Spelunky 2 considering tweaks to its frustrating early levels
UPDATE: Patch now live on PC and PS4.
Update (October 16th, 2020): As suggested, Spelunky 2's latest update has implemented changes to the first world.
The game has "tuned monsters spawn changes in Dwelling" and "added more room variety in the last Dwelling", alongside a variety of tweaks and bug fixes across the game, according to the patch notes.
PC players - who received the patch ahead of the PS4's update earlier today - have observed far fewer enemies in 1-1 in particular.
Meanwhile, there appears to be an unexpected change to 1-4, which we won't spoil here for those who want to discover it themselves.
Original story: Spelunky 2, the roguelike sequel released on PS4 then PC last month, is looking to address the difficulty of its opening stages following player feedback.
In a blog post on Steam, creator Derek Yu said the team is investigating how its opening levels handle its procedural generation, specifically when it comes to enemies and traps.
Additionally, 1-4 - a stage which revolves around a sub-boss named Quillback, and as a result, is a similar encounter on every run - is also under the spotlight.
"We know Dwelling is causing players frustration and I think there's some fair criticism there, so we're testing some changes to the spawn rates of enemies and traps, particularly in 1-1 and 1-2," Yu explained.
"Some tweaks to 1-4 should make it more interesting, as well! Look for those changes to arrive in a patch some time soon."
Hints that Yu was looking at amending the first world came as part of a tongue-in-cheek over the weekend:
Doing a little tweaking to the enemy and trap generation in the first area of #Spelunky2 - starting to feel pretty good, I think! How's your Sunday going? #gamedesign pic.twitter.com/rwQUPpCWiF— Derek Yu (@mossmouth) October 11, 2020
Moles are a particular source of ire right now, due to their surprisingly high health for an early game enemy, their ability to appear from almost any angle, and unusual hitboxes.
As well as moles, another criticism of the Dwelling are overzealous arrow trap spawns - a threat which fires a projectile when something moves across their path - with many clustered together in close proximity, or appearing at the start of levels when you have nothing to disarm them with.
Definitely the same amount of traps as in Spelunky HD from r/spelunky
I see your 5 arrow traps and i raise you 7. Def feels like sashavol the more you play from r/spelunky
This game is shit. 10 out of 10. from r/spelunky
In the meantime, Yu did suggest a few things to help players through the first few levels of the game - and that's changing the way they approach enemy encounters.
"I will say that, from reading the feedback, I'm getting the impression that some players are trying to kill every enemy they come across in Dwelling, when it's often better to avoid them or, even better, let them kill each other or trigger traps for you!"
"Moles are great for setting off arrow traps, for example. If you're having trouble getting out of the first area, try some new strategies!"
Yu, however, was keen to express not wanting to change too much of the game, pointing to one optional path where players are "having to wait for the lava during a certain sequence in Volcana" as an example.
"We'll look into this, too, but I can't say if/how it will get addressed. In general, we have to be somewhat careful about how we go about changing the game based on player feedback.
"Ultimately, Spelunky is a game that is designed to have some sharp edges in it, and there's always the risk of removing fun along with the frustration."
Elsewhere, online multiplayer support for PC still has no release date, clarifying that performance issues for certain areas need to come first, as "the flurry of early patches that are being deployed to fix bugs and improve the game's overall performance will affect online", said Yu.
Finally, there are also plans to localise Spelunky 2 into more languages, "once we have a little more time". Understandably, looking into those moles comes first.
Until a patch arrives, we have a list of spoiler-free Spelunky 2 tips which might be of some use.