Just as in its predecessor, you’re going to die a lot in Spelunky 2. That’s kind of the point. Throughout your runs, you’ll be stabbed, beaten, burned, crushed, bludgeoned–a regular Vigo the Carpathian. In some playthroughs, you’ll make permanent progress, whether that’s adding a new listing to your journal or unlocking a permanent shortcut. But more importantly, you’ll constantly be learning, uncovering new ways in which the game’s many elements can interact, often–but not always!–to your detriment.
Every Spelunky 2 run starts the same, with nothing but your trusty whip at your side. But your expanded pool of knowledge grows with each run, and it’s knowing how enemies behave, levels can be laid out, and items function that will prove invaluable. Spelunky 2 is a ruthless game where a run that feels like it’s going great can end in the blink of an eye, all due to a minor bump into a minor enemy.
With all of this in mind, we’ve assembled some beginner’s tips and tricks that should prove helpful in your journey, particularly if you’re a newcomer or relative novice to the Spelunky series.
Don’t Attack Everything
If you can safely deal with an enemy, it’s wise to do so, lest they end up coming back to hurt you when you’re not expecting it. But Spelunky 2 doesn’t reward you with XP, items, or money for killing enemies, so there’s no reason to go out of your way to pick a fight that you can avoid. The path of least resistance can often be the wisest one, especially as you’re learning the game.
Always Hold Onto Objects
It’s exciting to get your hands on a special weapon or tool, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of the more mundane objects you come across. That includes arrows, vases (more on those later), rocks–hell, even a skull can be a lifesaver.
Almost everything you come across in Spelunky can be deadly, but the traps that fire a single arrow in a straight, horizontal line can be among the most frustrating. These arrows deal two damage and can send you flying to your death, so it’s essential to deal with them while staying out of harm’s way. You should always be on the lookout for these traps so that you can trigger them safely. A bomb or rope will do, but it’s best not to waste those since they tend to be in short supply.
Instead, you can rely on more mundane objects to set off traps by throwing them, whipping them, or dropping them into the path of the trap. Just be careful when using breakable objects, like vases and skulls, since you may only have one chance. Simply get near the ledge of the gap you’re looking to pass and hold Down and Square to drop the item you’re holding, which will toss it just in front of you.
Beyond setting off traps, these objects serve other uses, namely as weapons. Practice throwing objects to get a feel for how far they’ll fly, and you’ll end up with a supply of ranged weapons that can take out or at least stun dangerous enemies from afar. Stunned enemies can also double as objects for setting off traps, or you can toss them out of the way so they pose no danger to you.
Pick Up And Throw Vases
As noted above, vases are among the objects you can use to set off traps, but there’s an added layer to why you should always throw them rather than break them open with your whip. Vases can contain enemies, and breaking one open right in front of you can lead to you taking a cheap hit. By throwing vases, you can put some distance between you and any potential foes awaiting you inside.
That said, don’t just mindlessly throw vases down into areas you can’t reach and then return from. Vases will often include valuables, and you want to be able to collect those without having to waste a rope or bomb to escape from wherever the vase breaks open.
Be Mindful Of Your Whip
You’ll want to become well-acquainted with your whip because, while other objects and items can be used to take out foes (in addition to jumping on top of them), it’s your whip that you’ll be using the majority of the time. One aspect of it in particular that’s worth noting is that it also deals damage behind you. In a pinch, that can take out an enemy that’s approaching your rear.
But it’s important that you keep this in mind so that you don’t deal damage when you don’t intend to. If there’s a vase behind you, you may inadvertently break it with your whip, which means you might have to quickly react to an enemy appearing next to you.
Bring The Dog With You
In every level, you’ll be able to encounter your pet dog, Monty (or some alternative, if you choose another option in the Settings menu). Aside from looking intensely cute and stupid at the same time, he’s also a real life-saver: By carrying Monty to the exit of the stage you’re on, you’ll be rewarded with a kiss that restores one health. This can take you beyond the four health you’ll start with, so it’s always wise to get Monty to the end whenever possible.
While Monty is initially stationary, as soon as he’s “activated,” he’ll begin to run when you aren’t holding him. He can accidentally set off traps or other hazards that can kill him, so be aware of what he’s potentially going to encounter. He won’t jump up, so you can safely leave him in holes and other safe spots until you’re ready for him. In a pinch, Monty can also double as an object for setting off arrow traps as described above. He can actually survive an arrow hit, although taking enough damage will kill him, leaving you without the health boost and feeling deeply guilty.
You Can Ride The Turkeys
Among the new features in Spelunky 2 is the ability to ride on certain animals. Early on, the most common example is the turkey, which can be picked up and delivered to a pen in certain stages to gain access to a locked room. (Be careful not to attack turkeys in the pen, or the guy nearby will go shopkeeper on your ass–more on that below.) But far more entertaining is the option to ride on a turkey by jumping on its back.
Doing so will initially send the turkey sprinting around aimlessly, which can prove disastrous depending on where it takes you. But after a few seconds, you’ll see some hearts pop up and you’ll gain direct control of it. Turkeys can prove extremely useful as vehicles, as they can attack, double jump, and slowly drift downwards (just hold the X button during a fall).
As with Monty, you can use these animals to set off traps if you have to, and if they come into contact with fire, they can be cooked to produce an item that restores one health (and, again, makes you feel awful).
What Does The Gold Key Do?
You’re likely to happen upon a gold key in certain levels. While there may be other uses for it–Spelunky is notoriously filled with secrets, and we suspect it can be used to activate a drill device in the lava world–the most straightforward use for the key involves heading into one of the “background” rooms you’ll encounter in certain levels. The room in question is a small one with two sets of ladders and a locked chest at the top. Deliver the key to this and you’ll be rewarded with the Udjat Eye, an item that allows you to see where treasure and items are hidden. That can help you to make the most of your bombs.
Don’t Piss Off The Shopkeeper
You can and should explore the ways in which you can rob the shopkeeper, although you should be prepared that he won’t stand idly by–this isn’t a Zelda game where you can break into someone’s house and take anything located in a vase or crate. But as you first start learning the game, avoid attacking the shopkeeper or doing anything to remove an item from the store without first paying for it–that’s likely to get you killed.