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Let’s Kill High On Life’s Most Annoying Boss

The Psycho Mantis references are cute…but omg can you hold still so I can shoot you??

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Gif: Squanch Games / Kotaku

When it ain’t poking fun at video games, High on Life is often a straightforward, enjoyable first-person shooter with vibrant colors, a killer soundtrack, and fun gun mechanics. If you enjoyed any Ratchet and Clank or Resistance: Fall of Man and haven’t checked this game out, you owe it to yourself to give it a spin, especially if you have Xbox Game Pass. But some boss fights, like the second-to-last bounty, Nipulon, can be a little tricky.

While the first round of combat with Nipulon will be pretty straightforward, the following phases involve some trippy sequences with spinning environments, blurry visuals, and a bunch of fake Nipulons to distract you. Nipulon likes to mess with your character’s head…which, for a mantis enemy in a game that’s prone to random video game references and other meta silliness, is on brand. At least the dude ain’t reading our memory cards and calling us out.

On that note, the Nipulon fight does have a handful of Metal Gear Solid references which can be hard to hear under the gun fire. Turn on subtitles so you don’t miss these.

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Read More: High On Life’s Satire Isn’t Just Good, It Stunts On Big-Budget Games

Nipulon can be a genuinely frustrating foe. Especially if you’re playing while, uh, high on whatever it is you’re into. This guide will help you break through the illusions so you can pop your globshot all over this nuisance of a boss and then knife the son of a bitch into a puddle of lucious bug blood.

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Nipulon boss structure

The Nipulon fight takes you through a number of different phases. Here’s the overall structure it follows:

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Fight phase one: Fight Nipulon in his office.

Hallucination intermission one: Chat with Gene.

Fight phase two: Fight multiple Nipulons (damage the blue one to move on to the next intermission).

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Hallucination intermission two: Chat with your character’s sister.

Fight phase three: Fight multiple Nipulons again (damage the blue one to move to the next intermission).

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Hallucination intermission three: Collect and chat with your Gatlian gun buddies.

Fight phase four: Move down a hallway, fighting Nipulon and his copies with all four Gatlians at once.

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If you’re constantly rotating guns, you almost never need to reload in High On Life.
Gif: Squanch Games / Kotaku

How to beat Nipulon: fight phase one (and how to cycle Gatlians for constant damage output)

Before shooting Nipulon, make a beeline to your left and grab the Luglox chest in his office (you’ll have a chance to grab this at the end if you miss it). There’s also a Dr. Gurgula hint on the TV mounted to the wall here, but this might be easier to grab once the fight’s over.

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Nipulon, like other bosses in the game, will go through different phases as you lower his health. Given how late this is in the game, unless you’re playing on the highest “Hunter” difficulty (which itself isn’t too much of a challenge beyond the other levels, especially if you play a lot of FPS games), the first phase shouldn’t trouble you too much. Pick whatever tactics you’ve been enjoying, but I’ll break down what worked well for me.

You’ll be fighting Nipulon in his office to start (after, yet again, talking to fucking Helen of all god damn people), so close-quarters weapons like Gus (shotgun) are very useful. While Nipulon has some resistance to attacks like Kenny’s globshot (you can’t juggle him), other trickhole shots like Gus’ disc or Sweezy’s time bubble are usable. But ideally, you want to swap guns frequently.

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High on Life’s guns reload themselves when you don’t have them equipped, so cycling through your guns instead of reloading is a reliable pattern to fall into if you’re not maining a specific gun or two.

I recommend starting with Sweezy, and then cycling through so that Gus is your final gun. Gus’ trickhole shot, his disc, ricochets off walls and can be hit with a timed-melee strike (watch for the prompt on the disc, it’s easy to miss!) to send it around the map again. By the time you strike the disc a few times, you’ll be ready to move back to Sweezy, whose trickhole will hopefully have reset by then, or will be very close. The pattern will look something like this:

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  1. Shoot with Sweezy’s trickhole shot, empty her magazine into the enemy.
  2. Switch to Creature, fire his trickhole shot, and then empty his magazine.
  3. Switch to Kenny, fire his trickhole, empty his magazine.
  4. Switch to Gus, fire his trickhole (melee the disc a few times to keep it active), empty his magazine.
  5. Switch back to Sweezy and do this whole thing over again.

Based on when each gun’s trickhole has recharged, your pattern might start with bullets from the magazine, then the trickhole shot as the closer before swapping guns. If you’re (correctly) playing this game in an altered state of consciousness, little patterns like this can help keep you focused. And this works well for the whole game, not just the Nipulon fight.

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High On Life Nipulon Boss Fight

How to beat Nipulon: hallucination intermissions one, two, and three

Each phase following the office brawl starts with a little hallucinatory interlude where you’re caught in a loop of objects from other scenes in the game. This happens a total of three times during the fight.

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These interludes require you to chat with an NPC, then jump into a black hole that appears in the center of the area to resume your fight with Nipulon. The first scene has you chatting with Gene. The second involves a talk with your character’s sister.

The spatial effects of these scenes can be trippy. Head for the column of light once you’ve had a chat with each one’s NPC.
Gif: Squanch Games / Kotaku
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The third and final one has you chat with all of your Gatlian gun friends, but you’ll need to move through the zoomy environment to find each one. You’ll hear each one calling out to you, so follow the voices to grab each one. When you’re close, you’ll see the circular HUD prompt that indicates an interactable object.

  • Creature is on an operating table.
  • Kenny is on a Space Applebee’s table.
  • Gus is on some rubble in front of a large drill.
  • Sweezy is on a table on the left side of a truck.

The dialogue options during the first two intermissions here don’t have any notably different outcomes, so pick whatever feels natural.

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The looping, scalable objects in this environment can be a little tricky to navigate, so just keep an eye out for the large column of light and black hole once you’ve had a chat with each instance’s NPC.

How to beat Nipulon’s copies: fight phases two and three

Once you cut through the hallucinatory episode where friends and family tell you that you’re an awful, selfish person destined for failure (that’s not familiar at all), you’ll engage with Nipulon in the most annoying way possible: He has multiple versions of himself dancing in a swarming mess of trippy colors.

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Do not brute force your way through this. Trust me. Your first instinct might be to just shoot through all the copies like a process of elimination until you get to the real one. I’m here to tell you that won’t work. Instead, you really need to focus on finding the right Nipulon.

Fortunately this isn’t too hard. All of Nipulon’s clones will have dominating green color patterns on their armor and exoskeleton (he’s a bug, he doesn’t have skin!). You want to keep an eye out for the Nipulon with blue armor, purple gloves, and a tan exoskeleton. That’s our guy. Kill him dead, bounty hunter.

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The visual effects don’t make it easy, but you’re looking for the dude in blue.
Gif: Squanch Games / Kotaku

Unlike the first showdown in the office, you might want to stick to Kenny or Sweezy to shoot Nipulon here. Both of their primary attacks are very accurate and focused, and if you hold down aim, Sweezy fires a focused sniper shot. As the closest things in the game to designated marksman rifles, the accuracy of Kenny and Sweezy will make this process much easier. Gus’ shotgun blast might serve you well here, but I found the three-magazine count a little too restrictive.

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The second phase of the fight has these multiple Nipulon’s swarming around you. Movement isn’t too much of a concern here, you mostly want to just aim for the correct, blue-armored Nipulon to take down his health further to trigger the next hallucination interlude.

Nipulon’s third phase sees he and his copies bunched up into a ball, shooting lasers out in all directions. Like with the second phase, physical movement is a little tricky since you’re floating in a hallucinatory void of colors, but you should do your best to avoid the bright green lasers while aiming for the blue-armored Nipulon. Don’t get too distracted shooting the copies, but you might find it easier to hit the real Nipulon if you clear a few out (particularly during the third phase).

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How to beat Nipulon: fourth (final) phase

There’s not much of a trick to the final phase of the Nipulon fight. Once you’ve had a little chat with your Gatlians, you’ll get to use all four at once. You’ll have to move down a trippy hallway filled with Nipulon copies. The real one is at the very end. While they can damage you,and there is some risk of death, you want to keep moving forward and spam all of your guns to clear through the barriers of Nipulon copies until you’re back at his office entrance, where the real, blue one waits.

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You’ll need to move in to use Knifey to deliver the final blow. After killing Nipulon, don’t forget to grab the Luglox chest in his office—assuming you didn’t do so in the beginning. In the same area (the nook with the bookshelves), you should also grab the Dr. Gurgula hint on a screen mounted to the wall.

The protagonist in High On Life finds a secret hint.
Don’t miss the Dr. Gurgula hint in Nipulon’s office!
Screenshot: Squanch Games / Kotaku
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Once you’ve dealt with Nipulon, it’s time to move on to the final boss of the game. Head on back to Gene, collect the bounty for Nipulon and get ready to end this whole thing.