Curious Expedition 2 refines the adventure formula defined by the first game, delivering an all-around better experience. Here’s our review for Switch.
I followed the protracted development of the first Curious Expedition series with much interest in the early 2010s. The game first released in 2014 on PC and was a blast to play, so I was excited when Curious Expedition came to Switch. The game didn’t have a great tutorial though, so I wrote a simple tips and tricks guide to help new players get started.
Curious Expedition 2 fixes many of the complaints from the first game, expanding on narrative opportunities. Set sail during the Age of Discovery and lead an expedition of brave explorers to beat all odds. A highly addictive roguelike experience that captures the feeling of ‘just one more turn’ very well.
- Developer: Maschinen-Mensch
- Publisher: Thunderful
- Price: $19.99 (Learn how to get up to 8% off eShop codes)
- Genre: Roguelite adventure, turn-based combat
Assemble a team of explorers and choose how you progress the adventure. There are random events that can grant great bonuses or cause a significant heartbreak. How you interact with the environment can directly impact your parties’ chances of success. Robbing tombs may upset the nearby natives, or cause a natural disaster. On the other hand, helping the natives may reward you with riches beyond measure.
Combat is a simple affair that is governed by your set of dice. Each character has their own set of four dice that can be influenced by their traits and the equipment they have selected. Red actions are close-range melee skills, while green represent ranged attacks. Blue dice offer party buffs and heals that can turn the tide of battle. Players get one re-roll per turn if they don’t get the dice they want on the first throw.
The combat is simple to learn and you’ll soon find a combination of explorers that make combat scenarios a breeze. You’ll spend more time managing your party’s sanity, which is a shame. The sanity mechanic can be negated by food items like chocolate, staying in villages with good standing, and resting at natural resources like waterfalls. The mechanic feels less punishing than the first game but still wholly unnecessary.
Sometimes you can marshal your forces to continue following you with few to no consequences. Other times, your characters may develop debilitating stat conditions that might require you to dismiss them from the expedition if you can’t find a way to cure their illness. The mechanic feels more like a punishment for poor course planning, than the randomness injected by most roguelike games.
Over the course of several expeditions, players will begin to piece together bits of the overarching story. There are several endings that will take multiple play throughs to find and complete. Between expeditions, Paris serves as the hub of your outfit for finding new explorers. The strong story arc feels great the first time you play, but becomes boring due to lack of variety. Points of interest on the map can also be hard to distinguish, wasting sanity as you trek around the map.
Like real expeditions, there is a strong luck component to the game. That can be a negative when dealing with combat or a random island design. You may find yourself teetering on the edge of destruction for overextending your party in exploration.
Graphics & Audio
Gone is the pixel art style of the first game, traded for clean and crisp vector art. The menu has also been re-worked to make it easier to understand. The vector art is a nice change, but it’s a shame the game features fewer explorers to unlock.
The animation quality is also very stiff, almost like paper-doll quality. The lack of animation was understandable when the game was presented as pixel graphics. But the increased graphical fidelity feels strange alongside the stilted animations.
The audio soundtrack is perfectly serviceable. The music isn’t annoying during a long play-through, which is all you can ask for in a game that expects you to play endlessly. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of the music from the second game online.
Maps for the various islands you can visit are generated randomly from several different biomes. Many of these biomes require a special skill check to find the rarest sites. That may require having a specific character in your expedition in order to succeed.
The biggest issue I encountered when playing the game is that text is very small while in handheld mode. Unfortunately, there’s no way to increase it. It looks fine when the game is presented on a large TV. Load times are also fairly quick and I did not experience any crashes or issues with corrupted saves when playing the game.
Conclusion – Curious Expedition 2 Review for Switch
There are fewer unlockable explorers in Curious Expedition 2, but the new art style and expanded random events help make up for that. Anyone who loves roguelikes should give this game a go. The streamlined expedition mode is easier to understand for beginners too.
4.5 out of 5 stars
An amazing roguelike adventure that improves on the original formula in almost every way imaginable.
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