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Spelunky 2 guide: How to reach the true ending (Cosmic Ocean walkthrough)

This may be the hardest thing you ever do

Spelunky 2 torch Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks
Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

Spelunky 2 is difficult, to put it mildly. Just beating the final boss of the game takes comical levels of dedication and practice. But fans of Spelunky know that the “final” boss is never the Final boss, and there’s plenty more to do once you’ve returned safely with your hoard of moon gold.

As with Spleunky HD’s secret Hell level, there is a secret path in Spelunky 2 that leads you to new worlds. Getting to these worlds is very tricky, requiring an intense familiarity with the game and its mechanics. So if you’re just starting out and think you can skip right to the true ending, think again.

We realize that some folks just don’t have the time to commit to sleuthing out a long and elaborate Easter egg like this, and for those people, we’re going to walk you through the steps.

Important: There are a number of paths you can take to reach the “true” ending of Spelunky 2. Rather than listing all of them here, we’re going to list what we consider to be the easiest path. This will also exclude any obvious exploits, which are likely to be removed in future patches. And with that, here we go!

Step 1: Grab the Udjat Eye in the Mines

Using the key to get the Udjat Eye Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

Shouldn’t need much guidance here. Just bring the Gold Key to the cave with the fancy chest in it, and snag the Udjat Eye.

Step 2: Head to the Volcano level at the end of the Mines

You can complete this true ending Easter egg by heading to the Jungle as well, but we consider the Volcano method to be dramatically easier.

Step 3: Find the bow in the Moon Challenge

This challenge requires that you use a pickaxe to dig for treasure. A bow can be found inside this challenge, so keep an eye out for it and don’t lose it.

Step 4a: Activate the drill with the Udjat Eye

The drill in the volcano of Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

Reach the vampire lair in the basement of one of the Volcano levels. If you happen to have many bombs and the drill ends up causing a lot of lava to fall, you can also bomb your way down to the vampire entrance.

Step 4b: Grab the Crown and Vlad’s Cape from the top of the vampire tower

If you happen to rescue Van Helsing in level 2-1, he will show up and help you take down the king vampire at the top of the tower. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Sticky Bombs make for an easy kill. Once he’s dead, grab his excellent red cape and the Crown. You should still have your bow.

Step 5: Store the bow with Waddler in Olmec’s stage

Find Waddler here, directly to the right of the entrance of Olmec’s stage:

Waddler’s cave in Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

You may need a couple bombs to reach his cave. Once you’re in there, drop the bow on his pedestal. The floor should light up to indicate that it’s been stored.

Step 6: Defeat Olmec and get the Ankh

Standing on Olmec in Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

We’re not going to detail Olmec strategies here beyond saying that his levitation orbs can be broken. If you’d like help, you can watch this playthrough, starting at 6 minutes. Suffice it to say you need to get him to drop into the lava at the bottom of the level, and then stand on his head to enter one of the many caves down there. Any of these caves will work.

Once inside, explore the area until you find the Ankh (at the top of the stage). Now exit back to the top of Olmec’s level, and leave through the door that leads to the Water Temple.

Step 7: Grab the sword in 4-2

The sword is above the large lake at the bottom of the level. Since you have the Crown, you’ll be able to pick up the sword and bring it into the next level.

Step 8: Drop the sword in 4-3, find the one-way door, and die

Cave that leads down to the lava Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

The first thing you should do is drop the sword right at the entrance. You’ll see why in a bit.

You’re looking for a small cave that’s located under a small pool of water. Enter it, and head down a long shaft until you find a familiar face warning you about a one-way door ahead.

Head through the one-way door, and disturb the idol. This will cause lava to fall on you. Good thing you have the Ankh!

Step 9: Bring your sword to the secret entrance

Secret entrance to Abzu Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

When you revive, you’ll start back at the beginning of 4-3. Grab the sword (you left it right there, didn’t you?) and bring it down to the area where the lava that fell on you previously was.

Somewhere in that area is a secret door leading to the next area. Make sure you look down before leaping, as the secret door’s location can be inconsistent. Once you spot it, enter the secret door with the sword.

Step 10: Kill the beast in Abzu

Abzu beast Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

Once you enter Abzu, look for an underwater cave entrance. This will lead you up to the top of the stage. From there you can hop on the back of the giant creature.

The center of its back will take massive damage from the sword and eventually break, granting you a tablet. Don’t worry about the tablet for now. Exit the level and move onto the Ice Caves.

Step 11: Survive the Ice Caves

This should be relatively easy with Vlad’s Cape, as you can just glide your way down. Not much else to worry about here. You can fully skip the cave with the Yeti King and Queen and just glide down to the lower level with the cape.

Step 12: Find the urn room in 6-2

The urn room in Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

Neo Babylon has a room in 6-2 with a ton of urns in it. The entrance will be a small door, so keep an eye out for it.

Once inside, open up your journal and examine the tablet you picked up in Abzu. It’ll describe which urn you’re looking out for. There are three variables to consider: the material of the urn, the overall design of the urn, and the pattern on the urn. Make sure the urn you pick up matches these three variables. It’s randomized for each run.

Once you have the proper urn, bring it with you into the next level, leaving the sword behind.

Step 13: Hatch the mount and reach the final boss

Placing the proper urn on the ground in the next level will cause it to shake and eventually hatch into a brand new mount. Once hatched, you can ride it. It can fly and shoot fireballs, which is handy.

Make it through 6-3 with the mount, reaching the final boss.

Step 14: Ascend with the mount

Flying with mount in Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

When you face the final boss, start flying directly up with your mount. Keep going until you reach a series of electricity beams at the top of the stage.

Flying through these requires some care (you can’t sprint right through them), but if you’re careful it shouldn’t be too hard.

Once you make it through the lasers, you’ll have to leave your mount behind.

Step 15: Find Waddler in 7-1

If you stored the bow way back during Olmec, you should find a small cave in 7-1 with Waddler in it, along with the bow you stored. Grab the bow and take it with you.

Step 16: Get the arrow from the Sun Challenge

Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

The Sun Challenge can appear in 7-1, 7-2, or 7-3. Wherever it appears, head in and either complete it or bomb your way to the arrow (angering the guardian of the Sun Challenge in the process).

The Sun Challenge is super difficult, as the room will fill with enemies, and you have to survive until the timer runs out. Angering/killing the guardian is probably a safer bet, but know that they will return for revenge in later levels.

Once you have the bow in the arrow, you’ll have to survive to 7-4 with both in-hand.

Step 17: Defeat Hundun

Fighting Hundun in Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth/Blitworks via Polygon

Don’t use the arrow on Hundun. Instead, just drop the bow and arrow at the top of the stage and use whatever normal tactics you prefer for taking down Hundun. Sticky Bombs are great here, because they take down each head with just a handful of bombs each. If you don’t have Sticky Bombs you can try “cooking” bombs by setting them on the ground in front of you and then whipping them down to Hundun’s heads.

Step 18: Fire the Sun Challenge arrow into Hundun’s eye

After defeating Hundun, you can find its body at the bottom of the stage, with a giant eye in the center of it. It makes for a pretty easy target, just line yourself up properly and fire the arrow directly at it.

A portal should open, granting access to … the Cosmic Ocean! Well done!

Step 18: Survive?

As of now, it seems that the Cosmic Ocean is an unending series of levels, and your goal is to complete as many as possible without dying. Good luck with that!