Skull Caverns on iOS

Miretar

Farmhand
Are they doable on an iPad?

How many bombs of each type do I need to get to level 25?

My food of choice is the spicy eel as a buff. I know to take plenty of food and staircases.

Can anyone recommend which combination of rings is best?

Are there any other tips for preventing my first serious attempt at the caverns into an unmitigated disaster? Previous visits had me out of those caverns in about 15 seconds with my tail between my legs.
 

Odin

Moderator
Staff member
For bombs, I'd recommend just sticking with the regular variant. I'd say I tend to use 2-3 per floor, but keep in mind if you get any shafts you'll be able to skip some floors. I personally use the iridium band and slime charmer rings.

My other advice would be to bring lots of food, and don't be afraid to eat early and often. Don't move to a new floor with less than half health.
 

PoppyForPenny

Sodbuster
I play on ipad, and I love skull cavern. I use the auto combat setting, otherwise my hands block the screen too much.
Level 10 combat and mining, space boots, lava katana or galaxy sword, gold or iridium pickaxe, lucky day, lucky charm in your wallet. Food and rings that boost speed, luck, immunity, defense, and/or attack. Bombs, slingshot with explosive ammo, desert totem, farm totem.
Any of these things will help. But to get to level 100, or to hunt pepper rex for dino eggs, & eradication goals, I use stairs. I replicate jade in crystalariums, and trade them for stairs at the desert trader on Sundays.
 
I like using my iPad for vanilla gaming of SDV, and the skull cavern is extremely doable. You just need monies, patience, and a good set-up the day/s before. Here's a little something I think could help.

DAYS/WEEK BEFORE
  • Get as much megabombs or regular bombs as you can
  • Get as much staircases as possible
  • Harvest milk and process some gold star quality cheese (Large milk and goat milk can process this automatically)
  • Stock up on food with buffs such as Spicy Eel, Lucky Lunch or (if you really have some Prismatic Shards) Magic Rock Candy.
  • Upgrade your tools if you haven't already. Iridium Quality Pickaxe is the best.
  • Purchase Triple Shot Espresso recipe at Gus' if you haven't yet, and get a ****load of coffee for the recipe. Make at least 5-10 of them.
  • Trade/Craft a desert totem. It's pretty cheap at the desert trader to trade for them (3 omni geodes) and the recipe is 10 iridium bars (I'm not a big fan of this trade so early in-game). I'll tell you why you need this in the next few bullets.
  • If you have a prismatic shard and your best weapon is the lava katana, I highly suggest you go to the desert, put your prismatic shard in the middle of the 3 pillars near the top of the desert trader's shop, and wait for it to turn into the Galaxy sword. Best sword in 1.4 and you're set (for now).
  • Get your rings in order. 2 Iridium bands stacked together are your best bet.
NIGHT BEFORE
  • Set up your inventory to hold your pickaxe, sword, warp totem:desert, return scepter (or warp totem: farm!), bombs, triple shot espresso, food with buffs, cheese, and staircases.
  • Make sure your inventory is set and nothing else is cluttering it. You're gonna need the space for the huge drops and it's going to be 100 levels of drops.
  • Have the mindset that you will be spending the entire day (from waking up to 1:50am) in the skull cavern so you cannot do anything else the next day. If there's a festival, or someone's birthday you need to give a gift for friendship points, you should reschedule.
WHEN YOU WAKE UP
  • Upon waking up, immediately check your fortune with the fortune teller. Having a neutral, bad, or extremely bad fortune will have to make you veto the entire trip and just wait for a luckier day. It's just not gonna work if you're unlucky or neutral on the day that you go. HOWEVER,
  • If you're lucky or have iridium quality luck on that day, immediately use your warp totem to warp to the desert. The reason for this is your time is extremely vital for success. Don't go out of your house and run to your desert obelisk. Making the most of your time, even if you have a desert obelisk, would be the difference between dying at level 99 and having spare time to put down a staircase and go all the way to 100.
AT THE CAVERN
  • Immediately drink your triple shot espresso and your food with buff (lucky lunch, or spicy eel). This will ensure that you don't have to worry about eating anything upon entering the first level.
  • When you head inside the cavern, the goal is to find shafts. Shafts will let you fall at least 3 levels down or more (up to 15 levels!) and it will depend on your luck whether or not they spawn or if they give you more levels you fall down to.
  • Staircases are good for: mummy levels, spiral layouts, and when you seem extra stuck.
  • Megabombs are good for: big rock clusters, when you cannot find any stairs or shafts anymore, finishing the mummies after fighting them with your weapon
  • Eat when: your health level goes orange, not red. Eat the cheese for energy and health, and eat the food with buffs when the effects are gone. Make the most of the triple shot espresso so you don't move slowly through the mines.
  • At 1:50am, make sure you warp straight to your farm so you can sleep at the very least, inside your home. That will not make you lose any money.

OTHER TIPS
  • If you're down on your luck with bombs and still want that bang in the cavern, the Napalm ring is a good ring to mix with your iridium band. The Napalm ring is received from Gil when you kill 250 serpents (green snake things at the Cavern).
  • Staircases can be used for 100 levels, but realistically, it's better to fight your way down than manually putting down 100 staircases and going down. Shafts are really convenient and will let you go down faster than any staircase can.

Hope this helps!
 

Miretar

Farmhand
Thank you so much for your advice everyone. I reached level 100 the quick and dirty way with 100 staircases. It was so fast that I made it back to the farm in time for morning coffee. I have the espresso recipe, built another barn for cows, and set up crystalariums to produce jade.
 

Worblehat

Farmhand
If you don't mind me interjecting - what would be the minimal setup to make visiting Skull Caverns worth it? Not trying to go deep, just to get something useful (preferably some iridium) out of the visit. The detailed plan of attack seriousfarmer provided is fantastic, but I have almost none of that (gold pickaxe, a few bombs, steel falchion, glowstone ring and a glow ring, because those are the two rings that I have; Combat skill = 5). Getting a few iridium bars for sprinklers would be really nice with the greenhouse repair coming pretty soon. 🙂 But based on Miretar's comment "Previous visits had me out of those caverns in about 15 seconds with my tail between my legs" I suspect that the 40k to finish the Vault bundles would be better spent around the farm, rather than trying to access the Desert anytime soon.

(I'm on PC, not iOS; not sure what difference that makes).
 

Ereo

Farmer
How did you finish the mine on combat level 5?

I would definitely try to work on the combat.

Try and get the lava katana. Iridium pickaxe is more difficult because the easiest way to get iridium is the cavern. But bombs are better anyway.

Even if you don't want to make it to 100, keep in mind iridium is more frequent after level 50 or so, but the monsters don't get more difficult. Jade and a couple of bought staircases can go a long way.

Definitely bring food. No matter how good your sword is, you have to eat.
 

Elenna101

Sodbuster
Yeah, to consistently get any iridium you probably want to reach level 50+ at least.

I wouldn't necessarily work on the combat. Getting from 5 to 10 would probably take a while, and IMO nothing in levels 6-9 is really that important unless you want to try using explosive ammo (iridium band at combat 9 is very nice but you'd have trouble finding the iridium to craft it without going into SC for iridium anyways). A few extra HP probably won't make too much difference against SC monsters. But if you do want to work on it, try going into mine levels 85/95/105/115 repeatedly and just killing any void spirits near the entrance, that's probably the fastest way to get combat XP in the regular mines.

If you can buy the lava katana, that would be great. It's definitely possible to do Skull Caverns with the steel falchion, but it's quite hard.
If you have a hammer, you can do several strong hits at once by right-clicking and then mashing left click. The best hammer you have access right now is probably the lead rod or maybe the wooden mallet, both of which will not do enough damage to kill enemies in any reasonable amount of time, but they'll knock back flying enemies quite a bit and then you can run away (or switch to your falchion if you really want to fight them, but with your weapon setup you should mostly be trying to dodge enemies).
The other option is to keep killing enemies in the regular mines, I guess - after you reach level 120 you have a 0.5% chance of getting a prismatic shard when you kill any enemy, and then you can get the galaxy sword with that (and the galaxy hammer if you can afford it).

Speaking of dodging enemies, you really want as much speed as you can. Once you get to the desert, you can trade rubies and diamonds to the trader there, to get spicy eels and triple shot espresso (note that espresso, being a drink, stacks with food). You'll need about 3 spicy eels and 5 espresso for a full day. This will give you +2 speed, enough to outrun the flying serpents, which should hopefully help you avoid the weaponry issue.

Your rings are not terrible IMO. Another glowstone or magnet ring in place of the glow ring might be nice if you're using bombs, so you can collect all the stuff dropped by the bomb faster. 2 glowstone is basically the same as 2 iridium except without the +10% attack, and we've established that you shouldn't be trying to kill things anyways.

As Ereo said, bring lots of food, and don't let your HP get below half. Any single hit from most enemies can take away around a third of your HP, so keep an eye on it! If you've got some money, buying salads from Gus is very money-efficient. Salmonberries or blackberries are also good money-wise, but you have to eat a lot to regain any appreciable amount of HP, which is annoying.

For bombs I'd say at the very least you want 20-30 regular bombs, preferably 50+. Ideally you barely use your pickaxe (this is the case even if you somehow have an iridium pickaxe). You can of course go down with less, but you definitely won't get as far. Assuming you have mining level 6, maybe spend a day or two in the iron levels of the mines? Going up and down repeatedly from level 40 should net you a decent amount of ore, and killing dust sprites should get you some coal (and maybe that prismatic shard).
 

Salty1

Farmhand
If you don't mind me interjecting - what would be the minimal setup to make visiting Skull Caverns worth it? Not trying to go deep, just to get something useful (preferably some iridium) out of the visit. The detailed plan of attack seriousfarmer provided is fantastic, but I have almost none of that (gold pickaxe, a few bombs, steel falchion, glowstone ring and a glow ring, because those are the two rings that I have; Combat skill = 5). Getting a few iridium bars for sprinklers would be really nice with the greenhouse repair coming pretty soon. 🙂 But based on Miretar's comment "Previous visits had me out of those caverns in about 15 seconds with my tail between my legs" I suspect that the 40k to finish the Vault bundles would be better spent around the farm, rather than trying to access the Desert anytime soon.

(I'm on PC, not iOS; not sure what difference that makes).
Everyone has different experiences, and your mileage will vary, but...

I'd say if you just have an extra spicy eel lying around and can enter the cave as soon as the conditions permit for the day, it might be worth a try. On my last farm, I didn't exactly have a fantastic set up for my first few trips (iron pickaxe, steel falchion, level 8 combat, but I did have burglar ring). My very first trip I just downed spicy eel but walked out with four extra bombs, a new spicy eel from an enemy drop, and 39 iridium ore. Got to level 46 or so with the help of a few lucky drop shafts. And with that in mind, I think the burglar ring is also a huge boost. Half the iridium I got wasn't from nodes, but from enemy drops - specifically from cornering big purple slimes, so I could wail on all the little slimes they spawn as soon as they appeared. Burglar ring will also make bomb/spicy eel drops from serpents a lot more likely and make it easier to snowball from day to day, and make each visit feel a bit more worthwhile.

IMO, it is a very good idea to keep a chest just next to the entrance to skull cavern. Then you can store your extra bombs/spicy eel and other things there and not have to remember to pick them up and take them with you. I also strongly recommend keeping omni-geodes on hand. Each trip I usually get 20+ omni-geodes, then drop by the desert merchant to trade 9 for 3 desert totems. It might feel a little steep at first, especially if your museum is lacking, but if you stick with it (and murder those carbon ghosts that drop them often) soon you'll find yourself getting more desert totems than you expend, and you can start cavern trips earlier and progress more easily.

That said, I feel like I've also gotten very good at reading enemy movement and judging exactly when their hitboxes are in range, so even with low combat levels I don't sweat it as much. But if you stick with it I think you'll figure it out better in due time. Just takes some persistence.

EDIT: I should clarify that I always have a nice fat stack of salmonberries/blackberries on me at all times too. Cheese might be more convenient if you like the bigger heal and have the animal/production line for that, but I find upping foraging early on and getting lots of berries during the harvest season works great for me. Might not be in your window of potential right now, but an alternative to keep in mind for the future. If you don't think you can get very deep very fast, though, then killing enemies (especially the slimes - sometimes they just drop whole bars!) until you just get better at that is fine and well too. But if the 40K for the vault seems like a super serious purchase decision and each 500 gold expenditure to visit the desert feels like too much, then you might want to wait off a while to build your production better and work with more stability. Rushing for iridium sprinklers can be tempting, but it's often better to just rearrange the next winter when you can reasonably get them (plus quality sprinklers sell for a decent price when you're done with them anyways, so no shame in making a bunch even if you'll get rid of them later).
 
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Worblehat

Farmhand
How did you finish the mine on combat level 5?
I don't really know how to answer that; first game etc. 🙂 Apparently that's abnormally low, then (current stats are Farming 9, Mining 7, Foraging 8, Fishing 9, Combat 5). I did have serious trouble with the shadow brutes going from level 85 to 90, when my weapon choices were The Slammer or the Forest Sword (hammer was somewhat effective but the slow attack speed tended to get me killed if a brute reached me). Waiting for a maximum luck day worked well enough to get through those five levels. After getting the Obsidian Edge at 90 (and a Yeti Tooth and the Steel Falchion in quick succession just after, because RNG is like that) the rest wasn't much trouble.

I did prioritize ore/gem nodes and only fought monsters I had to, so I guess that's part of why Combat is rather low. In terms of Monster Eradication goals, the only one even within shouting distance is bugs, and I really don't care about the Insect Head. Burglar's Ring looks really nice, whenever I manage to get it (not soon; been a while since I visited the Adventurer's Guild but I doubt I'm much past 100/500 on that one).

Food is not a problem, at least. I still have 50+ salmonberries, with a stack of 50 blackberries in reserve in a chest, and can easily make at least that many Field Snacks. Plus a small number of each of most cooked food recipes available near the end of Y1 (I think I've caught one eel, so that would be one spiced eel, for example).

The game itself provided an unorthodox answer to my question (i.e. is there a viable way to get iridium sprinklers anytime soon?) at the end of last night's session: Gunther dropped by with the Rusty Key. And according to the wiki, Krobus sells iridium sprinklers on Fridays! 🤩 Staying in town and spending the money I would have spent on the Vault so that I can irrigate my most precious crops with sewer sprinklers is clearly the correct plan! (Also, this game is tremendously amusing at times...).
 

Squigglyruth

Farmhand
How did you finish the mine on combat level 5?
I don't think that's very unusual. I'm sure I am normally on combat 5 and sometimes even combat 4 when I complete the mines. This run-through will be combat 4. With an upgraded pickaxe they are quite easy to do whilst avoiding most monsters, and the right strategy can get you an upgraded pickaxe very fast.

If you don't mind me interjecting - what would be the minimal setup to make visiting Skull Caverns worth it? Not trying to go deep, just to get something useful (preferably some iridium) out of the visit.
I would like to second Salty1's comments about starting small in Skull Caverns and ramping up. You really don't need anything special to try it out. A good sword makes a big difference, because it is hard to avoid the serpents - Galaxy Sword works well, but Obsidian Edge will do. Ideally you will have a gold or at least a steel pickaxe. The burglar ring is well worth having for the increased drops from monsters. If you have it, take enough stone for a staircase or two, in case you get caught on a horrible level, and cherry bombs for taking out mummies. But it is perfectly fine to go without those things as long as you have a bunch of food for healing up - berries will work.

If you go on a good luck day, and target nearby purple slimes and gemstone nodes as you descend, you are likely to make a good profit even in the first few levels, and also get some iridium ore each time. Maybe only a small handful of iridium ore initially, but it all adds up, and ends up a lot cheaper and faster than buying the sprinklers once a week from Krobus. You should end up making a net profit in bombs and spicy eel, too.

The 500gp cost of the trip is negligible - easily made up just by foraging in the desert, let alone going into the caverns. The cost of the bus repair is more significant early game, but remember it doesn't just open up Skull Caverns - it also grants you access to the Oasis, with special seeds and cheap Deluxe Speed-Gro. Depending on the season, those seeds might be a good enough reason to repair the bus... Plus if you do the Community Centre route then the crystallarium is a nice bonus in the early game (I normally put a diamond in it and sell my first few diamonds - Triple Shot Espresso is nice but not necessary to start with).

On the other hand, depending how you are doing with your Community Centre repairs, it might be better to finish that off and play around in the Ginger Island volcano before trying Skull Caverns...
 

Worblehat

Farmhand
Just made my first real attempt at Skull Caverns (had done two "poking my head in" visits before, both with near-catastrophic results as per Miretar's original post in this thread). Results: not great. I survived thanks to having Life Elixirs, and even without them my Field Snacks would have done the job. Got down to level 3, and got 3 iridium for my trouble, so not a waste of time. But not something I care to repeat anytime soon either. Combat = 7 currently.

The speed buffs are nice, I enjoyed that part! Had to use Pepper Poppers for the food component of the buff; must have used my eel already. Once Mining hits 9 (which is taking for-freaking-ever, been at 8 for at least a season now) the second crystalarium will be ruby... (Once I have iridium to spare for that kind of thing).
I've also gotten very good at reading enemy movement and judging exactly when their hitboxes are in range
I think this kind of thing is my main problem with fighting in this game. Not only do I not have a good sense of their movement and range, but I can't even get my farmer to consistently face the way I want. Had this problem with those floating skulls in the Quarry Mine too - I'd carefully approach facing them, start swinging the Lava Katana as they came near, and for some reason my farmer would randomly turn 90 degrees just as they came in range, letting them run right over him untouched and taking an unnecessary hit. Sigh. Rather more of a problem in SC when the big purple slime splits into lots of little purple slimes who keep charging right through me because my farmer doesn't face the way I intend...

Pretty sure those Qi quests will rely on building up 24 and 99 staircases respectively.

Anyway, for me the Krobus sprinklers are a huge win. The price is easily affordable, and they'll have my greenhouse covered well before I need the full coverage (still working on propagating the ancient fruit, probably be another couple crops before that's done).
 

Ereo

Farmer
Try not to fight the purple slimes, you can outrun them easily. The only thing I find necessary to fight are the serpents. And deeper down the iridium bats, because I find them hard to predict, and I'd sooner wait and kill them. They do a lot of damage.

I just run around and place bombs at stone clusters, and only fight flying enemies when they attack me.

I think it gets less stressful the more often you do it. You'll need to get down further to get iridium, getting some on level three is really very lucky! Realizing that dying isn't so bad is also helpful. The 2 am faint is only twice the price of the bus drive. And for getting killed by enemies, don't bring anything valuable. I usually take two plates of spicy eel, three cups of espresso, and 20-30 cheese. The rest of the stacks stays in a chest in top, so I can't lose them. If you lose things you found, look at them as things you didn't quite have yet. Quite often, when it's a lucky day, I don't lose anything but a bit of money.
 

Worblehat

Farmhand
Should I expect bombs to do significant damage to monsters? I was tempted back to SC by a maximum luck day, and it worked out OK. Saw my first iridium node (1 ore!), got a few gemstones, jumped down my first hole, got an auto-grabber. Didn't come too close to dying, though getting jumped by three serpents from three different directions was bad (ran to the ladder before they quite reached me).

Anyway, I had thought that bombs would do a lot of damage to monsters, but it looked like they don't. Unless those big purple slimes are bomb-resistant, somehow? But looking at the wiki page they appear to have the least hit points of anything in SC (and the small slimes they split into have the most - confusing!). So I guess bombs are purely rock-destruction devices (and mummy-finishers, when/if I stop to fight a mummy)?
 

imnvs

Farmer
So I guess bombs are purely rock-destruction devices (and mummy-finishers, when/if I stop to fight a mummy)?
I use actual bombs for blowing up rocks. I use explosive ammo in my slingshot for shooting downed mummies. I also use explosive ammo to shoot a monster that I can't reach because of rocks... because then I don't have to run away. I can be prepping to run up and start stabbing the monster I just released. (Eventually, when dealing with mummies, though, I'll not worry about the explosive ammo and get me a weapon enchanted with crusader which does bonus damage to undead/shadows and eliminates the need for explosives to put mummies down.)
 

Elenna101

Sodbuster
I use actual bombs for blowing up rocks. I use explosive ammo in my slingshot for shooting downed mummies. I also use explosive ammo to shoot a monster that I can't reach because of rocks... because then I don't have to run away. I can be prepping to run up and start stabbing the monster I just released. (Eventually, when dealing with mummies, though, I'll not worry about the explosive ammo and get me a weapon enchanted with crusader which does bonus damage to undead/shadows and eliminates the need for explosives to put mummies down.)
I use explosive ammo mostly for blowing up rocks and also for the occasional mummy, plus some bombs for any rocks I want to blow up that are too far away from a wall to be hit with explosive ammo. YMMV. imnvs's strategy definitely takes less practice.

Regardless, yes, bombs do very little damage to enemies. I suggest mostly dodging enemies if you can (speed buffs help for that).
 
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