Although Derek Yu is not as famous as Hideo Kojima or Shigeru Miyamoto, he is also a genius. Even though you are now most likely hearing about him for the first time. And this man is known for the only Spelunky game series , which he has been carefully developing since 2008 on F95zone.
A long time ago, Derek released Spelunky Classic as a free-to-play game that was included in many tops of free projects on PC. The developer based the formula on all the experience gained in cave exploration platformers: La-Mulana , Rick Dangerous and Spelunker . The result was an ingenious game about arcade speleology, in which people spent hundreds of hours and even more nerve cells.
A few years later, the commercial version of Spelunky HD was released , a remake of the classic version, where the author abandoned pixel art in favor of a more cartoonish, almost “Disney” style. This game is known as Spelunky , although in fact it is an HD remake of the classic version. It was named the Best Project of 2013 by PC Gamer and was a commercial success and gave Mr. Yu the opportunity to take his time on new projects. As you might guess, Derek’s next game was a sequel, which he started shortly after Spelunky HD .
Both parts of Spelunky are eight years apart , if we take the countdown from the release of the very first HD adaptation for the Xbox 360 . The sequel was really in no hurry, and for a quick glance, Spelunky 2 looks more like an add-on than a new game. Outwardly, it is a copy of the 2012 project, except that a little more details were put into the drawing of characters and locations. So the first reaction is natural: “This is what we have been waiting for for so many years ?!”
However, do not rush to get upset – even though it looks like Spelunky 1.5 or HD + , but behind the outdated and still pretty graphics, there is hardcore that can compete on equal terms with Super Meat Boy and Cuphead . Why did we remember these particular projects? Agree, it’s not with Dark Souls to compare one of the most brutal platformers of recent years, for which you cannot prepare. Moreover, from the point of view of gameplay, the game can be described as “platforming with a bunch of additional rules.”
Each time Spelunky 2 mixes up the details of the mazes and levels, sometimes making them close to impassable. Imagine Super Mario Bros 3 with randomly generated levels, for which the AI would try to make as many killing chasms and traps as possible, killing with one touch. This is a rough and rough description of what is going on in Derek Y’s game, and in the sequel, everything is much more hardcore than before! For example, the well-known portal IGN liked the highest difficulty so much that it awarded the game with a score of 10/10, despite the lack of significant innovations.
Just as Spelunky was once inspired by the first part of La-Mulana , for the sequel they took the idea from HuniePop 2– the protagonist of the game was Ana, the daughter of the “Cave Dude”, treasure hunter and caveman from the first part. In addition to Ana, there are old characters from the first part who are already old (Colin) or have children (Tunnel Girl). Almost all of them are playable heroes, which can be opened during trials or simply by finding their coffins in the labyrinths. There are a lot of minor improvements in general – new types of weapons, branched locations and biomes have appeared for research, as in Dead Cells , when the hero himself determines which biome he will go to next.
Also, the new game has become more dynamic. So, if in the first part the caver walked by default, and the run was turned on with a button, now it’s the other way around – Ana is reactively rushing through the levels, and she can only be slowed down with a separate action. And the feature with the foreground and background of the location deserves special attention, because now you can explore a 2D location from two sides, looking at the “opposite” side with your secrets.
New monsters start annoying from the very first seconds – geckos, moles, armored robots, each has its own way to ruin your life or at least take away the “heart” of your health. And although we did not compare the numbers, there is a persistent feeling that there is three times more content in Spelunky 2 than in the first part. At the same time, Derek Yu did not forget a single hero, not a single monster that you would have liked in the original. Plus, unlike the original game, the sequel has a plot: Ana’s parents-archaeologists go to conquer the moon, leaving their daughter alone. Parents disappear, daughter grows up and goes in search of them, finding herself in the labyrinths of a distant planet. Players have the opportunity to explore the moon alone or with friends online. The game supports up to four cavers in one session.
Spelunky 2 offers some minor but pleasant innovations. So, for example, riding monsters with their own unique skills appeared in the game. One can spit fire, difficult person test, the other double jump, and so on. There was a place for mini-quests along the way, for example, the first NPC asks to collect three fighting turkeys in the aviary in exchange for nice bonuses. It is much more pleasant to learn about them yourself, and most importantly, the secrets in the game are, if not hundreds, then definitely tens. Over the years, Mossmouth has not worked on improving graphics, but on adding interesting content, thanks to which the gameplay will be better perceived by a test-ready audience.