Can I die if I have soul hearts but lose all my red hearts, either from making a deal with the devil or using the razor or using the blood donation machine?

2 Answers 2


Strictly speaking, whenever you lose all of your regular health you will die. However, this is not always easy to do when you have soul hearts. I'll treat each of the cases you listed individually:

Blood donation machine: On levels before the womb, blood donation machines do half a heart of damage. You'll start by losing regular hearts, until you have half a heart left, and then you'll start losing soul hearts (Source. I haven't felt suicidal enough in any of my playthroughs to actually try this out):

The machine will take hearts from your base health and will ignore all your Soul Hearts unless your base health is at one half heart.

Starting at the womb, using the blood donation machine will use up a whole heart, so if you only have one heart left, using the machine will kill you.

Razor: This acts more or less like the blood donation machine, except the loss of regular hearts scales up more quickly (1/2 heart in basement/caves, 1 heart in Depths, 2 hearts in the Womb).

Making a deal with the devil: While making a deal with the devil is slightly different than the above as it will actually cost you heart containers instead of causing you damage, you will still get killed even if you have soul hearts left after the deal. Some consider this to be a bug, though that is debatable (see the bugs section here).

And of course, all of the above doesn't really apply to ???, who has no regular hearts to begin with, and cannot gain them.

  • 1
    I'm not exactly sure it's a bug. I'm pretty sure you're meant to die if you lose all of your regular hearts, soul hearts are irrelevant if you're paying for something in regular hearts
    – Mr Smooth
    Jan 15, 2012 at 7:44
  • 1
    @MrSmooth Then some may argue that it simply shouldn't let you make the deal if you have insufficient regular hearts. Also, consider the following example: You have 3 regular hearts and 3 soul hearts, and buy something for the cost of 3 regular hearts. You could still fall prey to this bug, but you should have remained alive with no heart containers and 3 soul hearts.
    – Aubergine
    Jan 15, 2012 at 8:25
  • 2
    No you shouldn't. You shouldn't look at soul hearts the same way you look at regular hearts. Regular hearts keep you alive. Soul hearts just prevent you from taking contact damage to your regular hearts until you run out of soul hearts, they don't prevent you from dying.
    – Mr Smooth
    Jan 15, 2012 at 8:56
  • 4
    @MrSmooth that is, however, inconsistent with the way in which the final unlockable character functions. When saying what a game should do, you have to keep similar game mechanics in mind. Besides, it would make the game more fun (in the Dwarf Fortress sense) to let the player put themselves into that position.
    – Tacroy
    Feb 15, 2012 at 23:34

Just tested it. Donation machine kills you, even if you have more soul hearts than the screen can show.

  • That is indeed true at times, I'll update my answer accordingly.
    – Aubergine
    Feb 20, 2012 at 7:46

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