Review: Spelunky 2 (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Spelunky 2
Format: PSN (329.12 MB)
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Publisher: Mossmouth
Developer: BlitWorks
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16

About seven years ago Spelunky appeared on the PlayStation 3 and Vita and was one of my first reviews. I recently started playing it again on the Vita and PS4. It was so much fun. Now the sequel is here; could it be better?

Gameplay:
Spelunky 2 is hilarious and addictive; the wife and I can’t stop playing it. We play every chance we get though we aren’t any good at it mind you. Although, saying that we both think it’s gotten a little tougher. The enemies appear more frequently, and some of the new ones are tough and fast like the evil Moles!

Those small subterranean mammals love burrowing through the dirt only to pop out close to the unsuspecting adventurer and charge into them. They are a pain, but we’ve learned to keep an eye out for the shifting dirt which signals their presence. The Cavemen make a return from the first game, but now can be seen chilling out or carrying anything they can find. They still get mad and try to attack anyone who looks different from themselves. The wife and I love how much personality these bumbling fools have and crack up every time they make a noise and start running.

I won’t spoil any of the other enemies, as seeing them for the first time is half the fun, as is discovering the other creatures that inhabit the levels. I will say, not everything attacks. There are definitely more than just short-fused shopkeepers this time. You can still open shortcuts and find new characters to play as, but gone are the hapless damsels in distress. Fear not, the dog is still there and is now joined by two other animals, all of which are more generous with the health-giving kisses, as every player now gets one.

The money is shared and everyone can use it to buy things in the shop without the need to gift wrap. Players of the first game will understand what I mean by that and welcome this change. Another difference is the player’s ghost who can no longer set off traps, but can do more instead. I’ll let you figure out what. Most of the joy to this game is the discovery and so I won’t tell you anything more on that front.

The playable characters are only different cosmetically and still have a trusty whip. They can still throw and carry objects or other players. In fact, all of the basic gameplay elements from the first game remain intact, which is nice.

The movement default is set to run, which was a little strange at first, but we soon got used to it. You can change it in the Controls menu, along with reassigning every other button. There is also the option to control movement with the right stick, which is nice for some players. Fear not, this isn’t one configuration for all, as each player can have their own setup.

Visuals:
Staying on the topic of menus, the Text Box size and duration can be adjusted, along with the size and visibility of the HUD. Spelunky 2 looks very similar to the first game, but everything has been given some attention and loving care. There is more detail to pretty much everything and now there’s also fluid dynamics, but again, I’ll let you find out more on that one.

I have only seen a few levels so far and they all have their own distinct style and inhabitants. There are now passageways leading to another layer of the level; some might contain an easier route to the exit or just a campfire, which is more useful than I expected.

I have captured many images for this review but decided to only show the first area as I don’t want to spoil anything for you. It’s so annoying because there are some brilliant moments that will sadly remain in my folder.

Audio:
My family adores the cavemen in Spelunky 2. They sound so funny, so much so that we mimic them at random points in the day which sets the rest of us off too. We need to get out more. The music and the rest of the sound effects are excellent too.

Online/Multiplayer:
Spelunky 2 is great in local co-op and it’s easily my preferred choice. There is an online co-op mode but sadly my wife cannot join in as there is no way of having a mix of local and online. I would say that’s my only real quibble with the game. Aside from that, it works exceptionally well and I had a blast playing with random people. There is an option to invite friends, but none of my buddies own the game yet.

I had a quick go in the Arena mode, playing against some bots. I opted for the “Hold the Idol” game and teams of two. It was mayhem, I couldn’t tell where I was, and, before I knew it, I had been killed. The second round was a bit better, until I accidentally set off a large explosion that killed all but one. I didn’t enjoy it, but could see it working better with actual people who aren’t so crazy.

Conclusion:
Spelunky 2 is close to being perfect and I struggled to find a fault. This is all of what I love about the first game with lashings of extras and more depth and humor throughout. I was a little disappointed the ghosts cannot set off the traps, but after some consideration, it would make it too easy. That isn’t to say the ghosts are useless, far from it. In fact, I’ve even told the wife to not resurrect me as I was doing more help in the treacherous level as a spirit.

This roguelike platformer is exceptional and I urge you to give it a go. Regardless of your predilection of the genre, this deserves a place in your collection. Looking at the leaderboards tells me we aren’t the best at this game but it doesn’t matter. We are slowly progressing, occasionally getting that little bit further, understanding the lore, and discovering the secrets to this tricky game is what makes it so special.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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