This is a guide detailing the mechanics of the Salt Mines, including where they are, how they work, and some of the nuances behind them.
Where Can I Find the Salt Mines?
Towards the western side of the lobby will be a waterfall with a small path behind it. Walk behind the waterfall, then up--you'll enter a hidden cave that contains the entrance to the Salt Mines.
This small "temple" is the entrance to the mines. It may or may not cost salt to enter. If no one is inside the mines, there will be a base cost of 3 salt for the first person to enter the mines, after which it will be free to enter until the first AI-controlled opponent is defeated. Later difficulties will slowly ramp up the cost to enter the mines.
What are the Salt Mines?
The Salt Mines are a "dungeon" of sorts where you can explore, battle against AI-controlled opponents, and find treasure chests that will reward you with salt, apples, and--most importantly--cosmetic items for your Pixel Lobby avatar.
Inside the Salt Mines, you will have a limited amount of health to work with as you traverse the mines (one full health bar). Any damage you take from battles against the AI will take from this health bar and persist between fights. Once you are defeated, you are ejected from the mines, lose a bit of salt, and will have to re-enter to continue exploring.
What Types of Enemies Are There?
Enemies in the Salt Mines are named Predators. Predators spawn in randomly at set locations within the room you are in as you are exploring. When a Predator touches you in the Salt Mines, you engage in battle with them. The character you battle these Predators as will always be the character your Pixel Lobby avatar is--there is no character selection prior to battling Predators.
Predators have two appearances: one being a sort of shadowy beast, and the other being that of a playable character (e.g. Arizona, Velvet, etc.). If a Predator takes the form of a playable character when they touch you, you will fight the character they resemble (i.e. if Velvet touches you, you will fight a Velvet). If a Predator appears as a shadowy beast, they can be one of four different enemies when you fight them:
The "beast" Predators are much more fragile than "character" Predators and will take significantly more damage from attacks comparatively. The offensive and defensive capabilities of "character" Predators are identical to those of your own (save for their reduced overall health).
Defeating Predators of any kind will reward you with salt. For most of the difficulties, you are rewarded with 7 salt for defeating any type of Predator. At very high difficulties, "beast" Predators can reward up to 10 salt and "character" Predators can reward up to 15 salt.
How Do Treasure Chests Work?
Within the mines, there will be various treasure chests lying on the ground. Some of these chests will not cost salt to open whereas others will. Their contents can be guessed at based on their salt cost, and generally follow as such:
- Free chests (no salt cost shown): Contains salt. The higher the difficulty inside the mines, the more salt given.
- Low-cost chests (~4-7 salt in early difficulties; cost ramps up with difficulty). Contains one apple and an extremely small amount of salt at higher difficulties (~2-3). The apple always restores 25% of your health regardless of difficulty and is used immediately (i.e. you cannot store apples for later use; additionally, if you open an apple chest at full health, you will still spend your salt and consume the apple for no benefit).
- High-cost chests (20 / 30 / 40 salt): Contains a single cosmetic item. Only appears beyond the first level of difficulty. Has a 10 second period before opening. During this timeframe, other players can challenge you for the chest--winner takes the prize. Rarity of the cosmetic item depends on the cost of the chest--20 salt grants an Uncommon item, 30 salt grants a Rare item, and 40 salt grants an Epic item. Higher tier chests only appear at higher mine difficulties. Duplicate items found in chests are converted into salt--specifically twice the amount you pay (i.e. 40 salt for an Uncommon, 60 salt for a Rare, 80 salt for an Epic).
Each player does not see their own set of chests. Every player sees the same set of chests wherever they appear. However, each chest can only be opened by one player (save for cosmetic chests, which can technically be interacted with by two players at once). The contents in chests are never shared with others. New chests also only appear when the difficulty of the mines levels up--new chests will not spawn in over time.
How Does the Difficulty in the Mines Work?
At the top right of your screen, you can see the current difficulty of the mines as an alliterative name with a bar underneath it. This bar fills up incrementally as players defeat Predators. The amount of Predators required to be defeated in order to level up the mines is listed underneath this bar. Both "beast" Predators and "character" Predators count as 1 "point" towards the next level. When the bar fills up, the difficulty inside the mines advances to the next level, and the treasure chests in the mines reset (i.e. any remaining chests vanish and a new set of chests spawn in). The level of the mines are titled as such:
- Level 1: Feelin' Fine
- Level 2: Slightly Spookified
- Level 3: Almost Anxious
- Level 4: Halfway Haunted
- Level 5: Thoroughly Terrified
- Level 6: OHGODMAKEITSTOP
- Level 7+: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Every level aside from the first one requires 8 Predators to be defeated in order to level up the difficulty. The first level only requires 5 Predators to be defeated to advance the difficulty to level 2.
The effects of increasing the difficulty in the mines (aside from refreshing chests) are that Predators start with more health during fights, their AI is improved, they spawn at a greater frequency, and a larger percentage of them will spawn as "character" Predators instead of "beast" Predators. Both their and your own damage output are not affected.
After the 7th level, players may continue to level up the mines, but doing so will not advance the difficulty past "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA". Predators will not grow past their level 7 strength. Leveling up the difficulty beyond this point will simply refresh the chests inside of the mines.
When the mines are emptied of players, the difficulty will be reset back to Feelin' Fine (note that this occurs when the mines are emptied, not when all players that have entered the mines have died once--if players constantly return to the mines and continue dying, the difficulty will remain where it is so long as at least one player is still inside the mines). There is no way to lower the difficulty inside the mines other than this.
- You may battle other players inside the mines, either to challenge them on cosmetic chests or for fun, but it should be noted that battles against other players while in the Salt Mines will not take away from the health pool you have in the mines. Both players start their bout with full health and end with their overall health bars unchanged. You do not gain salt for defeating other players while inside the mines.
- Predators chasing after another player will only target that player. They will not run towards other players that intercept their path. Additionally, even if a player that is not the Predator's target makes contact with said Predator, a battle will not occur. Only a Predator and their target can battle one another.
- Opening a treasure chest will cause Predators chasing after you to vanish. Predators that vanish in this manner will not contribute towards leveling up the difficulty inside the mines. Adjacent Predators chasing after players that did not open a treasure chest are unaffected.
- If you leave a Pixel Lobby, you will lose all of the salt you've accumulated in that lobby. Your salt is not persistent--every time you enter a lobby, you start with 0. Items earned through the Salt Mines are persistent, however, and do not need to be re-earned between lobbies.