Every good rogue-like has secret areas, and Nuclear Throne has plenty of hidden locations to explore. The tricky part is finding them. If you’re hungry for hard bosses, new characters, or even an alternate ending, then look no further.
There are seven total secret areas, not counting the additional hidden Crown Vaults, that are accessible throughout your progression toward the titular Nuclear Throne. There are Easter eggs, weapon caches, and an extra boss battle. Not every location is particularly large or difficult, at least two of these sections are only a single room, but most provide challenge for additional rewards. If you’re a pro player and want to skip ahead, grab powerful weapons, or conquer the mysterious IDPD, we’ve got the tips you’ll need to break into these locations.
Secret Areas Guide
Get cracking! Uncover optional bosses and warp zones that take you deeper down the progression path with these hidden areas.
Typically, secret areas are much harder than normal progression areas. You’ll also find chests with higher level weapon drops!
- Accessible From: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3
To enter the underwater Oasis, you’ll need to open every chest (weapon, ammo, rad canisters) in any of the desert areas without killing too many enemies in the area.
If you open every chest and manage to only kill one or two enemies in the area, a Big Bandit boss will spawn. Then you’ll need to kill the boss quickly.
Killing the boss quickly will make a blue portal appear on the Big Bandit’s corpse.
Watch the fish skulls in the Desert to see if you’ve killed too many enemies to summon the Big Bandit early. If the skull mouth closes, you’ve killed too many enemies!
Completing this area sends you straight to 3-3.
- Accessible From: 2-1
This is the easiest secret area to unlock. All you have to do is use any explosive on a manhole in any of the Sewers floors. There is only one manhole, so don’t miss it!
The Pizza Sewers are full of pizzas and turtles. For any ’80s, ’90s, or ’00s kids out there, this is obviously a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There’s a weapon chest and mini-medkit pizza boxes here to grab, if you’re into that.
- Accessible From: 3-1
Collect a Screwdriver melee weapon and take it to 3-1. There’s a broken-down gold car in this area — smack it once with the Screwdriver, then press [E] to travel to YV’s fancy mansion.
Entering the area your first time unlocks playable YV. Not only that, but you’ll find a Gold Weapon Chest somewhere in the mansion.
Completing this area teleports you straight to 3-3.
Cursed Crystal Caves
- Accessible From: 3-3
Grab a Cursed Weapon and beat the Big Dog boss in 3-3 to open a portal to the Cursed Crystal Caves. This is a much harder version of the regular Crystal Caves area.
To get a Cursed Weapon, or at least a chance to spawn a Cursed Weapon (which is a weapon spewing purple smoke) you’ll need to have a Crown.
Crowns are found in hidden Crown Vaults, accessed through diamond-shaped Proto Statues. These special props appear in 3-2, 5-2, or in 1-2 and 7-2 after a loop.
Complete this area to jump straight to 5-1.
- Accessible From: 5-1
Reach 5-1 with the Last Wish mutation. Right at the spawn, feed the nearby Corpse Flower with 4 HP.
Almost every enemy in 5-1 will die and a portal to the Jungle will open. This is a good way to clear the zone even if you don’t want to enter the Jungle.
You will lose Last Wish after entering the Jungle and gain a different mutation. Complete the area skip to 5-3.
- Accessible From: YV’s Mansion
Unlock YV and unlock his Ultra Mutation. Either of the two Ultra Mutations will work.
This small, enemy-free area has features two Huge Golden Weapon Chests.
- Accessible From: IDPD Van
This area is only accessible after one progression loop. After killing rare IDPD troopers, a van will barrel through the environment.
To portal to the HQ, you’ll need to press [E] on a van as it arrives. The lights of the van need to be on. If the reinforcements have left and the van is stopped, you won’t be able to open the HQ portal.
IDPD Headquarters is a fancy building protected by elite soldiers. There are three levels, leading to an alternate final boss. Defeating the IDPD Captain returns you to the fireplace, restarting the loop.
Kevin Thielenhaus is a freelance writer for The Escapist. Find him on Twitter here.