htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary, a.k.a. that game that got its name when the developer’s cat accidentally walked across the keyboard, has its fair share of tricky portions that don’t involve trying to remember how to spell its name. The boss battles in particular can be troublesome, especially because the game isn’t always keen on telling you exactly what the hell you should be doing. Luckily for you, we here at Hardcore Gamer are certified experts at “what the hell you should be doing” and are more than happy to help you through the game’s more devious foes.
It should go without saying that as this is a Boss Guide, there are tons of spoilers to follow. You have been warned.
The first boss in the game is this hulking shadow monster and, oh, who am I kidding? You aren’t reading this. You skipped right past this section to see how you finish off the Chapter 2 boss. Nobody gets stuck here. The entire strategy for this boss is “move right, now move left, now move right.” If you couldn’t figure that out on your own, you most likely aren’t reading this anyway as you are probably stuck inside your closet trying to figure out the doorknob puzzle.
For the sake of completion though, when the encounter starts begin moving right. Mion moves with all the urgency of a turtle on barbiturates, but for the first leg of the “fight” the shadow monster is just a bit slower. After a while, you will fall through the floor to the next level, and here you should start immediately moving left. This time the shadow beast cranks his speed up to a leisurely stroll, so he catches Mion fairly quickly. When he stands up, immediately enter the shadow world and make your way up to the only interactive object which happens to be a pile of rubbish right over the monster’s head.
Dropping the garbage on him stuns him briefly and will make him smell bad for his upcoming date, but unfortunately he shakes it off quickly and starts up the chase again. Keep moving left until you find a drop down door, shown below.
As shadow monsters are notoriously slow learners, he will again stand up to try and grab you, which again marks your cue to enter the shadow world and crush his hubris with a door (fun fact: door in Latin translates roughly to hubris crusher. True story).
Move further left until you drop down a second time. Now, the game throws something absolutely crazy at you: you need to move right. I know. Crazy. Keep moving right until you see a train precariously supported by a cracked beam.
Wait until the poor guy is under it, enter the shadow world, and then drop a train on his unsuspecting head. Oh, and keep going right afterwards.
I don’t know exactly what the second boss is supposed to be, but it looks a lot like a robot dinosaur to me so hereafter he will be referred to as Dinobot. After Dinobot shows up and declares war in the most adorable fashion possible, you should immediately move to your left and stand on the button that pops up.
That hovering tube turns out to be a dynamite dispenser, and the whole unlimited supply of dynamite available to anyone who stands on a button might explain why this whole area looks to have some severe structural damage. Dinobot has three main attacks, and Mion will need to feed him dynamite three times while avoiding a terminal case of the ouchies. The dynamite can be dragged towards Dinobot, and released by quickly moving the firefly downward while it is over Mion. If you try to leave the dynamite before doing this, Mion will just start dragging it backwards with her because she has grown particularly attached to this specific batch of exploding death.
The only time you can actually damage Dinobot is when he thrusts forward at you and tries to bite you. The animation cueing this shows him opening his mouth and getting level with the ground for several seconds before he strikes. Just leave some dynamite close enough to him that it is in his thrust range and the resulting explosion will knock him back. Each time he uses this attack and you don’t have a nice dynamite surprise waiting for him, he will move forward a bit and you can absolutely run out of room if you aren’t quickly enough.
Dinobot’s most annoying attack is his flamethrower breath, not because it is hard to dodge (just don’t walk into it) but because it will destroy the dynamite if it comes into contact with it. It is best to hold the dynamite just within his bite reach and quickly drag it away if you see him deploy the flamethrower because otherwise you’ll need to go back and get a new batch. Because Mion pushes this small bundle of dynamite like she is moving a small house, it takes forever to push it back within range and it is possible Dinobot will have already used one of his biting attacks by this point. Hold on to the dynamite until you see him readying a charge, then drop it and run away.
Dinobot will also roar prior to some of his attacks, which will cause debris to fall from the ceiling and render you “dead” if you happen to come into contact with it. You can watch the top part of the screen to see where the debris will fall and just avoid it, or if you are paranoid you can jump onto the minecart that falls the first time he roars and it will shield you from all falling items.
After you hit him three times, the boss will trigger his “eh, I’ll just cheat and kill you now” move that is guaranteed to kill you a couple of times (or more) while you try to figure out exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. Of course, this sends you all the way back to the beginning of the boss fight because Dinobot is evil and the only food that gives him nourishment is your tears. After the third hit, he will start glowing orange and a second mine cart will fall. Hide under one and wait until you see a warhead start emerging from his mouth. You know how we haven’t had any world switching mechanics this whole fight? Well now is the time the game randomly throws one at you and forces you to do everything over if you don’t figure it out in two seconds. Quickly enter the shadow world once the warhead is entirely visible but before he actually fires it at you.
Make your way over to Dinobot and you will see you can interact with the warhead itself. Press X (or tap on it if you’re still using touch screen controls like a fool) and enjoy the resulting fireworks.
I don’t even know what the Chapter 3 boss is supposed to be. A bird’s nest with a portal to hell in the middle of it? It is some sort of tree creature that enjoys snacking on the blood of little girls and your job is to dislodge its food source. Essentially, every single one of this thing’s attacks are telegraphed by movement in the ground where it sprout up a particularly pointy branch to try and stab you.
Look out for pops of soil right at the bottom of the screen (like the ones shown above). Somewhere around five seconds after you see this, a whirly swirly death spike will appear and do very bad things to your soft, bleedy bits if you haven’t moved out of the way by then. There are a couple of different flavors to these attacks, but with only a couple of exceptions all you need to do is move away from directly on top of any of these ground pops and you’ll be fine.
About halfway through the battle, the evil bird’s nest gains a couple new attacks you need to be aware of. First, two bigger pops will occur on either side of its main…uh…body thing? From here, two large spikes will come out at diagonals (shown above). Just stand in the middle of the screen, trying to figure out exactly what it is you’re fighting for a couple seconds until the spikes go away.
The second attack is more annoying. It is preceded by a huge ground burst right in the center of the screen, which basically serves as your cue to run like a little girl and move all the way to the edge of the screen. Well, not all the way to the edge as there are small carnivorous plants that want to eat you, but fairly close to the edge. This attack will take up most of the screen (shown above) and you need to stand off to the side far enough to avoid all five of the spikes.
What you are looking for this entire fight is for some rapid, pulsing occurring in quick succession. This signals it is about to send a large spike at you, and the bursting will follow you wherever you move. Position yourself under one of the small hanging corpses of the little girls (I feel like just typing that out got me put on some sort of government watch list, so thanks htoL#NiQ!) and wait for the pulsing to stop. Don’t move until it does, otherwise it will keep following you. After several seconds, a big spike will appear and if you enter the shadow world, you can move the second firefly up to the corpse you were just under.
If you interact with the corpse, it will fall from the spike thing that seems to be drawing blood from it. It is hard to tell, but this is actually how you hurt the boss, and you need to remove all four bodies in order to kill it.
Oh, and public disclaimer: pick up your trash, people. Don’t you just hate it when someone throws their trash out the window or leaves a child’s corpse right in the middle of the street? It’s just rude, is what it is. This game will punish you for your rudeness if you don’t pick up your mess, and after you drop down the last corpse you have a short amount of time before the tree nest monster creature thing picks them all back up and attaches them to their little sticks. This only happens after the last one has been dropped, but it is still a good idea to remove each corpse immediately after you drop it so you don’t have to worry about the bodies piling up on you.
As soon as it drops, move it over to one of the little plants on the sides. Since this boss composts, either creature will start munching on the corpse and deprive the big guy of his potential food source. Remove all four and you can mosey on to the next chapter.
The Chapter 4 bosses are shadow versions of your parents, and like all parents these are annoyingly difficult and won’t stop posting embarassing Facebook statuses about you if you give them the chance. There are essentially only two attacks you need to worry about, as both the mother and father use the same attack (just improved versions of it) for the entire battle.
The dad here has a bit of a flair for the dramatic, so he pulls the curtains together and runs from one side to the other. As you can see above, he will travel across with one specific position, number of arms, and sometimes carrying a specific item.
After this, the curtains will close and four shadow dads will appear. You now have to pick which one is the real dad based on matching the shadow to the one you just saw. So basically this plays out like a less dumb version of Mamma Mia.
The shadow mother, being an aspiring street magician, uses the ol’ card swap trick. She is on one card, the cards flip to show question marks and then they all mix each other up for a while. Follow which one she was on and pick it after she is done mixing it up.
If you pick the wrong option, the screen takes on some fake static and sends you slightly closer to death. You can pick wrong four times before the game decides your a total failure and makes you do the whole thing over again. That’s all there is to it. This is supposed to be the final “boss fight” and basically you’re playing a mix and match mini-game.
And it is really, really hard. Like stupidly hard. For example, the shadow father segment eventually becomes impossible unless you’re some sort of computer and he moves so fast he is literally on screen for one single frame before disappearing. If you can see what he is holding and how many arms he has, just stop the game immediately. There has to be some sort of actually useful way to apply these talents. It is absurd how fast he moves, and towards the end I was just guessing. Of course, we here at Hardcore Gamer don’t endorse cheaters so the only way to beat this is to just keep on trying.
Don’t cheat, kids, remember that.
(Is my editor gone? Good. Here is how I cheated to beat it. Cheating is the only way to get ahead, kids, remember that. Besides, this whole fight is so dumb and unfair I don’t even feel bad about cheating. There are basically two ways to cheat here. The “sort of kind of” cheating method, and the hardcore “I am Bill Belichick and literally refuse to abide by any rules regardless of what they are” method.
For the more simple way, just keep pausing the game over and over. It causes the scene to play in a sort of slo-mo, and you can actually kind of see what is going on. This first half of the fight is easy enough without doing this, but it definitely helps a lot when the card flipping goes insane and starts moving things too fast to keep track of everything.
The crazy thing is this still didn’t guarantee that I would get a good glimpse of the shadow dad in between the curtains though. He was literally moving so fast that I was cheating as hard as I could and I still only saw him about half the time. To make sure you get a good glimpse of this tricky jerk, what I would recommend doing is pausing the game when the curtains fall, taking your iPhone out, and recording him passing by. This is the only way I was able to guarantee I could see what he was holding 100% of the time. This is also how I know for a fact he appears for one frame. On the slowest playback setting my phone allows, he is visible for exactly one screen on the quickest couple of runs. I don’t even regret cheating here, that’s just unfair.)
After the madness that is the UNFAIR WHAT ARE YOU DOING HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO EVEN SEE THIS, YOU STUPID GAME UGH that was the last fight, you would assume the super secret, extra hidden actual final boss fight would be even more cruel. And you’d be wrong. The actual final boss fight in the game is essentially a tower defense mini-game, because the game has run out of good ideas by this point (as evidenced by that last boss battle). You need to defend the tree in the center from hordes of shadow monsters, and have six plants with which to do it with.
The first way to attack is in the light world. Click on one of the plants and it will begin to home in on Mion. By moving her around near the plants, you can aim where they will be firing at, and you can quickly go around and set up all six in whichever direction you would like. Just move far enough away from one and it will stop locking in on you and set its position for the rest of the fight unless you change it again.
The second way is to interact with the bud in the shadow world. If you interact with the plant, it will kill it and respawn the bud. Interacting with the bud causes it to drop and form a spike which causes a ton of area damage to any nearby enemies. This is complete overkill for most of the creatures, so only use these if in a bind as the recharge here is much slower than the rapid fire shots of the living plants.
This is the best position to keep your plants in that I’ve found. Aim them all towards the center of the tree, slightly towards the opposite side that they are on. The bouncing will kill a lot of the weaker enemies on the other side, and by aiming this way all of the rebounds tend to be very low to the ground so you don’t need to worry about them skipping over the tinier enemies. This orientation will get you though the entire first wave without even getting hit. The second and third wave are slightly more difficult, but really most of your plants should be kept in this orientation the entire time.
The only thing that can screw you up is one of these little yellow jerks that Mion is hovering by. These things will eat your plants, so if you see one grab a nearby plant and shoot it in the face. If you miss, it really isn’t a big deal because the plants recharge way quicker than they need to, so if you miss one just quickly orientate the bud again and you’ll be fine.
The second wave is trickier and if you don’t change your strategy that huge hulking shadow monster from the Chapter 1 boss fight will wreck your face. Really, though, the only change you need to make here is to drop the furthest left plant as a spike when the big guy is close. He will destroy the spike in one hit, but as soon as the bud reappears again you can drop it another time for massive damage. Three times and he’ll be dead, compared to what seems to be an infinite number of hits from those little spike balls before he dies. Don’t even let him get close and let the rest of the plans worry about the smaller guys.
The final wave has a lot of quick moving guys and some bigger brutes, but the overall strategy shouldn’t change much. The same orientation from wave one works just as well here, although you will need to be ready to drop one the two plants nearest to the center if a big group gets too close to the tree. The good news is this will wipe out an entire group in one hit, so as long as you are paying attention you can’t lose.
With this, you should be able to tackle all of the games big bad bosses without much trouble. If you are still having trouble, you are probably playing with the touchscreen controls and you should stop that immediately because they are awful. Seriously, guys, control scheme “C” is the way to go. There are enough things in this game trying to kill you. You should probably take “terrible controls” off of that list, as soon as possible.