I played “Spelunky 2” this week, and it was a game that filled me with joy.
There are times in one’s life where you encounter something you deem incredible but are too afraid to join in, due to feeling like it’s too late to join now; that was what the first “Spelunky” game was to me: an incredible game with a wealth of depth to its mechanics, characters and world. I felt that by the time people stopped talking about “Spelunky,” I knew about as much as the people who played the game in terms of knowledge of how it functioned. Now, with the release of “Spelunky 2,” I feel comfortable experiencing the game first-hand instead of through others like I had done for so many years.
“Spelunky 2” is a rogue-like platformer with the goal of exploring new environments, finding secrets and reaching the end of each level, then each world, then the game. Each level is randomly generated, with environmental puzzles and enemies related to the world that you’re currently in. The beauty of “Spelunky 2” is in its mechanics. Throughout every world, they subvert your expectations to the limitations that you thought existed to a single mechanic with certain enemies that expand upon them. There are mechanics that are quite old but are now attached to new-and-improved ones. An example of this are new mounts in the game that a person can ride, giving a new level of depth to the previous mechanics of the series that allow for double jumps but no ledge grab. When certain mounts die, there are additional effects that can happen, with each mount also having a unique feature on top of the brand new mechanics of the mount, like teleportation, adding yet another layer of complex solutions to tasks previously thought to be impossible. The endgame boss of the first game is now a mid-boss nobody who, while keeping his original mechanics, changes so drastically throughout the fight that by the end, it feels like fighting something completely new.
The visuals of the game are drastically improved from their “Spelunky” counterparts as well. The deeper you get into the game, the crazier the worlds become. A world based on ancient Asian lore and myths, an iceworld with no bottom invaded by aliens, a castle for a supreme vampire and much more are simply the worlds of the game one can explore. Each world has its own unique music with variations depending on the kinds of events that can occur during a run. Each old asset has been made sharper and more modern while keeping to the game’s original art style. The different alternate characters that you can become have all either been changed due to age or altered to fit the new style. And there are many new characters, from the core four that you choose from the start, to the characters that you can unlock along the way. More has changed about each character too, from the color of their health, to how they look up, to the visuals of their ropes. While there are no mechanical differences between them all, they all have this air of uniqueness to them.
The best thing about “Spelunky 2,” however, is how easy it is to just pick up and play. There are very few distractions from the startup sequence to playing. It has become my game of choice to lay back and enjoy myself with when I have a couple minutes to spare. All the ways the game presents you with makes the experience of playing it either alone or with friends a near seamless experience. There are next to no loading screens, and there are options all over the game that allow you to start as soon as you fall over dead. This seamless experience is an upper hand to the countless games that waste your time once you die. To the many MOBAs, FPSs and even fighting games that I have played, they all have to waste your time telling you how well you did before you can start a new one. “Spelunky” understands that no one should be force fed a time-waster.
To those who may be hesitant to pick up this game, I tell you to get it and experience a wonderful world of both death and fantastic feats of skill of restarting a run after many minutes of a failed run and being excited to start again. These polarizing experiences all exist within the game known as “Spelunky 2.”
Edward Park is a third year student with a BsED writings track. EP909767@wcupa.edu