.
A good rule of thumb here is to have one shaft that goes straight down, with horizontal shafts that have two spaces between them. This is because you can see ore deposits from adjacent squares, so this method should make sure you don’t miss anything, while also requiring a minimum of drilling. There are definitely many times this rule won’t apply, though, especially when you run into harder sections of rock. Because of this, the first drill upgrade should be one of your top priorities early on in any run.
Don’t panic during combat
Combat, just like mining, is about optimizing your time management. Aim for aliens with ranged attacks while slower melee attackers are still making their way to you. Don’t swivel from side to side too much. It’s often better to just focus on the more dangerous side while finding easy opportunities to knock out the flying aliens that switch sides every few shots. The stun laser is a very good gadget to pick if you’re struggling with combat, as it helps slow down enemies on one side of the dome while you defend the other side. Once you find it, you might consider taking it with you as a starting gadget in your next run.
Remember, no matter how well you play during enemy waves, you’re going to take some damage at some point. Combat is all about mitigation. You will need to repair your dome, so finding and mining Cobalt is extremely important to any longer runs.
Combat keeps you alive, but mining gets you ahead
This is less of a tip and more of a big-picture strategy, but it is good to keep in mind as you plan out which upgrades to focus on. The idea is that while combat is important, it’s only useful insofar as it keeps your dome from being destroyed. Any resources you put into defense can’t go into increasing your resource production — and you don’t get any style points for flexing on aliens.
On the other side, any resources you can afford to put toward increasing your mining speed will pay off over and over again. This means taking gadgets like the Resource Elevator and upgrading your speed and carrying capacity are generally the best long-term investments you can make. That is, as long as you have a big enough laser to survive the next wave.