If platformers are your thing, the Indie game scene is absolutely littered with unique platforming games that will keep you occupied for months on end, especially with 2d platformers. If you fancy a break from the norm of jumping on top of turtles and saving the local Princess but still wish to scratch that platforming itch, you are not short of options. What you might be short of is the answer to which game to choose from an ever growing list of platformers that each claim to deserve your attention for their own unique reasons. Spelunky 2 will give many reasons as to why it deserves the time and love of the devoted platforming fanbase when it drops next year.
Another platformer added to the massive roster of Indie games might be easy to overlook for gamers seeking a new thrill so understandably, a new 2d platformer will be a hard sell without its own unique hook. Super Mario Bros will always dominate the platforming scene, the evolution of the series over the years has kept it fresh attracting young gamers new to the scene while being able to maintain older gamers by dishing out its nostalgic themes. That hardly means that there is no room for other 2d platforming games wishing to make some kind of dent in the gaming industry, quite the opposite in fact. Many people get tired of playing Super Mario Bros games leaving them craving something a little different.
For those of you who have never heard of the game I urge you to look into Spelunky, the original game was released way back in 2009 as a freeware game for Windows before an enhanced version was released several years later for Windows, XBLA and PSN. If you fancy trying the game out without forking out your hard earned cash, you can still download the freeware version. It’s a great way to get to grips with what the game is all about and how the mechanics work before diving a little deeper into the enhanced version which boasts tuned up visuals and tighter controls. By the time you are done with the original, you will be eagerly awaiting the sequel which is due to release on Steam and PlayStation 4 in 2019, although no official release date has yet been announced.
Derek Yu and his development team at Mossmouth as well as publishers Blitworks were busy showing off Spelunky 2 recently in the PlayStation booth at PAX West. Although the booth wouldn’t have been as busy as other bigger games’ booths, what was clear was the buzz around it from the people trying out the game. Spelunky 2 differentiates itself from the original with its intricate graphical upgrade, the art style has been touched up making the game look like it runs a bit smoother as a result. The enemies have all been redrawn as well, I never thought I would ever hear myself say that a spider looks cute as they scare the hell out of me but Spelunky 2 makes them look cute! Spelunky players will also notice that there are new enemies in the game that offer more challenge like the armoured lizard enemies for example, that roll across the floor and take a few hits to kill.
As well as the new enemies on show, there are new friendly creatures on offer like the turkey that enables you to ride on him through the level. You will be able to take advantage of the speed in which the Turkey runs as well as its double jumping making traversing the levels more easy. You can also sacrifice the turkey by jumping off it mid-air in order to reach a platform that is just out of reach, sending the poor creature to its lava-filled doom below, Super Mario World style. We will all no doubt find ourselves in that situation whilst playing the game, its nothing personal turkey, it’s needs must. Expect to find many new items along the way in Spelunky 2 which will give you a helping hand in challenging parts of the levels. The new boots will help you jump further, sparing you the embarrassment of not making a jump across a lava pit or not quite managing to jump out the way of a trap.
The most notable changes about Spelunky 2 have to be the level designs, what seem like small tweaks actually make a big difference to the layout of levels and how you go about completing them. For example, there are now walls made out of bones which you can smash through with a crack of your whip. There are also unstable floors which can create a devastating end if you are not too careful, not to mention the amount of traps that undoubtable await throughout the game. One trap in particular consists of a suspended giant log that comes crashing down on you in you stand underneath it which seems as frustrating and yet rewarding as the traps in the original. I am very much looking forward to seeing the creativity of these traps during my first play through, I can’t express enough how satisfying it is setting off a trap on a few enemies!
Multiplayer will make a return in Spelunky 2, fans of the original will remember having fun in the co op mode as well as deathmatch with up to 4 players. Spelunky 2 will also offer online multiplayer which has me excited as long as there is little to no lag involved, which could quite easily kill the platforming experience. However you decide to play, you can guarantee that although pros of the game will in time find themselves attempting speed runs and finding every secret the levels have to offer. But there will certainly be numerous moments in the game that will make even the most core gamers stop and think about how they will overcome an obstacle. Spelunky 2 is the balance of frustration and creativity behind its aggressive enemies and overcoming traps and puzzles. It’s an adventure worth having for newcomers as well as a game that seasoned Spelunky gamers are clamouring for.
Spelunky 2, like the original gives gamers a sense of freedom allowing them to figure out their own ways of overcoming obstacles and enemies. It takes away the feeling of the game becoming too linear that many 2d side scrolling platformers have. I dare even non-platforming enthusiasts to at least give the original freeware version a go, because the feeling I am getting from the sequel to the award winning Spelunky is that it is going to be one of the best 2d platformers in recent times.
Make sure you keep an eye out for Spelunky 2 when it releases next year on Steam and PlayStation 4 and bear in mind that other platforms are currently being considered. It would be a safe bet to assume that Spelunky 2 will also be Released on Nintendo Switch at a later part of 2019. Until then, try the original freeware version and enjoy the Spelunky 2 trailer below.
Written by Sammy J on 8th September 2018