Curious Expedition 2 Switch Review
The roguelike genre is usually full of systems that revolve around combat. You know, that’s why some call them procedural death maze games, but that’s too long to say. Instead, you make your way through a maze of death until you get out of it or die. Developer Maschinen Mensch set out to develop a very different type of death maze with Curious Expedition II. This game lets you explore randomly generated islands to investigate mysterious and other artifacts, where combat comes first.
Curious Expedition II First, you play as Victoria Mallin, famous adventurer and director of the World’s Fair, who makes one of the many trips before discovering a mysterious island. Eventually, her group encounters a strange structure, but it begins to cover the island in terrifying purple smoke upon investigation. The group fled after being assaulted by creepy monsters in the smoke and returned to their ship. From there, you take on the role of one of Victoria’s apprentices, occasionally completing various expeditions with her help.
Before you leave, you can pick up a party member at the local tavern. Each character has their own unique abilities and role, which can greatly benefit your experience. After, you select a faction to fund you with three possible choices, Lux Labs, The Taishi Academy and the Royal Avalon Society, which specialize in different types of equipment. Finally, you will use the funds to choose supplies and begin your merry quest. Upon arrival, your goal is to clear your objective, whether it’s finding mysterious ruins, finding evidence of a dangerous monster, or documenting the island’s geography.
Exploration occurs in a grid-based format, you selecting a square that you want to navigate to. You can’t see the whole island at once, so you’ll have to move around to make things clearer. Sanity will decrease as you move around the islands, which need to be replenished with food and rest.
It costs more reason to cross mountainous terrain, waterways, forest areas etc., so you have to be careful where you step. Along the way, you will come across all kinds of surprise events that will reward you with funny skits that could go positively or negatively depending on your response. The different events are pretty fun, but the visuals aren’t the best. However, I feel like I’m playing a Tintin comic strip through writing and aesthetics.
Losing your sanity is going to make you panic because that’s when things go from bad to worse, and you can lose your party members to infection, disease, cannibalism or even of a passage in the celestial kingdom. So, to replenish that sanity, you can eat your provisions, rest in good campsites, or find natives to trade with for more provisions and rest in their villages.
These natives range from replicas of various tribes to salamanders, dinosaurs, and supernatural deities that exist beyond our mortal understanding. Trade with them to gain their favor, and you can start to understand them, ask for help with your goal, or recruit one into your group. Go beyond your welcome, however, and they will fight you on sight.
Fighting with monsters or natives will trigger a turn-based brawl that will take place on dice rolls. Each character has a collection of attacks depending on their role, whether it’s sophisticated martial arts, potion making, or just pure magic, which can be boosted by combining your rollers and using equipment.
This allows the less useful members of your party to carry their own weight by supporting your stronger teammates offensively or defensively, provided luck is on your side. Combat is actually pretty fun, and its unusual nature means it doesn’t get old, whether or not you play complacently or mix it up. There is a solid amount of strategy you can deploy in battles, despite the fact that there are often several ways to avoid it altogether.
Game overs are as dangerous as you want them to be, with permanent death as a valid but not necessary option. However, you can still make it more difficult for yourself whenever you want with higher difficulties and director mode.
Successfully complete an objective and bring home treasure, and you will level up your godfather, which will allow you to hire more explorers and more sophisticated equipment. You’ll also gain experience for tasks that you can use to improve your party members. Otherwise, it is to go back to sea for other expeditions, which is linked to a simple story to justify the great voyages. There isn’t much, but there is enough.
Curiosity 2 Expedition is a roguelike that would probably be a lot of fun playing video chat with friends, voting on group actions, and watching the chaos unfold. Otherwise, it’s an enjoyable exploration game with a host of unique features that let you put your mind to the test without much stress unless you want to.