Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Spelunky 2 Review - An Abysmal Exploration In The Gaming Arena

Spelunky 2 Review

Yes, Spelunky 2 is finally here, and now not only you will be able to play it on PC, but on PS4 as well! I have to say that I've been waiting for it for such a long time. In fact, I've been waiting for that game since the first appearance back in 2018, mainly after the launch of a mini-trailer that showed almost nothing but except for the title of the game. But since then, the publisher and developer Mossmouth, in partnership with Blitwork, have distilled the information on this game and they just did it very sparingly. The game has been available since September 15 for PlayStation 4, and will soon be available on steam and all other media as well. Spelunky 2 is absolutely a must-have. A legitimate and perfectly mastered sequel to the best 2D platformer of all time.

As in the first Spelunky released, (that was back then in June 2012), the story is quite anecdotal, a pretext like in a Mario, where you can live an extraordinary fun adventure. So if we remember in the first version,  we play as spelunky, a young, impetuous explorer who will have to explore a mysterious cave to discover its secrets (and especially full of dough). But in this new sequel, now the player incarnates his daughter, in other words, it's the young spelunkette, who will follow her parents to the Moon. Embellished with lots of cute little artworks, this story ... well, I haven't yet discovered its outcome, because if you know the game world, you probably know it, but it is pretty hard and after my twenties 'hours of play, I haven't caught a glimpse of the last boss yet. Nop, not at all! And that's rather good news somehow! Why this is good news? Because I got close to 1,000 hours of playing time on the first Spelunky. With that, needless to say, that finishing the game is not a difficulty, and when I play it, I challenge myself (annoy the merchants, not buy any item ...), to make the game full-bodied and interesting and the Spelunky 2 made me relive my experience of the first one, with the same intensity.

Spelunky 2 Review gameplay snapshot

What is a sequel?

There are several types of sequels. There are those who copy and paste the previous title just by changing the scenery a little bit (such as Call of Duty, FIFA or the Mega Man at the time of the NES ...), But, there are also those who radically change direction as when switching to 3D like in Bubsy 3D or many other games. And sometimes, the sequels take up the basics of the first game and enrich it with more refined assets so it becomes it is sufficient to live a new experience without distorting its essence. This is of course delicate alchemy, because you must not fall into repetition, and not stray too far from the game basics. A good example of a successful sequel is Halo 2. It contains the same solid foundations, but with so many new features that we have the feeling of rediscovering the game. So after so many years of maturation, expectations were high for this second episode of Spelunky (my God, this wait was long! Eight damn years!). Because it must say that the video game and the indie scene, in particular, have evolved so much that it was necessary for this sequel to reach the level of excellence of the first one! Getting it right is at least as good as ending up spelunky for the first try. In short, Spelunky 2 lives up to all my expectations.

Spelunky 2 better than the first episode

So what's new?

Once the controller is in hand, you feel the same sensations as in the first Spelunky, the Lego-shaped environment is still present, the jumps and handling as precise as ever, the buttons remain unchanged, the goal of the game still the same. I'm not going to redo the entire inventory of what remains the same. But what's new you may ask me? Well, it is possible to do some horseback-riding somehow. In the levels or in the merchants, you will discover animals that roam happily. If you jump on them, you can succeed in taming them (be careful, they will struggle by moving randomly left and right and you will have to be careful of traps, enemies, and holes). Once docile, they will allow you to jump higher, use a power (the manticore breathes fire for example), and take certain traps or damage for you! One of the most practical possibilities is to burn the turkey mounts. They will then turn into roast turkeys and by tasting them, you will recover a precious point of life. The physics was also strengthened. Water and lava no longer disappear when you destroy the ground but spread, and you will see that it is very surprising! From now on, in addition to the merchants, you will be able to meet all kinds of NPCs with whom you will be able to interact. Some will be in fixed locations, like the turkey farmer in the first level who will ask you to bring back all his gallinaceae. But there are plenty of other NPCs hidden all over the place who will ask for your help, make you participate in games, give you items ...

Spelunky 2 new roguelike available for PS4 and PC

At the end of certain levels, you will have to choose your route, in fact, you will have several possible exits which will lead you to different levels. So it also means that Spelunky 2 offers you a wide and exponential exploration possibility! Plus, there's another very big novelty here available in each level, there are doors that lead to another hidden environment, which is basically another level superimposed on the main level. While climbing the latter in between those levels, you will find objects, treasures, and shortcuts. But there are also allies and merchants hiding there too... And these levels, plunged into darkness, will not be discovered so easily, because only a few entries will be accessible from the main world, the other entries will be hidden in the walls and floor. It is with deduction and a hand of luck that you will find the entrances to these secret passages ... and they still contain many surprises that no one has yet discovered except the developers themselves of course!

Because let's face it, Spelunky 2 makes you dizzy with so much to discover! Especially when we know the first one very well, when we know the incredible richness that is hidden behind a game that seems so simple, in this game when we see the number of endless possible paths, of hidden passages ... we barely catch a glimpse of the astronomical quantity with bizarre combinations which are so many steps to unlock a particular mystery. And that, only time and the community will be able to update it. I'm not going to dwell on a few banalities here, the environments are incredible in terms of wealth, sadism in their traps, ingenuity in the construction of each level, variety in the enemies, the new equipment (I love the booster d weapon: a pack on the back and your whip will make fire, your bombs will be bigger, you will shoot faster with the weapons and with less recoil !!)… everything is here a masterpiece, a work of watchmaking, goldsmith even… everything is coherent, everything is fluid, everything is intelligent ... But everything is difficult!

Spelunky 2 gameplay review

Given the novelty of the enemies, the traps, we find ourselves as in our first parts in the first Spelunky, struggling to overcome the world of mining, then discovering the new world in a few seconds after finishing the first environment and fall into a death trap as soon as it happens… and start all over again with little frustration but a lot of enthusiasm. We feel that Derek Yu designed the game to surprise aficionados of the first Spelunky game, I blame it for taking the number of choices taken that will shock (and make a lot of laughs) above all the regulars. Without saying too much, wait to meet Olmec! Along with his wish to increase the difficulty, the developers have had the intelligence, I will say the courtesy, to remove some absurd difficulties. For example, if a merchant is killed in some way by a monster, they are not going to blame you. And that damn it, it was painful in the first one. Another adjustment, merchants are still belligerent with thieves, but less quick. In fact, they are more easily anticipated, less random in their anger…. Okay, don't piss them off anyway, those old bastards are still tough. There are plenty of small changes that you will need to take into account, as you may die out of habit. For example, the insects that roam in the game will no longer trigger the traps, or if you are on a rope or a ladder when you shoot with your shotgun, the recoil will make you fall, the glove that allows you to climb the wall or the cape, have a smarter use ... lots of small, coherent changes that you will have to relearn to master the game. I'm not talking about everything, it would take too long, and above all, I didn't make all the trick, but just know that Spelunky 2 is a true abyssal exploration in the video game genius. Spelunky 2 makes you dizzy with so much to discover.

Spelunky 2 great graphics, sounds, and great gameplay

Graphics quality

Spelunky 2 is very close to the first episode, but even more detailed and more kawaii! For example, the gait of Cro-Magnon men when they are angry, with their little scowl, and their short little arms, which run over you, frowning and tripping over whatever lies in front of them ... They are just to eat! You only need to take a look at the screenshots to see the magnificent work that is done on the graphic charter to make everything at the same time readable, beautiful, never overloaded, teeming with fascinating details. For example (and I can tell you about 1000 details, but I'll let you discover them), when you play as the little robot when you look up to lift the scrolling and see what is above, it does not lift. not the chin like the others, there is a small antenna sticking out and his eyes turn into radar. Simple, fun, and brilliant! 

What about the music and other sound fx's?

Always in a meticulousness which commands respect, each sound has a role, each NPC, enemies or traps… have its own sound design always identifiable, never heavy, never too strong or too weak. It’s just a gem. The only tiny complaint I have to make here, is about the music that is just as nice as in the first episode of Spelunky, but less varied. In the first one, you had several songs available for each level, which made it possible, by starting over and over again, to always have a little extra variety ... But hey, if we are quibbling about that!

Spelunky 2 review conclusion

Conclusion

After eight years in the development of Spelunky 2, I have to say that this second, is worthy to buy. Yes! A thousand times! For anyone who has played and enjoyed Spelunky this is absolutely a must-have, and this game is simply and perfectly a mastered sequel to the best 2D platformer of all time. And for anyone who's never played the first one, well, there's no reason not to get into the Spelunky series.  If you are interested to learn more about this second episode of Spelunky, make sure you visit their official website so you could get all details.

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