In order to find the Key of Symbiosis, you’ll need to proceed through the Dark Cave. But the Dark Cave is too dark (figures…), so we’ll first need to obtain the Power of True Sight. Upon talking to the Prophet, he will give you this riddle…
IN FRONT OF A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET, A FLOWERBED SHALL SERVE ITS PURPOSE A SECOND TIME.
For this one, you’ll want to head back to Searing Crags and make your way to the flowerbed in this frame (make sure that you are 16 bit when you do)…
Take the tea leaves and then bring them back to the Village Elder by going through the teleport portal on the far left of the Tower of Time HQ and make your way through Autumn Hills to Ninja Village. Turn yourself to 8 bit through the portal further left of screen if you haven’t already and speak to the elder.
In exchange for the tea leaves, you are granted with the Power of True Sight (a candle… he gives you a candle). Now we can make our way through the Dark Cave!
Head back to Autumn Hills and through to the Catacombs in this direction…
Now you’ll need to head to the Dark Cave through the Catacombs. Just head to this frame in 8 bit and go through the portal from the right-hand side…
Head one frame left and make your way down the right wall to break the breakable brick that you may not have seen (I’d recommend killing the bats first, because they are annoying!).
Now keep following the linear path until you get to the Dark Cave.
Now that you’ve entered the Dark Cave, what do you know… it’s a dark cave. But now that we have the Power of True Sight, the Dark Cave isn’t so dark anymore. But still, where do we go?
Well, in the bottom-left corner, there is a ring for you to use your Rope Dart on.
Continue through the linear cave until you get to this frame…
You will need to jump up into this little gap above you which can be quite difficult to spot.
When proceeding down the falling platforms, the gap is above the third and fourth platform. Head all the way through, hit the crystal, then head back down and continue on your way through to…
A lot of this world you will find is quite linear, with a few minor secrets here and there. But if we are to get on with the main story, proceed to this frame…
And if you get stuck along the way, it’s probably because you may not realize that you can attack the flowers to change their direction.
You may get stuck at this frame, however it’s quite simple really. See those time shards leading upwards? Head up there and work your way through that platforming puzzle until you change to 16 bit and use the flower to shoot you back along.
When you reach the end, you’ll encounter a tricky boss fight. Avoid the wave beams at all cost, as they will make your movements opposite (press left and you’ll walk right). Wait until the butterfly comes out and strike it to bring everything to the future. The boss will then sprinkle some dust that will allow you to see some invisible platforms. Jump your way up and swing away!
Once you defeat the boss, you’ll receive the Magic Butterfly.
So, where to next…?
When continuing down this quest line, the next Prophet hint will be:
THROUGH THE HEALING HAND OF NATURE, A FALLEN MESSENGER SHALL BE REDEEMED.
If you buy a hint from the shopkeep, he’ll tell you to go here in Quillshroom Marsh.
The quickest way to get here is by going through the teleport portal in the Tower of Time HQ to Howling Grotto, which is the third portal from the left.
Make your way to this frame and jump in the water to ride it all the way to Quillshroom Marsh…
Once you get the end of the river, you’ll be here in Quillshroom Marsh…
Make your way up and right to our destination. Upon arriving, the Magic Butterfly will speak up and talk about the monk. Unfortunately she has been corrupted (which explains why she fought us earlier) and the Magic Butterfly offers to help her.
Upon healing her, she returns to the Prophet. Upon revisiting the Prophet, his new riddle will be:
WHERE THE WIND CHILLS THE BONES, A BRAVE MONK HAS A SIMPLE BUT IMPORTANT FINAL ROLE TO PLAY.
For that, we will need to head here to Glacial Peak. Head back to the Tower of Time HQ and go through the teleport portal to the far-right. From the teleport portal in Glacial Peak, proceed all the way down to where Manfred the Dragon Butler is. However, Manfred is frozen solid!
But hope is not lost! Head to the right to this frame and go through the portal back to 8 bit.
Now when you head back, Manfred won’t be there, but the Messenger you saved will. Speak to her and she will break the ice covering the lanterns above (not as cool as I expected, but still helpful). Now go back to the frame with the time portal and go back to the future.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Moving on… when you head back to Manfred, you’ll be able to get to him by using the rope dart on the lanterns. Upon landing on the ice covered platform, hack at the ice and Manfred will become free.
Now you can head to the Elemental Skylands to take on the Clockwork Concierge! We’re just going to shift genres a little. When proceeding through the shmup sections, we’d highly recommend using charged beams as much as possible to avoid serious carpal tunnel syndrome.
Now that we’re on land, you’ll need to head to this frame first to attack the surrounding lanterns and disable the shield generator in the middle…
In the next room, to continue the main quest you’ll want to head to the top-right corner. Now proceed through and play some more shmup action!
Now that we’ve landed, proceed forward. In this frame you have a choice: down or right? But wait! When you go through the portal, you can only go right! If you want to go down, do know that this is only for some Time Shards, so ignore it if you want to proceed. But if you do want them, then proceed right, use the ring to rope dart your way across and go up. In this frame, go through the portal and come back down on the left, only to backtrack to the previous frame where you’ll now be able to go downwards…
But now back to the main point! Just like we stated before, make the world 8 bit and then go down a frame and proceed right. In this next section, you’ll want to break the bricks blocking the portal below the platform.
Now that it’s 16 bit, you can proceed upwards… but you won’t be able to do anything there. Instead, you’ll want to head left of this frame here…
Destroy the bricks and make your way through. Run across the water to avoid the falling spikes and wall jump up. Now head all the way to the right and fall down the gap. Follow the path and you’ll be at the next shield generator. Destroy the surrounding lanterns and then move on to some more dragon riding…
Once you get to the next section, head to this frame and drop into the water just below you.
Go down either side and then through the portal to the future (if you’re going for all of those coins, head to the top-right of the above frame before going through the portal). Come back up and you’ll see an opening in the middle. Keep going through and when you reach the water with the circular saw, wait for it to get to start going right before you go in. Once you’re in the middle, jump up and wait for the saw to go back before going back into the water and continue going right.
You’ll see a portal that you need to go through, which will make the wall above disappear. Jump off and glide by following the Time Shards, and then make your way up. As you make your way upwards, you’ll see a portal on the left-hand side. You can’t jump up and through it from the bottom, but you can fall into it from above. If you do that, you can head through the top-left corner from some Time Shards and some health. But if you want to continue the story, don’t worry about that and remain in 16 bit to proceed upwards. This next part is to disable the third shield generator. Now that you’ve done that, proceed right and keep riding that dragon.
The fourth section is quite simple, so proceed onwards until you get to this frame…
If you head right, you can get a gold coin, but we’ll settle all that another time. For now, head upwards and you’ll already be at the fourth shield generator. Take out all the lanterns without dropping into the lava and without being hit by the lava drops.
After that, proceed through the top-left corner. The rest is all pretty straightforward (albeit with some challenging platforming sections).
Now you’ll be at a boss fight with the Clockwork Concierge! There isn’t much to this boss fight other than dodging and shooting. We’d absolutely recommend using charged shots as they will go through oncoming projectiles and hit the big guy.
You’ll need to aim for his head, his canons on his stomach and his backside panel. Once you’ve taken them down, you jump up and slash at his heart. Rinse and repeat… always repeat. Probably one of the easiest boss fights in the entire game.
And thus… you shall be awarded with the Key of Symbiosis!
But more importantly, Manfred will become an apprentice butler! Woohoo!
We hope this guide on the Dark Cave and the Key of Symbiosis has helped.
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