Spelunky 2 game review

Edgar Chairez, Reporter

If you’ve never played Spelunkyxe before, or if it’s been a while, here’s a refresher: the object of every game in the series is to progress from the top of a treasure-filled network of caves to the bottom. Like in Super Mario games, your side-scrolling, 2D hero has a lot of speed and momentum for running and hopping. Your default arsenal includes a whip, the ability to grab onto ledges, and a limited pool of explosive bombs and climbable ropes. All of these core systems still feel responsive as hell, and it’s crucial that the game feels so good to control, because you need to master its pixel-perfect leaps and dashes to survive its chaos.

Every Spelunky 2 level is procedurally generated by shuffling and remixing a massive selection of premade level parts. Every time you die, your progress rewinds to the top of the caves, at which point you’ll find the world beneath you has been newly remixed. By default, you can’t memorize an exact arrangement of monsters, traps, shopkeepers, items, treasure, and secrets, then you optimize your run accordingly. This fact combined with how the game’s dangerous elements can wipe an entire run in an instant forces players into Spelunky 2‘s brutal reality: get your act together, or perish.

I’m amazed by how many Spelunky 2 moments feel incredibly fresh without changing the good ideas found in the 2009 original.

Your default whip attack still has a clever amount of “behind your back” momentum. Bats still fly “directly” at your hero in obnoxiously curved lines, making them a surprising nuisance. The freeze ray is still a blast to use, especially when it lets you turn a dangerous foe into a useful block of climbable ice. Monkeys are still freaking jerks who exist entirely to rob and annoy you. AI-controlled “helpers” are still maniacs who do more harm than good. Stuff like that.

Instead of deleting or redefining tentpoles of the original Spelunky, the sequel exists largely as a reaction to the game’s decade of fandom. Die-hard fans have continued playing the original version all these years later, and Spelunky 2 offers fresher stuff specifically for the veteran audience, in ways that organically trickle down to anybody who might suck at the game.