Stardew Valley – Junimo Kart Progress Mode Guide (Update 1.4)

With the 1.4 update Junimo Kart got a major update and is now “ACTUALLY FUN” lets see if this is true and see if this game has some secrets that aren’t even touched on on the Wiki! This covers all the new and old levels, the mechanics and subtleties as well as as much actual help as possible.

1.4 Junimo Kart Progress Mode Guide

Note: Credit goes to RealCynder

Where is it and how do I play it?

I’m honestly surprised you even knew enough to find this guide if you didn’t know about this game already. Junimo Kart is located on the right side of the Stardrop Saloon, right beside the Prairie King arcade system. Unfortunately it starts LOCKED for some unknown reason, and you will have to get all the way to floor 120 of the mines and acquire the Skull Key before you can even start playing. Great. I guess come back after about ~5 hours of gameplay, maybe more. Or just check your inventory which probably already has the skull key and stop reading this, skip on down to whatever stage is giving you trouble and get on with your life.

Crumble Caverns

Or, holy hell this is harder than I expected!

Yeah, by this point you’ve (probably) beaten journey of the Prairie King and while that game is difficult, it’s relatively beatable. Junimo kart has a LOT of randomness, and never really slows down. But that said with the right tactics and skill it’s just as beatable. (Minus getting boned by an unbeatable stage, which happens OCCASIONALLY.)

The first level is sedate in comparison to the others, so this is where you’ll learn the basics, first and foremost, the core mechanic here is jump height.

  • Hold the jump button down longer (clicking or spacebar by default, I recommend spacebar) and you jump higher. It comes in approximately four modes, a tiny hop from just a tap, a small, a medium, and the max height jump. I believe this is one change from the previous edition of Junimo Kart, it’s a lot easier to be relatively consistent with your jump height.
  • Checkpoints are now visible as little lanterns that light up when activated, it is only necessary to pass the checkpoint, not to touch it. This even means you can claim one while on your way to death (which happens frequently on some levels.)
  • Checkpoints are not consistent AT ALL and you can frequently go halfway through some levels without seeing one, throwing you back to the start if you die. Do not rely on them or you will never beat Junimo Kart.
  • Little Barricades are seen on most levels, these kill you if you hit them while NOT airborne, even the tiniest hop will send you through one safely, though the bounce you receive will often toss you into a pit, it is often unavoidable to break them as you need to make a..
  • CRITICAL JUMP, the procedural generation has a fancy for not-so-infrequently making jumps that require a max height jump from the furthest possible spot on the track you’re on, and a fancy for putting Barricades right on that critical tile. Learning to spot these jumps and land them is essential, but it’s just as essential to know what ISN’T a critical jump. As if it’s not critical, you can max height jump from the tile before the end, making landing much easier.
  • Coyote time is NOT a mechanic here, if you don’t know what that is, some platformers let you jump for a fraction of a second after leaving the edge of the track, but here as soon as you START FALLING you’re boned.
  • You can however jump immediately upon landing, emphasized by a distinctive ‘Tink’ of the Kart against the tracks. To win you will need to master jumping immediately or close to it.

Actual ‘Crumble Cavern’ mechanics.

There is really only one ‘gimmick’ that the first level has, even though other levels have this mechanic. BOULDERS fall from the ceiling, or rather somewhere far above where you can see. Like a lot of mechanics, the cycle they fall on depends a lot on your starting point, if you die to one, you will often face a boulder in a completely different position when you get back to where you died. Otherwise they’re pretty easy, don’t get crushed. Big whoop. Most often though you’ll die because of crashing into a boulder that has just collided with the track, so make sure to do a little hop even over a boulder that seems like it should be below the track.

  • Notably advanced players may try and bounce on them, if you hold jump just before impact, the game will behave like you had ‘jumped’ on the rock, giving you whatever height you like if you release the jump. If you don’t hold jump, you’ll do the tiniest hop, often several in a row, which can be dangerous depending on your positioning.


If you manage to get every gold coin and fruit, and not die on this first level, you’ll be sent to a ‘bonus stage’ this level is mostly un-noteable, though it does replace the next level for better or worse, and is easy overall if you have trouble with Slippery Slopes. Honestly getting to this level at all is harder than most stages when it comes right down to it.

Slippery Slopes

Or, Speed is NOT key!

Ho-ray, if you made it past the first stage, this one will not be too much harder. It adds a single new mechanic just for this stage. All downward slopes are now ice, and accelerate your little helpless kart to a speed just below WAY TOO FAST in a matter of seconds. You are -supposed- to do little taps that land you on the single-tile upward slopes and hope and pray you make it to the other side. Unless you’re a speedrunner this is suboptimal for a number of reasons.

Dealing with Slippery Slopes

  • There are two easy ways to subvert the slopes. First and easiest is to slow down. This is SURPRISINGLY easy. You lose all of your momentum in just over a tile of rolling on non-slippery ground, an upward slope doesn’t help or hurt. Which means if there is some space to slow down, just jump THERE and not while you’re sliding down at mach 10. Easy peasy.
  • The second way is to jump just as you land on the ice (I told you this was an important skill) you can do this in nearly any situation, though it is difficult at times to land on the downward slope, it IS possible.
  • The main reason you want to do this is to acquire fruit. They frequently spawn in places that are unreachable without taking a death, if you are moving too fast.

But why don’t I want to die?

I’m sure you’re asking. After all, you have THREE whole lives. maybe four! Well you don’t want to die because you want to stock up your lives on these easier levels. Because they keep getting harder. Now that you’ve gotten through the first two levels, let’s talk about lives.

Extra lives mechanics.

  • First, you get new lives during a stage by getting coins. Whenever you reach 100, a life is immediately added. Fruit also give you +10 coins each by the way.
  • Then, as the end of the stage IF, and ONLY IF, you have FEWER than three lives, your life total is returned to three.
  • Finally, if you got all three fruit, the cherry, orange, and then the grape. On the stage you just completed, you get one more life on top of however many you have already.
  • They stack, so if you go the first 3 stages without dying, you may have -several- lives going into the hardest stages.

The first branch, Wow!

Or, Where’d the Boss Go?

After Slippery slopes there are (if you look closely) three routes for your kart to go. Most often you’ll be sent direct to the Gem Sea Giant, a boss fight with bubbles and underwater nonsense.

Seemingly randomly you’ll be sent to Slomp’s Stomp, a sticky opposite to Slippery Slopes, where you try not to slow down and get crushed under a gelatinous rump. This is less frequent than being sent to the Gem Sea Giant.

OR, you can be cool and good at the game, if you don’t die in Slippery Slopes. You then skip all that nonsense and go straight to Ghastly Galleon (a level hidden under the pirate ship). Which would have been the fourth stage but is now the third!

Gem Sea Giant

Or, If you can’t hear the boss music yet, you’re not trying hard enough.

Thankfully you don’t need to kill a whale by grinding it under your minecart’s wheels. You just need to avoid the big guy’s bubblebeam attack. And not get killed because of the float-y mechanics in this stage.

  • How does water work? Your jumps are more ‘floaty’ in this level, you jump slightly higher (allowing you to reach some fruit which typically spawn high above you in this level. But mostly this will just throw you off as you fall much slower, forced to watch as you sail to your death helplessly. In other words, stay on the tracks if you can.
  • Alternatively, do the opposite. Your whale-friend fires bubbles that are lethal, but you can bounce upon them much like the boulders in Crumble Cavern. To re-iterate, holding the jump key as you land on TOP of a bubble (or boulder for that matter) will let you jump in mid-air. This can be pretty easily chained without even trying, allowing you to sail over large parts of the level. But when you do come down there’s a not-insignificant chance you’ll go straight into a pit.
  • Otherwise this level is mostly flat, with very few critical jumps, making it easyish to focus on dodging the bubbles.
  • Here is an important time to note your ‘Hit box’ is the -kart- not the Junimo inside it. The brightly-colored apple-boy is a red-herring (mostly).

Keeping your life count High

Unfortunately due to the randomness of the bubbles it’s not difficult to lose multiple lives on this stage, thus it becomes paramount to gather up fruit so you can atleast have one extra going into Ghastly Galleon (the next stage). Fruit here tend to spawn way up above the stage where they are unreachable unless you’re bouncing on bubbles very precisely, great! If you use a keen eye you may also spot checkpoints high above the stage as well, and it is not always a bad idea to take a dive here and death-warp up to a fruit.

Slomp’s Stomp

Or, ‘Boss Music Intensifies’

I mean, or not. Yeah, this level is likely going to be easier for the average player than Gem Sea Giant. But it does have -different- mechanics atleast. Doing a series of Max-height jumps will get you over almost all the sticky-slope jumps, just like is possible in the similar sections in Slippery Slopes.

  • Sticky slopes now replace all upward slopes, instantly cutting your speed in half, but as soon as you leave that tile or jump, you get all your speed back. Normally this would make it easy-peasy to time your jumps, but if you let maybe one or two hold you down as long as they’d like you’ll be crushed under Slomp’s giant ♥ next time he comes down.
  • Slomp himself does barely anything other than intimidate, and kill you if you slow down too much.
  • One reason to avoid this stage is the fact fruit frequently seem to spawn in unreachable locations high above you on sections of track reminiscent of Gem Sea Giant, if there’s some way to land on slomp and bounce on him I’ve not seen it, so this level may just rob you of an extra life.

That one tricky bit of track..

The track generation here and in other levels can have some predictable elements, for whatever reason you see a lot more here than elsewhere. You will not infrequently see track that splits just before a large jump, leading to some confusion over whether you should jump before the low point or fall, uncertain of if you will even connect with the track. This notable bit of track has one downward slope followed by two to three sections of flat ground, and you can always just let yourself fall down to it, until you reach Ghastly Galleon, at which point this section is always lethal (and sometimes impassable).

Ghastly Galleon

Or, Suddenly I am SO FAST.

As opposed to the sedate pace of the previous levels, the most immediate change is a massive (possibly double) increase in speed. You can certainly jump twice as far at the very least. This level almost lets you get used to it, then dunks your head in the sand and decides ‘no actually, you literally can’t win.’

  • Though you now have ‘all the fast’ all the procedural generation has been stretched to accommodate it, don’t expect that this level will be much easier on a different run. The pattern of ‘straight track, into medium jump across a section, into huge blind jump’ is this level’s only trick, and it gets put to work..
  • Oh yes, this level CAN have sections that are impossible. But they are much less common than you’d probably think after your first attempt.
  • Yeah this level has what I’d call ‘Super Critical’ jumps, where you need to jump while your rear wheel is the only thing left on the track. Just before you start to fall. And where you land with just your front-wheel barely touching. And it has these in abundance.
  • The only gimmick it has are Wisps, the floaty blue orbs that instant-kill you cannot be jumped on, and love to hang out at the critical end of critical jumps. Dying at all will clear the screen of them, but only just the ones you can see. If you get lucky though, they may not be a problem at all. Again, they want the Kart, not the Junimo. And often you can slip right under them.

Second branch, not same as the first!

This time I’d say there’s about a fifty-fifty shot at either of the two next levels. With perhaps a slight preference for Red Hot RollerCoaster, over Glowshroom Grotto. I have not found any other paths that skip these two atrocities of levels, so buckle up, kids.

Red Hot Rollercoaster

Or, People Die When They Are Killed.

To be perfectly honest, you’ll soon be -praying- for this level, despite it’s intimidation factor. It barely has any new mechanics. There aren’t any real flat track sections, and rocks fall (seen that before, geez.) and there’s lots of tinking as the kart goes up and down. But that’s about it.

  • First, see the track, not the curve in the track. It really doesn’t matter that the track is so jaggedy, jumping on an up or down slope doesn’t matter, and you do stick to the track so you aren’t airborne unless you jump manually.
  • The boulders are like death, if you’re gonna get hit by one, you’re gonna get hit. Only rarely can you really avoid them, and jumping off one is quite difficult as the sections they fall on are so short even the smallest jump will send you off the edge.
  • The jumping sections are long and arduous, but the random-generation plays a huge role here. Some times this stage is hard, but doable, sometimes there are no checkpoints. But it is always quite consistent if you get the rhythm down… as if there is a rhythm and not just a random series of small, medium, and max height jumps.

Glowshroom Grotto

Or, You’re Already Dead.

If you’re smart you probably just restart if you run into this one, if you’re not you try desperately to survive. Usually it’s -technically- beatable, but you’ll end with so few lives that the final level is next to impossible. Unlike all the other levels it doesn’t add one or two new mechanics, but like three or four. And they all kinda suck.

  • Firstly, the thing that will most screw you over is the often complete lack of checkpoints. I’ve seen it generate with one. ONE checkpoint. Often not even in the middle of the stage. And that’s on a stage that already hates you.
  • The mushroom platforms also do not alert you to your landing with that distinctive ‘klink’ sound, making timing your jumps more difficult.
  • Most likely to kill you first are the red mushrooms, both they and the poison clouds they fire upwards are lethal, and cannot be bounced on like other obstacles. The poison clouds in particular seem to have a MASSIVE hitbox, or possibly they kill you if you touch them with the junimo, not the kart like most obstacles up until this point. Not to even mention that the pattern will undoubtedly change every time you die. There is no learning the pattern, you must react to survive. Generally this is almost impassible when they spawn in pairs.
  • More subtle but almost as lethal are blue mushrooms, these are platforms that move if you ride them, and oftentimes you MUST move them to survive. Your first instinct will be to jump immediately and avoid the mechanic entirely, but atleast once in every seed you will need to move the second mushroom by sitting on the first for long enough. To make things worse, the second mushroom and platform that follows it are offscreen most of the time, requiring you you GUESS whether to move the second platform or not.
  • Finally purple mushrooms bounce you, forcing a small jump, but a larger jump can be gained by holding the jump button, which is sometimes but not always a requirement.

If this level sounds difficult, try playing it. Oftentimes I’ll get several runs murdered by this level, only to beat the entire game next time I’m blessed with Red Hot Rollercoaster. Coinflips are suck. But I have no doubt a skilled player could beat this one consistently. If you are such a skilled player -I- would love some advice! As would I suspect, other people.

Final Level, Sunset Speedway

Or, Pothole City.

This level is honestly a very nice distillation of mechanics, as there are none. No gimmicks, atleast not like other levels. No falling objects. No Boss battle. No mushrooms. Just one CATASTROPHICALLY messed up track. Like.. it’s hard to at first even glean any pattern.

To beat this level strategy is required, I’d recommend to disregard all coins and fruits. You -might- get one life from the effort, you will certainly lose more than that in the attempt though.

Instead, pretend there are EVEN FEWER platforms, use medium and max height jumps like you would on either previous level (Red Hot Rollercoaster, for example) to jump between platforms at more substantial distances, you will skip many coins and sections of track this way. But I have found this to be much more reliable than attempting to only take the minimum jumps that the level would otherwise require.

For example staircase sections are fairly common, but hard to execute reliably, instead jumping up to the middle and then the top is generally more successful.

Other than that, merely try to stay near the top of the stage, and pull out your best skills at the basic mechanics, the checkpoints are unreliable, but only to a certain extent. The only semi-lethal trap the generation can give you is a checkpoint with a pit right infront of it, killing you if you don’t jump instantly after respawning.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2737 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for this. Been trying to beat it for the last month. I thought I’d never get past the first level but I’ve made it to red hot/glowshroom once or twice and couldn’t get any further, at least now I know what to look out for and that it’s not just me who finds it hard.

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