Horizon Forbidden West is defined by its enemies. The world-building is fantastic, Aloy is a strong lead character, and the combat is top-notch. But when you think of the franchise, you tend to think about its big ol’ robots. And while it’s thrilling to dismantle a Shellsnapper piece by piece in furious melee combat, it’s an absolute god-tier moment to use Aloy’s override ability to reprogram one and have it fight alongside you.

It’s not as easy as it sounds though. First, you have to learn a machine’s override by getting through a Cauldron. Essentially the dungeons of HFW, there are six Cauldrons to find in the main game, plus one more in the Burning Shores DLC. Here’s a breakdown of all the Cauldron locations and rewards, as well as the suggested level, so you can take advantage of HFW’s most unique tactic.

Horizon Forbidden West Cauldron Location: TAU

This can’t-miss-Cauldron is part of the main questline.

Unless you’re playing way off the beaten path, this will be the first Cauldron you encounter since it’s an early part of the campaign. This also makes it the easiest to find since it’ll be flagged for you. Zo will lead you there (she’ll call it a “Sacred Cave”) and once you parkour your way through it you’ll have to face a nasty Grimhorn.

Give it a scan and its weak points should come into focus. Blast off its horns to disable one of its fire attacks, and detonate the Blaze Sacs on its back to eliminate another (and cause huge damage from the blast). It also has detachable Cluster Launchers on its hips you can use as a heavy weapon, too.

Completion Rewards

  • 7,500 XP
  • 2 Skill Points

Machine Overrides Unlocked

  • Bristleback
  • Plowhorn (Partial)
  • Grimhorn (Partial)

Horizon Forbidden West Cauldron Location: MU

A pair of Widemaws awaits you at the end of this cauldron.

Once you find your way to Plainsong, this Cauldron should be a top priority. Cauldron MU is located south of Plainsong and west/southwest of Stone’s Echo. There’s a campfire just south of the entrance too, in case you find it but need to beef up your stats (the recommended level is 18).

There’s a Shellstalker in this Cauldron, although you can stealth past it if you want. The final boss is a pair of Widemaws, hippo-esque brutes with a few key weak points. Take aim at the Vacuum Turbines first to disable the devastating projectile attack, then focus on knocking out the tusks.

Completion Rewards

  • 8,000 XP
  • 3 Skill Points

Machine Overrides Unlocked

  • Burrower
  • Scrounger
  • Grazer
  • Scrapper (Partial)
  • Fanghorn (Partial)
  • Widemaw (Partial)

Horizon Forbidden West Cauldron Location: IOTA

You’ll need to find an alternate entrance to get into this Cauldron. Head northwest.

If you head north (and slightly west) of Scalding Spear you’ll find a Tallneck in Salt Bite. North of that, you’ll find this Cauldron. Cauldron IOTA is not only very far from almost everything, but once you get there you’ll have to find a different entrance than the one located at the map marker. Head to the ravine in the northwest and look for Tracker Burrowers.

Once you defeat them, you will find a fallen tree near a cave entrance. Go inside to get to IOTA (recommended level 22). You’ll fight a Rollerback once you reach the end, but can counter its defenses by knocking off its Gravity Generator so it can’t reattach the armored plates you knock off during combat.

Completion Rewards

  • 10,000 XP
  • 3 Skill Points

Machine Overrides Unlocked

  • Leaplasher
  • Glinthawk
  • Lancehorn
  • Longleg
  • Clawstrider
  • Skydrifter (Partial)
  • Bellowback (Partial)
  • Ravager (Partial)
  • Snapmaw (Partial)
  • Rollerback (Partial)

Horizon Forbidden West Cauldron Location: GEMINI

You won’t have to find this one on your own, you fast travel inside it as part of the main questline.

This is another Cauldron that’s part of the Horizon Forbidden West story. Even if you find the location (west of the Shining Wastes Tallneck) you can’t go in. In fact, you won’t enter this Cauldron from the outside. Once you finish the Faro’s Tomb campaign quest (about ⅔ of the way through the game) you’ll unlock the GEMINI quest. You’ll speak to Gaia at The Base and get transported into this Cauldron during a cutscene.

You should be at least level 30 before attempting this one, but higher is better here since it has a lot of enemies compared to other Cauldrons. It culminates with a battle against a Slaughterspine. Focus on its antenna first, destroying it will prevent the Slaughterspine from calling in more robot reinforcements. After that, focus on the plasma weapons and try to expose the plasma core, it’s the weak spot.

Completion Rewards

  • 15,000 XP
  • 2 Skill Points

Machine Overrides Unlocked

  • Sunwing

Horizon Forbidden West Cauldron Location: CHI

A classic “secret behind the waterfall” entrance is the key to finding this Cauldron.

Cauldron: CHI is a bit of a trek southeast of Thornmarsh. If you come across the Raintrace West Rebel outpost you’re almost there, just head due south. Like IOTA, the entrance to CHI isn’t exactly where the map marker is and you’ll need to head north/northwest.

Look for a waterfall, and you’ll find the entrance behind it because video games. Make your way to the end of the Cauldron and a level 28 Slitherfang awaits (best to be level 30+ for this one but you do you). Target its Sonic Hood first to disable its strongest attack, then target the Data Nexus on the back of its head as much as you can – it’s the weak spot.

Completion Rewards

  • 12,500 XP
  • 3 Skill Points

Machine Overrides Unlocked

  • Frostclaw
  • Redeye Watcher
  • Shell-Walker
  • Clamberjaw
  • Behemoth
  • Stalker (Partial)
  • Shellsnapper (Partial)
  • Spikesnout (Partial)
  • Scorcher (Partial)
  • Fireclaw (Partial)

Horizon Forbidden West Cauldron Location: KAPPA

Don’t even attempt to look for this one until you’ve found Aloy’s Diving Mask.

This Cauldron is located in the northwest corner of the map. The easiest path is to go to Tide’s Reach and keep following the coastline north, but you can’t just waltz into KAPPA. You need to dive underwater to find the entrance, which means you need the Diving Mask. So don’t attempt this one until you’ve finished The Eye Of The Earth story quest, which will lead you to The Sea of Sands mission where you’ll get the Diving Mask. You should also be level 40 or higher because a nasty Tiderripper awaits you at the end of this Cauldron. Focus on tearing the Purgewater Cannons off it first, this disables its strongest attack. Then focus your attacks on its Heart, its main weak point.

Completion Rewards

  • 12,500 XP
  • Horizon Forbidden West Cauldron Location: CHI3 Skill Points

Machine Overrides Unlocked

  • Rockbreaker
  • Tideripper
  • Tremortusk
  • Stormbird
  • Thunderjaw (Partial)
  • Slitherfang (Partial)
  • Dreadwing (Partial)
  • Slaughterspine (Partial)

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores Cauldron Location: THETA

The Burning Shores only Cauldron is on the eastern edge of its map.

The lone Cauldron in the Burning Shores DLC, THETA is located east of Fleet’s End and north of Pangea Park. when you arrive at the main entrance you’ll discover it’s blocked (big surprise) so you’ll have to follow the lava flows to the northeast to locate a secret cave with the entrance to Cauldron THETA inside it. You should be level 38 or higher for this one. You have to tangle with a very tough Apex Bilegut to finish this one. It will launch Stingspawn at you midway through the battle, which you can either destroy or ignore (they perish when the Bilegut does). It’s weak to Purgewater and Plasma, and you should focus on destroying its Adhesive Sacs to disable a sticky attack that slows you down and leaves you vulnerable to a crushing jump attack. Keep plenty of tear arrows on hand to pick off its armor plating, too.

Completion Rewards

  • 12,500 XP
  • 3 Skill Points

Machine Overrides Unlocked

  • Bilegut

Each Cauldron has its own unique traversal challenges inside, so remember the key to finishing them is patience (or google). The rewards are worth it, once you start overriding enemies a lot of areas get much easier to explore. Happy hunting!

Horizon Forbidden West is out now for PS4 and PS5.

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