The walkthrough was written for Normal Mode.
Remix Mode's levels are arranged slightly differently to make them more difficult. But the sidequest items are in the same locations, as are most powerups.
The game starts out at the house of the main character, Alex.
Not much to do here except watch the cutscene.
Note that you can return to this house at any time. If you complete the Bootworm Racing sidequest later, your house will have some rewards in it.
On the world map outside, you'll notice two paths leading from your house: one going west, and one going north. The one going north leads to the castle, so that's where we want to go first. The path to the west has a tunnel that you can later use as a shortcut to return here, but you'll need to unlock it first (see the Farmtrepreneuer minigame section).
As the name implies, this level is just a pathway from Alex's house to the castle.
There's nothing too challenging here, as the level serves as a gentle introduction to the game's mechanics. There's an enemy Bootworm near the start of the level who gives you an opportunity to try out the combat system. Just jump on his head a few times, bringing his HP to 0 to defeat him. The enemies up ahead have slightly more intricate movement patterns.
You can find an apple to the left after climbing the ladder. You can feed this to your pet Bootworm later in the Bootworm Racing sidequest.
Toward the end of the level, you'll see a Snailboat jetting around in the water. This tiny enemy is difficult to jump on, but it gives a decent amount of experience points, so the challenge may be worthwhile if you're going for the High-level Run trophy.
Watch the cutscene, and continue onward.
As indicated on the world map, this level has two exits, which unlock separate paths on the map.
This level introduces an enemy called Orbster. The easiest way to defeat him is to wait until he has thrown all four of his spikey orb projectiles, and then jump onto him as normal. Later levels introduce more powerful Orbsters, which throw faster orbs.
Main exit: Simply proceed to the right edge of the level. You can either travel via the platforms in the sky, avoiding most enemies, or travel along the ground path.
Secret exit: You'll need a double-jump (green) powerup to do this. A double-jump powerup is easily found in level 1-3: Cavernous Depths. Anyway, assuming you're able to double-jump, travel upward at the first spring, and traverse along the aerial platforms via the springs. The last jump has no spring, and thus will require your double-jump. The final aerial platform contains the secret exit, which leads to level 1-X: To The Top!
This secret tower level is unlocked by finding the secret exit in level 1-2. At the top of the level is the Red Key, necessary for completing the Ancient Castle sidequest.
The level is fairly straightforward: just avoid the Smasher traps. There are quite a few Bootworms in this level, so if you're trying to complete the "High-level Run" trophy, you may want to fight the majority of them.
This level has a double-jump powerup. In Normal Mode, it's near the third green Orbster monster, who is located directly adjacent to a single coin; go to that coin, and fall directly below it, to a hidden platform containing the double-jump powerup.
Near the end of the level is a set of vertical platforms. If you have a double-jump powerup, you can jump on top of them, and follow the path to find the Red Book, which is used in the Bootworm Racing sidequest.
If you finish this level without touching any lava, you'll earn a trophy.
Watch the boss's movement patterns. When he's moving vertically in the center of the screen, you can jump onto him when he's at his lowest point. Get a few hits in until he starts moving away; dodge his bombs, and repeat.
If you're having trouble with this fight, return to level 1-3: Cavernous Depths, and find the double-jump powerup. The double-jump ability makes this fight substantially easier.
At the beginning of the level, there's a platform in the air that you'll want to jump onto. To do this, jump off of the sleigh while in mid-air. You'll find a Green Book (for the Bootworm Racing sidequest) to the left, and a fireball powerup to the right. Return to the sleigh, and continue onward.
After you make it across the first gap, there's an aerial platform with a double-jump powerup and a fireball power-up. These are tricky to reach unless you have the Winged Boots from the Ancient Castle sidequest.
The rest of the level is mostly a matter of timing your sleigh jumps correctly. When you see the first ladder, jump off of your sleigh and climb up it, otherwise you'll fall off of the edge of the level.
At the top of the first mountain is a large gap. To cross this, either double-jump (if you have the green powerup), or bounce off of the Snowbird that flies above it.
Shortly after the gap is a secret exit (which isn't really such a secret this time). This unlocks Santa's House, which contains the Green Key necessary for the Ancient Castle sidequest.
At the top of the second mountain is a sleigh. Jump into it immediately, because a snow boulder will fall shortly after you reach this area.
As you're riding on the sleigh, you'll see a path of coins leading upward. If you jump in time to follow that path, you'll find a helmet for the Bootworm Racing sidequest.
You can unlock this in level 2-2.
Just a Green Key, nothing more to see here.
This is a much larger level than any of the previous levels, with multiple paths to take and several secrets to unlock.
The first visible secret is a sword which you can give to your pet Bootworm in the Bootworm Racing sidequest. To reach that, go left after climbing the first ladder, and go down the stairs.
Additionally, if you go back up the stairs, there's a secret exit just past the stairs. This unlocks the path to Bootworm Island, where the Bootworm Racing minigames take place.
The main exit is on the far-right side of the level, which leads to the Yeti boss.
Unlock this island by finding the secret exit in level 2-3: Ice Castle.
You'll get a trophy for watching the first cutscene, in which you receive a pet Bootworm.
Proceed to Bootworm Farm, and then to the first Bootworm Racing race ("B-1: Bootworm Beach"). To jump, press X. Just don't run out of morale (by jumping when stamina is low), otherwise your Bootworm will be slow for the rest of the race.
If you found any books along the way, you'll also be able to cast spells.
It's likely that you'll need to collect several items before your pet Bootworm is fast enough to win all of the races, but the first race or two are possible even without any items.
If you complete all of the races, your house will be stocked with a trophy that spawns infinite powerups.
For more information on Bootworm Island, see the Bootworm Racing guide.
This boss is much trickier than the World 1 boss.
Jump on him as he's walking left or right, but get out of the way when he stops, as he's about to jump upward.
When he lands, spikes will fall from the sky.
If you're having trouble, return to level 2-1 and pick up a fireball powerup.
Jump along the moving platforms to avoid falling into the water.
When you see the floating cave area, climb up it to find a banana for the Bootworm Racing sidequest.
Toward the end of the level, you'll need to bounce off of the jumping Clownfish in order to make it across the water safely. Beware the Bomberbirds and Bootworms in the grass just ahead.
This level introduces a new "hydration" mechanic, indicated by the drop of water in the UI. The pools of water replenish your hydration level.
If your character runs out of water, you'll start to lose health. Thus, it's important to run quickly through the level (remember to hold Square to dash!), running from pool to pool as quickly as you can.
After the third pool of water, there's a platform of sand bricks, with two Scorpuclaws walking across it. If you jump off of this platform and to the right, you'll find a set of armor in the air. Directly below that is a can of red paint. Both of these are used in the Bootworm Racing sidequest.
Here's a throwback to the classic "Mode 7" games released on the Super Nintendo in the 90s, like Super Mario Kart and F-Zero.
Hold X to accelerate, and press left or right to steer. Avoid the Scorpuclaws, and reach the exit to continue to the next level.
The "hydration" mechanic is back. Make sure you watch your water level, especially toward the end, where an Orbster blocks your way to slow you down.
Below the bridge is a long trail of coins; to pick them up, you'll have to walk through the spikes and take some damage, so make sure you're at full health before attempting this. Collect all of those coins, as well as the three coins in the water pool at the start of the level, to unlock a trophy. For the trophy, you don't need to collect all of these coins on your first playthrough of the level, but only the coins in your first playthrough will grant experience points, as usual.
At the end of the level, you can double-jump onto the ceiling to reveal a secret exit, which unlocks the Oasis.
Below that is the main exit, which leads to the Hideout.
Tip: Fight just the right amount of enemies to put your experience points at a point where you're almost going to level up. The upcoming, difficult Mummy boss battle has a Bomberbird in it; if you defeat that during the fight and level up, you'll replenish your health, making the fight a little easier.
This is a small area that contains an Orange Book you can give to your pet Bootworm.
Watch the cutscene, and continue onward to the Mummy boss.
This small area is unlocked when you complete the Hideout cutscene. Nothing to do here until you collect all three keys; you may have the red and green keys at this point, but the blue one remains in World 4.
This is a tough one.
Avoid the sword attacks and projectiles, as well as the bombs being dropped by the Bomberbird above. If you're playing on Remix Mode, there are two Bomberbirds instead of one.
You can avoid projectiles by hiding inside of the pyramid, for up to three seconds, by pressing Triangle.
If you're close to a level-up, you can defeat the Bomberbird to level up, thus replenishing your HP. This can make the fight much easier. If you haven't completed level 1-X: To The Top! yet, you can return to that level to put your experience points close to a level-up.
Otherwise, the recommended strategy is to take the Bomberbird out first, so you no longer have to worry about the bombs.
If you're having trouble with this fight, return to a previous level for a powerup. The double-jump powerup or the fireball powerup can both be useful here.
This level is full of giant Bootworms!
It's also full of coins, which can help you earn the "Treasure seeker" trophy ("Collect 500 coins").
After you return to the world map, you'll also notice a giant monster flying around the world map. He's optional, but grants a large amount of experience points (and a trophy) when defeated. Check out the Optional Boss section for more details.
What would a platformer be without a falling level?
Avoid the spikes as you descend through this cave. There are no enemies, but there are a few secrets.
The first secret is a speed powerup (the yellow one), located along the left edge of the screen after the second set of torches. As you'd expect, this powerup makes you run faster.
Directly below that is the Blue Key. If you already have the Red and Green keys from the previous levels, you can finally unlock the Ancient Castle level, which grants you a set of Winged Boots when you complete it.
Further along in the level is a secret exit. When you see an arrangement of coins in a circle, drop along the right edge of the screen to reach it. This unlcoks Vita Island, which contains the Farmtrepreneuer minigame. Beating that minigame unlocks a tunnel that leads from this part of the world map to your house, as well as a teleport ability to be used on the world map.
A little below that secret exit is the main exit, which leads to Bombloon's Hideout.
After a short cutscene, you can approach the Messenger and press Triangle to play the Farmtrepreneuer minigame.
This area contains a short cutscene that explains how the next level, a minigame level, is played.
In this level, you'll play as a Bombloon, guiding Alex through the level.
You can drop bombs by pressing X. Drop them on spikes before Alex reaches them, otherwise the level will restart.
You'll also need to clear boulders. It's a good idea to look ahead and clear spikes before you clear boulders.
Watch out for the spikes that fall from the sky. You'll need to time your boulder-clearing bombs to make sure Alex doesn't run into one of those. Hint: drop a bomb right as the ceiling spike reaches the middle of the screen.
There's also a Scorpuclaw slowly creeping up from behind, so you keep moving at a quick pace so he doesn't catch up to Alex.
This battle is a little easier than the Mummy battle from the last world - what a relief.
Avoid the spikes that fall from the ceiling, and avoid Slimey Joe's punches.
Once the battle is complete, you've unlocked the cannon that blasts you off to the second world map: the floating island called Emerald Shores.
This level is full of Orbsters of various speeds, and tight platforming sections. But if you've made it this far, there's nothing you can't handle.
If you're playing on Remix Mode, the buildings are much narrower, so you'll need to be even more precise with your jumps.
Beware the crowd of monsters at the end of the level, and get ready to take down the final boss.
This is it: the final boss.
He raises his arms to launch skulls: first from below, then from the left, then from the right. Attack him when he's not raising his arms.
After the first pattern of attack, he will transform into a giant, floating skull. You can't damage him when he's in this form, so just avoid his attacks and wait for him to return to his normal form.
Trivia: This boss is a reimagined version of the final boss from Super Orbulite World, a freeware game I released in 2009. Emerald Shores is something of a spiritual successor to that game.