Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- #1. The Raven Keeper [God of War Ragnarok]
- #2. Angel & Demon [Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC]
- #3. Arceus, Finally [Pokémon Legends: Arceus]
- #4. The End [Sonic Frontiers]
- #5. Seraphic Ceratinia [Xenoblade Chronicles 3]
- #6. Douglas’s Suit [High On Life]
- #7. After Alterna [Splatoon 3]
- #8. The Maker [Tiny Tina’s Wonderland]
- #9. Chaos Elfilis [Kirby and the Forgotten Land]
- #10. Dragonlord Placidusax [Elden Ring]
Nothing compares to a good boss battle in video games. If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, you’ll need to put your (digital) life on the line and face off against a truly impressive boss. Boss battles aren’t going anywhere in 2022, with some of gaming’s most memorable moments tied to boss encounters — including the memeification of superbosses like Malenia — we had to dig deep and recall some of our favorite hidden battles of the year. The biggest games of the year prominently feature secret bosses, which gives us hope for the future. Boss battles are back and better than ever, and secrets are still an important part of our favorite games. Long story short: we love secrets, and we love bosses. Here are the best secret bosses of 2022.
Want more of the best secrets in 2022? Check out our favorite secret endings of 2022 right here.
The Best of 2021:
#1. The Raven Keeper [God of War Ragnarok]
God of War Ragnarok couldn’t include just one secret superboss. The sequel throws two extremely difficult end-game bosses at Kratos — Gna, Queen of the Valkyries and King Hrolf. In God of War (2018), there is a quest to defeat all of the Valkyries controlled by Odin, ending with a final battle against Sigrun. There is a similar quest in Ragnarok. Instead of Valkyries, you’ll do battle with insane undead berserker warriors. The leader of the berserkers, Hrolf, is the most difficult of them all. Each berserker has a unique moveset, and Hrolf uses all of them at the same time, switching weapons and fighting styles mid-battle.
Gna is brutally difficult, employing some of the abilities Sigrun used in the previous game, including that aggravating stomp attack. Gna is even more difficult than Sigrun, due to her use of bifrost dealing extensive damage if you don’t dodge her properly. She’s an impressive, powerful boss that can only be defeated in the post-game. But there’s one final secret boss we have to include on this list.
The Raven Keeper is the most secret boss in Ragnarok. To encounter this mystical old crone, you must destroy all green glowing ravens sent by Odin to spy on your adventure. By defeating them all, you’ll draw out the Raven Keeper in Nifleheim and fight her. She’s essentially a reskinned Revenant, but her fight is unique — she’ll summon a dragon to the arena mid-fight, forcing you to deal with it before you can finish off the Raven Keeper for good. This isn’t the hardest boss, but it is the hardest to reach.
#2. Angel & Demon [Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC]
This is the kind of secret boss we love. The Angel & Demon appear in the ‘Delicious Last Course‘ DLC for Cuphead, and they’re one of the most visually impressive and complex fights in the game. You’ll have to do battle with two enemies at the same time, and the bosses switch places every time you turn your character. That makes this overwhelming fight even more mind-bending as you try to keep track of how you move and how to avoid attacks. Unlocking the boss is also a ton of fun.
To fight the Angel & Demon, you need to buy a special item called the Broken Relic and solve a puzzle in the fourth island’s graveyard. Just check out the fight below. There’s only one phase to the fight, but it is a visually overwhelming phase as both the angel and demon unleash all their divine power against Cuphead.
#3. Arceus, Finally [Pokémon Legends: Arceus]
This is the most secret non-secret in any video game this year. The main story only pits you against Dialga or Palkia, and while hunting the true ending, you’ll face-off against Volo and his Giratina. These are all legendary Pokémon… but come on. The game is called Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Where’s Arceus? We can’t give up until we fight and catch the title Pokémon.
After completing the story, then completing the post-game story, you’ll be given one last task. To summon Arceus, you must complete the Hisui Pokedex. After catching every single Pokémon in the region, which is a huge pain in the butt, you’ll finally get your shot to fight and capture Arceus, which is its own unique Pokémon boss battle. Most of us probably didn’t have the patience to catch everything there is to catch in Pokémon Legends, making this one of the few Pokémon games where the title Pokémon is also the most secret to catch. Imagine in Pokémon Red was called Pokémon Mewtwo. That isn’t even fair. Mewtwo is way easier to catch than Arceus.
#4. The End [Sonic Frontiers]
Technically this is the true ending of Sonic Frontiers but we’re choosing to ignore that fact because this secret boss is so bizarre, how could we not talk about? Most players will probably play Sonic Frontiers on Normal Difficulty. That’s standard for every single video game on this planet. But if you’re playing on Normal you’re missing out. “The End“, a unique final boss, is only available to players that complete the story on Hard Difficulty. This is an extremely weird detail for a Sonic game, but maybe there’s a good reason for this. Instead of being a Sonic Frontiers boss, you’ll have to battle a bullet-hell shooter.
Switching to a top-down POV, Sonic must dodge waves of pellets while swapping between dark and light — exactly like Ikaruga. Also, you’re fighting a giant moon like the ending of Dead Space 3. Why is Sonic shooting an evil moon in a completely different gameplay style? You’ll have to ask developer Sonic Team. We can only report the facts here. And this is one of the most secret and most weird missable bosses of 2022.
#5. Seraphic Ceratinia [Xenoblade Chronicles 3]
The biggest boss of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 requires hundreds of hours of gameplay to reach — you’ll have to reach at least Level 120 and defeat four other superboss monsters before you can encounter this special monster. Just for the record, you only need to be Level 75 to complete the story. The last of the “superbosses” is especially notable because it has its own intro cutscene and unique boss music. Those honors are usually reserved for storyline bosses. Essentially, that makes this the last true enemy of the story. If you can defeat the Seraphic Certainia, you’ve done everything worth doing in XC3.
What else makes this thing special? Well, it’s an extremely large monster with rainbow-colored scales. It uses repurposed attacks from various other monsters, belonging to no single monster family, and can be re-fought multiple times. All the way up to Level 200. Really, this is a pretty standard JRPG superboss. It exists only to be especially difficult but doesn’t stand out in any other way. Good thing Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is so much fun. We had to track this thing down and destroy it.
#6. Douglas’s Suit [High On Life]
The creators of High On Life claim players will be discovering secrets for months. That’s a bold claim, but after finding these two secret “bosses”, they might be onto something. High On Life is a deeply stupid FPS, where you play as an intergalactic bounty hunter tracking down targets. This is a game built around boss fights, so it shouldn’t be surprising there are some secret encounters to find.
The first of these is 5-Torg. Early in the story, you’ll travel to the slums to defeat the evil ant crime boss 9-Torg. As you blast through the alien gang, you’ll learn that 9-Torg has multiple clones, and they’re all constantly battling each other for supremacy of the slums. In their lair, you’ll find 9-Torg about to execute the relatively more benign 5-Torg, who’s tied to the ceiling. Defeat 9-Torg, and you’ll get 5-Torg’s thanks. She won’t get down from the ropes, but she will promise to be your best friend. Most normal players will walk away. But you can initiate a secret boss fight against 5-Torg by shooting her right then and there.
Shooting 5-Torg causes a health bar to appear. Your buddy Kenny will even talk about the “secret” boss you’ve just unlocked. Not that there’s any actual battle. 5-Torg is still tied up. Later in the game, you can encounter another weird twist on the formula — in the cartel-controlled Dreg Town, you’ll encounter an octopus called Douglas. This blue alien pretends to be your friend. If you use Gus to blast Douglas before his boss fight, you’ll fight a very dead Douglas being controlled by his own suit. These fights are hardly fights, but they’re extremely weird. I have to stick them somewhere on the list.
#7. After Alterna [Splatoon 3]
We’re not really sure this counts for a secret boss battle — but it is one of the most difficult secret fights we experienced in 2022. Not even Malenia compares to this final series of battles in Splatoon 3. After finishing the story and completing every stage, you’ll unlock the new “After Alterna” kettle in the singleplayer campaign area. This stage is a series of extremely difficult platforming challenges, leading to the real star of the show at the end of a very grueling level that can takes hours to complete — multiple arena fights against souped-up Octolings.
Octolings are the enemy equivalents to you. They can use all the same weapons, hide in ink, and they can unleash special abilities that can splatter you in an instant. Defeating the Octolings requires careful management of the arena. When you’re not splatting Octolings, you’ll need to spread ink to avoid getting cut off. You have to play aggressively, but not too aggressively, all while dodging dozens of respawning Octolings that appear pre-prepared with fully charged killer special moves. You’ll never know when an Octoling is about to spawn directly behind you, killing you instantly. You’ll need to defeat multiple dozens of these things while the arena changes forms, becoming more open and providing less cover. The game provides you with more special ability bubbles — but these are beginner traps. Using them almost certainly leads to a quick death. You’re better off avoiding the specials and sticking to your trusty ink blaster.
#8. The Maker [Tiny Tina’s Wonderland]
For players looking to level up and get the best possible loot in Borderlands spin-off Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, you’ll have the Chaos Chamber — a randomly generated set of rooms you can repeat infinitely while changing modifiers, boosting the difficulty to get better and better stuff. There are also hidden raid bosses tucked away in the Chaos Chamber that require solving mysterious rune puzzles to activate. There are three raid bosses you can unlock by solving their specific puzzles on a run. Here’s a quick overview of that.
- Green Rune: Activate and jump on the mushroom to generate shrooms. Shoot the shrooms before they hit the ground.
- Yellow Rune: Activate and destroy the meteor rock that spawns. Don’t let the spinning spotlight see you!
- Blue Rune: Activate to spawn a pad of energy and a big blob of energy. Stand on the pad to activate a glowing white ball. Lure it to the big blob of energy, and shoot the glowing ball so it explodes close to the big blob.
All of these will activate a different secret raid boss at the end of your Chaos Chamber run — but that isn’t the secret here. There’s a fourth raid boss. By defeating all three raid bosses in a single run, you’ll encounter your true foe: Tiny Tina herself. The final secret boss is called The Maker, literally Tiny Tina, the dungeon master that’s been making up the entire story you’ve been experiencing so far. She appears in a spectral glowing form and summons up everything her twisted imagination can conjure. If you’ve ever wanted to fight the person writing your Dungeons & Dragons campaign, then this battle might be a little cathartic.
#9. Chaos Elfilis [Kirby and the Forgotten Land]
Kirby gets hardcore in the Forgotten Land. Bosses become much more involved than anything you’ve had to face before in the series — once you’re fighting a beefed-up King Dedede wielding two massive hammers and pulling off combos like a Dark Souls boss, you know we’ve stepped into another world of boss battles. And Chaos Elfilis is one of the most difficult and overwhelming fights in any Kirby game. Technically, this is the true final boss — the last and most powerful form of the alien being that made the Forgotten Land so devoid of life. Elfilis combines with Kirby’s most powerful (and obscure) rival Morpho Knight to become an even more powerful being. We can’t describe this fight. You’ll just have to watch it.
What makes this fight so mind-blowing is that we’re talking about a Kirby game! The friendly little pink puff battles evil gods all the time — but this battle is on another level of intensity. To reach it, you need to complete the main story, then complete the post-game story, then complete the hardest coliseum challenge that only unlocks once you’ve done everything else. At the end of a grueling series of battles, you’ll have to fight Chaos Elfilis. There’s even a totally unique second form to the fight, where Chaos Elfilis transforms into surreal geometric shapes. You’ve got to be really dedicated to reach this boss, and the experience is worth the effort.
#10. Dragonlord Placidusax [Elden Ring]
Malenia is the most iconic boss of 2022. One of the most difficult bosses of any game, Malenia isn’t just a pain because she hits hard — she can heal herself even if you block her attacks, and some of her attacks are incredibly difficult to dodge. By her second form, she infects everything with rot. That’s like an extreme form of poison in Elden Ring. Reaching Malenia means unlocking a secret path to her dungeon — a totally optional area that’s packed with the hardest enemies in the game. Just reaching Malenia is hard enough, and this boss is so hard, one player got famous just for helping everyone else beat her.
But we’re not here to talk about Malenia. There’s an even more secret boss to find in Elden Ring. One of the strangest secret bosses in the entire series, Placidusax is an ancient dragon that’s one of the most visually impressive creations in the entire game. To reach Placidusax, the Tarnished must access the final major dungeon of the story — a crumbling city floating in a perpetual maelstrom. From the skies, you’ll need to drop down a series of precarious rocks until you find an old grave site. Laying down in the grave site transports you to another time where Placidusax the dragon is kept. Just watch the fight above. The psychos at FromSoftware are willing to hide something this beautiful in a spot almost no one will find.
And this isn’t even the only secret dragon boss fight. It’s just the coolest.
That’s it for some of the best secret bosses of 2022. What did we miss? We’re always interested in hearing about more secret fights — the weirder the better.