Taking place on a hexagonal grid, Curious Expedition 2 is a roguelike title that puts an emphasis on narrative, decision making, and randomness into a combination that is rewarding but also carries a higher level of difficulty that might not appeal to everyone.
You and your crew are exploring the seas when an island is spotted in the distance. Curious to what this land holds, you dock and start navigating the unknown environment. With each step, the player loses sanity. Unlike horror titles, sanity here is sort of your hunger, thirst, and endurance wrapped into one. If this precious meter depletes, negative things start to happen. To regain your sanity, the player must waste time resting for days at designated camps or small amounts can be restored eating chocolate or drinking booze. It is this balancing act that players need to constantly manage. Never having enough sanity can easy frustrate careful players but the game knows that things get interesting when bad stuff happens.
It just wouldn’t be much of a rogue if the pathway was clear and easy, something this downloadable title definitely isn’t. Although the player is presented with many options and a limited inventory, the UI and pacing are never complicated even though the interface might initially seem otherwise. The hand drawn art style also plays to the sometimes morbid, sometimes humorous gameplay too. Caught somewhere between a Saturday morning cartoon and Where’s Waldo, the comic book-y visuals work hand in hand with the open natured gameplay.
Even though failure is inevitable, Curious Expedition 2 has plenty of reasons to keep coming back. Yes, the challenge is high and the plot is ever changing, but that is the point. It isn’t an experience for everyone but those looking for a different type of rogue game that isn’t a platformer or a combat heavy Hades-like title, this sequel is an expedition that can pique your curiosity.
Not As Good As: the Banner Saga trilogy
Also Try: Oregon Trail
Wait For It: next week when another dozen rogue games are released