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SummaryDevelopers make it a point to improve upon the previous game.
The GoodThe most notable thing about Spelunky 2 is that the developers set out to accomplish one thing: fix the unbalanced design of Spelunky HD. Spelunky HD was a great game, but it mostly encouraged one style of playing, and discouraged others.
- The Jetpack and shotgun were ridiculously powerful items on their own, and together, they simply dominated the entire game. There was almost no reason to not choose this combination whenever they were available. Gameplay became more of a first-person shooter (just fly around and shoot everything) than an intelligent, strategic game.
- There was very little reason to not rob the black market. Robbery was generally always preferable than legitimately earning money and buying things.
- Ghosting gems took a very long time. And it was the same boring process every time.
The developers realized this and made a few key changes to the design. Spelunky 2 is no longer the run-and-gun / just-bomb-everything shooter that its predecessor was. There are now a variety of playstyles you can choose from. You can earn money and buy stuff. You can rob strategically and be forgiven shortly afterwards. Or you can stick to the old "rob every shop" approach. There are pros and cons to each. It feels balanced this time.
It's particularly worth pointing out that the Jetpack item has been nerfed. It will no longer refuel in the air or on a vertical surface, and it explodes when being hit by a bullet or a fiery object. Many players have suggested that the Vlad's Cape (an item that was largely useless in Spelunky HD) is now the best mobility item in the game, surpassing the Jetpack.
The BadMusic for the first world is annoying. The community all agrees on this and people have replaced the official music with something else, such as the Celeste soundtrack.
As of this writing, online multiplayer (a key feature of the game, and THE highlight of the trailer) is still under development and is unplayable.
As of this writing, the Temple of Anubis path is much inferior to the Tide Pool path. People don't go to the Temple at all. The penalty of that path is severe (losing the held item and the backpack item), and seems unnecessary. Difficulty is one thing, two mutually exclusive paths where one path is significantly more difficult, another.
As of this writing, the daily challenge mode is broken. Many players (including myself) have reported being occasionally unable to start the daily challenge, unable to load the leaderboard, or unable to upload the score. It's impressive that the daily challenge only has these three features, and all three of them are broken.