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Spelunky 2 - 5 tips for beginners and novices

There's a lot of excitement for Spelunky 2 from veterans, but there are just as many beginners coming into this game flying blind. For them, Shacknews offers these 5 tips.

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The dangerous ruins of the moon are every bit as treacherous as the ones on our planet. Exploring in Spelunky 2 means finding something new with every run. It also means dying. It means a lot of dying. For Spelunky veterans, that comes with the territory. For newcomers, that might feel a little intimidating. So Shacknews is here to help.

If you haven't tried out Spelunky 2 or its predecessor and this is your first time exploring the procedurally-generated ruins, then you might need a few pointers. Shacknews is here with five helpful beginner tips for anybody getting started with Spelunky 2.

1. Become familiar with traps and enemies

Almost everything in Spelunky 2 is out to kill you. There's no sugarcoating that. But before you can overcome the killer (everything in this game), you have to know precisely what you're up against.

Every enemy in the game has a distinct pattern and will react to your presence differently. Many of the minor enemies, like snakes and bats, can be defeated with a simple stomp on the head or lash of your whip. As you go on, you're going to find more complex creatures. Cavemen, for example, will make a mad dash towards you as soon as you're in their line of sight. Make a careful note of which enemies do what and prepare your runs accordingly.

Similarly, every trap will function differently and the best thing you can do is recognize what they look like and what triggers them. Some of the traps are simple to understand. The Bear Trap, for instance, will punch your lights out if you stand to the left or right of it. Dart Traps are nuisances, in that they'll fire the moment you cross its line of sight. The more you encounter these traps, the more you can prepare for them. The Dart Trap, for example, can be countered with a meat shield or by tossing an object in its sights. Not every trap is in plain sight, though. Some traps, like the ones in the jungle biome, will cleverly blend in with its surroundings. But the more you see them, the more you'll come to recognize them and, more importantly, know what they do. Going the extra mile to learn the traps is a worthwhile endeavor, because many of the later ones will kill you in one hit. Be careful!

Another thing to note is that enemies are just as good at triggering traps as you are. Use this to your advantage. If a Caveman sees you, direct it towards a Dart Trap. Conversely, if there's an enemy near a trap that could threaten to take out everything in its vicinity, steer it away or just run for your life.

2. Be careful with items out in the open

Spelunky 2 loves its traps and having killer contraptions out in the open just isn't enough for this game. You'll often find breakable objects that contain treasures, but are just as likely to contain enemies like spiders and cobras. Do not assume an item contains something good. Always assume the opposite.

Fortunately, as noted above, objects serve a practical purpose. They can be used as projectiles to take out minor enemies, stun larger ones, or to trigger traps. If the object shatters and leaves behind a treasure, great! Collect it and move right along! If it contains an enemy, either dispatch it or leave it alone and keep moving towards the exit.

And whatever you do, leave the Golden Idol alone! This is not for beginners! Once you get more experience and understand the ins-and-outs of Spelunky 2 a little more, then the Golden Idol will be worth attempting. But more often than not, grabbing it will trigger a deadly trap that leaves you with only a second to react. It's usually not worth the risk, because lord knows there's enough in these ruins to kill you.

3. Create shortcuts whenever possible

One of your most useful tools is the bomb. The bomb can be used to stun larger enemies and destroy traps, but you will mainly use it to try and shorten your path to the level exit. Bombs will blow up most surfaces and can often get you another few feet down without having to deal with spikes, traps, or clusters of enemies. Just make sure to keep track of how many bombs you have handy. If you're running low, search the area or buy some more from the Shopkeeper.

But don't go around blowing things up carelessly. You can get yourself in a lot of trouble if you indiscriminately blow up bombs without thinking. Do not set off bombs without a safe way to descend. Once you get the hang of how explosions work and how big a bomb's radius is, you'll be able to create shortcuts while leaving yourself a step or a safe spot to hang a rope. Do not create giant holes and just jump or you can take heavy fall damage. Be careful about setting bombs off along the corners, too, because it's possible to get yourself stuck in a corner with no way to get out, forcing you to start your adventure over. If you have the money to spare, buy a Compass from the Shopkeeper and use it to navigate your shortcuts more carefully.

After you get through the first set of levels, you'll start discovering water and lava, which are entirely different hazards. Be careful about setting off bombs around bodies of liquids. An errant explosion could either wash you away or close off your only path to the exit.

Again, keep your bomb totals replenished whenever possible. You may need a few for the mid-boss fight with Olmec.

4. Use the Hired Hand to your advantage

The Hired Hand was a handy feature in the first Spelunky and he's back in the sequel. Hired Hands are found inside coffins and will be happy to lend you some assistance. Hired Hands can dispatch minor enemies, collect treasure for you, and follow you around. You're often going to find treasure or other items that are out-of-reach or in a hazardous spot. Fortunately, the Hired Hand knows no fear (or is too dumb to know fear) and will attempt to collect them for you.

Ultimately, that's the downside to the Hired Hand. If you're trying to avoid triggering traps, he knows no restriaint and will ultimately rush into danger. That can sometimes put you in danger, so be aware of your surroundings. If you sense that the Hired Hand is about to bring doom upon everyone, leave him be. He's not worth saving.

Hired Hands won't stay alive for long, but as long as they're around, they'll be a big help. Worst case scenario, they'll stumble into a Spear Trap in the jungle and kill themselves. At that point, hey, at least you know where the Spear Trap is!

5. Pick up the jetpack as soon as possible

Being able to maneuver around each level is invaluable. At the start of the game, you have ropes to help you get around. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to ropes. They only have so much range, so they won't protect you from a particularly precipitous fall. They're a limited resource, so you can't always rely on them. And if you use them around lava or anything else flammable, they'll fall apart.

Fortunately, the jetpack makes its return from the first Spelunky. You want this! The jetpack is one of the most valuable items in the game, allowing you to propel yourself upward for the duration of its charge. As long as you give it some time to recharge, you can use it for however long you want. So if there are chests or treasures that are high out of reach, you can use the jetpack to get you up there.

This is especially valuable in the mid-boss fight with Olmec, where there are numerous treasures high along the ceiling. You can fatten your wallet before moving into the second half of your run, at which point the jetpack becomes even more valuable. There are so many areas where you can plummet to your demise that having the jetpack to slow your descent will prove to be a godsend. Don't go too far into your run without this, if at all possible. The jetpack will prove to be your best friend before long. You'll find it in the Shop, so make sure to save your money.


Those are our pointers for anybody who's picking up Spelunky 2 for the first time. Spelunky 2 is available now on PlayStation 4 and will be out in two weeks on PC.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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