How Do I Play Serum City?

An overview of the game mechanics and lore in Serum City

At a Glance

  • Game link:

  • Platform: Desktop web, mobile (Season 3+)

  • Genre: Base builder, farming simulator

  • Creators: Novel Labs, Faraway

  • Release Date: Feb 1, 2024

The Story


Born from a network of underground smuggling routes, Serum City is a subterranean metropolis is now an engine of industry and trade.

There are plenty of movers and shakers under its roof, but the Mutant Cartel run the show. Their enigmatic leader, Blaksoot, has rallied Mutants to this cradle to build a home for the Mutant Nation.

This is where you come in…

As a recent blow-in to its streets, you’ll find the undercity and its occupants reward those that build and craft. Cut your teeth bartering, hustling and trying to rub some coins together. Very soon, you’ll catch the eye of the Cartel.

Rise in infamy and influence as you create an empire and climb the ranks. Uncover the lore of the Mutant Cartel and its notorious bosses. Hell, you may even find yourself sitting at the Bosses' Table one day!

Core Gameplay

Serum City is a complex base-building game where players build up their Cartel district, become manufacturing magnates, and uncover the secrets of the Capsule of Kaos to unlock mintable items and place on the seasonal leaderboards. Players earn Experience (XP) and Action Point (AP) from completing actions in games like constructing buildings, fulfilling delivery orders, and discovering secret recipes for special items.

The following sections include useful information about game mechanics in Serum City.


When you first start Serum City, you automatically have a Population of 60 and a Population maximum of 99. This represents how many citizens can live on your base with the current infrastructure.

You can increase your population count by building Houses. You can increase your population maximum by building Community Buildings. Removing Houses and Community Buildings will decrease your Population and Population maximum, but any buildings you’ve already unlocked will stay unlocked.

Certain features like Land Expansion and specific buildings can only be unlocked after you hit certain Population thresholds.

Leveling Up

Completing certain actions in Serum City will grant the player XP. You can see the XP count under the player name in the upper left corner.

There are a few different ways to earn XP in Serum City:

  • Completing Item deliveries via the Pirate Radio Station

  • Completing Achievements

  • Collecting Items from Factories

  • Sending Items via the Ape Railways

  • Sending Items via the Expedition Guild

  • Sending Items via the Secret Port

Action Points (AP) from main activities like construction, achievements, quests. Action Points have their own leaderboard (different from Seasonal Leaderboard)


There are several different Building types in Serum City, each with different roles in the game. Buildings are unlocked as players level up. Once unlocked and constructed, Buildings can be sold in exchange for Doubloons.

You can learn more about Buildings in the What Buildings Can I Unlock in Serum City section.

Hound Yard

The Hound Yard is a special building in Serum City where players can equip Mutant Hounds to passively produce items.

If a Mutant Hound is equipped in a Hound Yard on one pass, it can't be equipped on another pass.

Achievements & Blessings

Players can earn prizes from completing Achievements in game. Certain Achievements also give the first players who complete them extremely valuable prizes: Blessings.

Blessings are unique HQ trait modifiers linked directly to the player's Serum City pass.


Roads are purely cosmetic and can be customized by players. Once a road is built, a car will appear and cruise on the road. Cars break down periodically and need repairs which are paid for in Doubloons.

Capsule of Kaos

One of the main features of Serum City is the Capsule of Kaos. The CoK produces mintable Gear through the sacred act of transmutation. This Gear can be burned by players for Burn Points.

Players who are the first to figure out the transmutation recipe for an item will receive an Ultra Rare (highest grade) version of that item. It's best not to burn this item, and it doesn't give the player a significant number of Burn Points.

Each Gear item has a specific recipe that players must recreate through transmutation attempts. If they guess the correct recipe, they will receive the Gear item and be able to mint the it. If they do not guess the correct recipe, the transmutation will fail and they will lose the ingredients they submitted for transmutation.

All Gear items have a rarity, level, and grade. While rarity can't be changed, level and grade can be increased by using the Diary. Increasing an item's level and grade will give it more Burn Points when the item is burned. Level can be increased with Doubloons, and grade can be increased with Grade Boosters (which are awarded from the Item Burn Leaderboard and the Collection Burn Leaderboard).

Transmutation success does not depend on the order of ingredients added for transmutation. It only depends on the the item type and quantity.

As players use ingredients in the CoK, they unlock progress towards a Reveal Token. This token can be used to reveal 1 ingredient in a recipes of the same rarity as the Reveal Token. Reveal Tokens can be used in the Diary.

To help players out, there is a Guessing Level associated with each transmutation attempt. If the attempt is very far off from the correct recipe, the player will see "Guessing Level: Low." If the ingredients they submit for transmutation are close to the correct recipe, the player will see "Guessing Level: Very Very High."

Recipes that the player has discovered can be found in the Diary. The Diary also has some hints for Gear recipe, so be sure to check it out before you attempt a transmutation.


There are 4 leaderboards in Serum City:

  • Action Points Leaderboard

  • Collection Burn Leaderboard

  • Item Burn Leaderboard

  • Season Leaderboard

Action Points Leaderboard

Action Points are awarded at the completion of various tasks in game, like constructing buildings and completing deliveries. The amount of Action Points earned by the player determines their place on the Action Points Leaderboard.

Item Burn Leaderboard

Items that have been discovered via the Capsule of Kaos can be minted and burned. These items fall into 3 categories: Weapons, Armor, and Jewelry. The player’s HQ type determines the category of items that they can discover (and a player’s HQ type is determined by the Serum City pass they are playing with.)

  • Weapons can be discovered on bases with Oath HQ

  • Armor can be discovered on bases with Ape Clubhouse

  • Jewelry can be discovered on bases with Hounds Castle HQ

Burn Points are awarded to a player when they burn minted weapons, armor, or jewelry. The Item Burn Leaderboard accounts for the amount of Burn Points that were received for burning a specific item in these categories.

Collection Burn Leaderboard

Unlike the Item Burn leaderboard, the Collection Burn Leaderboard accounts for Burn Points awarded as a result of burning any item in the player’s inventory.


Inventory is where a player’s items are stored. Inventory capacity can be upgraded using materials received from the Ape Railways.

Items can be sold for Doubloons directly from the Inventory.


There are 3 types of Quests in Serum City:

  • Daily Quests

  • Campaign Quests

  • Season Quests

Daily Quests

Daily Quests are short tasks that must be completed before the timer runs out. If all Daily Quests are completed, you'll receive a treasure chest.

Campaign Quests

Similarly, fighting for stolen buildings (Contested Buildings) follows a similar process. An enemy will take over one of the buildings that you've constructed, and you'll need to collect items and challenge them before you can use the building again.

Season Quests

Season Quests are also a helpful tool in progressing through the game. Season Quests encourage players to complete key actions in game, like unlocking certain buildings.

Daily Attendance

Players receive extra Doubloons as a prize for logging in on consecutive days. If a day of Attendance is missed, the streak resets to Day 1.

The Shop

The Shop can be accessed using the Shop tab in the bottom left corner of the game. At the Bank, players can purchase Doubloons using Soul Gems, and Soul Gems using Ape Coin.

Not everyone is going to want to see you thrive in Serum City. Even within the Mutant Cartel, there are rival factions and enemies who will try to impede your progress. They will do this in two ways: by blocking your access to more territory, and by stealing your buildings.

Turf Wars are battles that you'll need to partake in to expand your territory. These lands are held by various baddies of Mutant Cartel lore, and are indicated by floating red icons of doom!

In order to unlock these territories so that you can expand your District, you'll need to gather a series of items used for both territory expansion and combat. Once you have these items, you can challenge your rival. Your success is not guaranteed, however, and there's a chance that you will need to rechallenge the rival a few times before you are strong enough to take the land.

Similarly, fighting for stolen buildings (Contested Buildings) follows a similar process. An enemy will take over one of the buildings that you've constructed, and you'll need to collect items and challenge them before you can use the building again.


It's important to keep an eye on your Inbox. This is where you will find updates and news relating to Leaderboards!

Game Currencies

There are no on-chain currencies in Serum City. But Serum City still runs on money. Vouchers, Doubloons, and Soul Gems are the main game currencies used in Serum City.


Vouchers can be earned by completing orders at Pirate Radio Station.

Vouchers can be used to complete Experiments in the Cartel Lab.


Doubloons are an off-chain game currency.

Doubloons are earned from:

  • Sending Items via the Expedition Guild

  • Sending Items via the Secret Port

Doubloons can be purchased in the shop.

Doubloons can be spent on buying buildings and bribing merchants at the Bazaar.

Soul Gems

Soul Gems are an off-chain game currency.

Soul Gems are earned from completing Season Quests. Soul Gems can also be purchased with Ape Coin.

Soul Gems can be spent on:

  • Speeding up building construction

  • Speeding up item production

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