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Recommended
9.1 hrs last two weeks / 150.5 hrs on record (77.6 hrs at review time)
Posted: Nov 13, 2020 @ 6:10am
Updated: Nov 13, 2020 @ 6:11am

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Spelunky 2 carries with it much the same spirit of its prequel, being a 2D platformer with roguelike elements. In comparison, it comes with a more expansive world and more secrets. The baseline difficult exploring platforming remains. There are perhaps a bit more predictable spawning of certain items/creatures on certain levels with the way the game is set up, but there's enough variety and sudden death opportunities to always keep the players on their toes. Once again, expect to get frustrated from all kinds of different mechanisms, just so that you can start over again with more knowledge about the game.

At baseline, it's a 2D side-scrolling platformer where your goal is to progress from level to level --entrance to exit, and deal with the enemies along the way. You will explore different biomes and deal with a variety of enemies, each with predictable patterns of movement and reaction to you. You will run, jump, whip or throw climbing ropes or bombs, both limited in supply. You will come across money that you can use at shops for additional gear, or you can steal or kill shopkeepers for them if you truly want to not play by the rules. At the end of the day, you will die many times trying to make it to the end, and occasionally you might just succeed.

The game is hard, because of the way it's set up. While you can unlock some shortcuts through playing and fulfilling certain requirements, many players will start from the beginning and work their way through each time. Every time you turn the corner, you could face an unexpected event that completely destroys your run, and you will have to start over. Even using shortcuts you will face certain variety in level generation to make the individual levels feel different.

There are also more ways to die in this second Spelunky game because of a lot more aggressive enemies, more traps, more potential explosions, etc. Derek Yu heard all of our complaints about how long it took to spawn the ghost and how slow its movements were. Instead, now the ghost (plus other enemies) are on steroids, coming after your very life.

There are more bosses in this game as well, that's probably why the game sometimes feels a bit more predictable. This doesn't make it more easy, you can just be sure to expect certain things to always show up in specific locations. I remember playing through the first game and always thinking that it was odd to only have one boss, unless you took the string of secrets through various pathways in order to get to Hell. Of course there are still secrets and pathways to string together in Spelunky 2, but there are a lot more branching pathways to make life interesting.

Anyway, I have one win under my belt so far, after 77+ hours, and who knows when I will get my next. I have done almost all of the exploring on my own, because that discovery and trying to piece things together has been incredibly fun. Having played the first game a lot, I was definitely keeping an eye out trying to discover any potential secrets. I found some, but not enough.

The biggest draw for a lot of people to this game was the promise of online multiplayer. This is not yet available, but we are all hopeful that it will be soon. In the meantime, there's been a lot of tweaks here and there, so it's been interesting to see the game get some major and minor changes during its infancy based on player critique.

What stood out for me about Spelunky was its platforming, with such responsive controls, predictable movements, and precise actions, everything felt so right. With Spelunky 2, that feel has remained the same. There have been other tweaks to the smaller details that people will noticed between the two but they both work well and are responsive in their own ways. Once you get used to the control scheme and become comfortable with expected movements and outcomes, you will find that everything feels to be more or less within your control--a small percentage of the time. That feeling is good and brings me back to these games for repetitive playing, even though I know I will likely fail.

Gameplay
2D platforming with roguelike elements.

Controls
Very responsive, some people prefer keyboard, others prefer controller. You definitely want to experiment with both to see which one works better for yourself. I personally use a controller.

Graphics
More child-friendly artwork compared to the first, deceptively so. I do not think this game is easier, in fact, I think it's more difficult. Animations are really awesome.

Music & Sounds
Music is quite good, though not quite as magical as the OST from the first game. Sound effects are mostly okay. (I personally think that there was one major change in one important hidden-pathway sound effect that got almost muted and hinders my own game a bit.)

Audience
For those who want a hardcore 2D platforming experience and every run being different. For those who don't mind dying repeatedly in order to learn the game's mechanics in order to have a better chance at further progression.

Pricing
Absolutely worth the price.

Conclusion
Spelunky 2 made a lot of people wait, and it was worth it. It's such an enjoyable experience, and Derek Yu delivered on the promise of a game that can be fun and refreshing for new players and returning veterans alike. No matter who you are, get ready for an exemplary and hardcore platforming experience. It will be frustrating at times, but you will ultimately learn the mechanics of the game through repeated deaths so that you will give yourself the best shot at winning against the odds.

Absolutely recommended for the single-player experience alone. I cannot wait for online multiplayer to be implemented, to be able to play with friends.
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15 Comments
YQMaoski Nov 20, 2020 @ 4:16pm 
Thank you very much! It was very much worth the hard work. I agree it's definitely not a game for everyone. It tries to appeal to a general audience, but its ability to incite anger and frustration will cause a lot of people to rage quit. And thanks for reading!
ready2b Nov 19, 2020 @ 9:05am 
Congrats on your win! Admittedly, I never had the patience git gud at Spelunky 1. Since 2 is even more challenging, I think I will give this a pass. Thanks for the review!
YQMaoski Nov 16, 2020 @ 6:40am 
You are welcome. :-)
Amirite Nov 16, 2020 @ 6:35am 
Sounds about done right, thanks for the info
YQMaoski Nov 16, 2020 @ 6:33am 
They have been steadily Tweaking the Olmec fight because of people deploying lazy and waiting methods. To be honest, there's quite a lot of action in the boss fights, and some of the plain enemies are more aggressive as well. Nothing is too hard, but any mistake could kill you is kind of how Spelunky usually plays out.
Amirite Nov 15, 2020 @ 11:35pm 
Thanks for the review. How well the bosses are designed? While I don't mind omitting the element of surprise from when bosses appear, I can't stand lazy and lousy boss fights.
YQMaoski Nov 14, 2020 @ 9:58am 
The game is not that long, just takes a long time to keep working through the deaths to reach the ending, at least for me anyway. The speedrun achievement is to finish a run in under 10 minutes, so you can take that as a frame of reference.
AviaRa Nov 14, 2020 @ 12:09am 
I haven't played the original Spelunky, but I know pretty well how long they waited for a sequel. Seems like it was worth the way.

I didn't expect the game to be THAT long, to be honest. Not that it's a bad thing, I just thought it's way shorter, not sure why.

Anyway, thanks for the review!
YQMaoski Nov 13, 2020 @ 12:44pm 
Thanks for reading everyone!

@cacrobia, it's one you buckle down and learn the game slowly over repetition and you become better over time. It can be frustrating for sure.

@aquatorrent, lol, I try my best to avoid the ghost here, so if it becomes even more juiced, I would be in deep trouble.


@delenn13, that's perfectly fine as well. :-) You should play the first one for sure.

@philipgreenwood64, my winning run: 53 minutes, my average run length: 3 minutes. So I died a lot before coming around to slowly approach victory.

@Two Clicks, absolutely, I hope you get to spend some time with the first.

@Gamenaut and DontBeSilly, the review had to wait until after my first victory, thus the delay. There are actually quite a few music tracks, I just think the first game's OST was better. Even without the music, the sound effects are important part of the game though!
Dont be silly Wrap your willy Nov 13, 2020 @ 11:16am 
I was wondering when is this review coming lol :TheMarquisPocketWatch: thank you for the good read
:VampyrMission: