The Enchanted Cave 2

 

Review by · May 8, 2015

If you played and loved the first The Enchanted Cave, then you may as well go and buy The Enchanted Cave 2 right now. The new sequel takes everything found in the original and improves on it tenfold. Aside from new randomly-generated floors, The Enchanted Cave 2 is simply a larger and more content-filled version of its predecessor. Also like its ancestor, The Enchanted Cave 2 can be played for free in your browser, though the paid mobile version includes additional content.

While The Enchanted Cave 2 has many roguelike features, it would be better described as a roguelite RPG. Gameplay takes place in a 100 floor, randomly generated cavern filled with enemies and treasure. Unlike a traditional roguelike, The Enchanted Cave 2 has a checkpoint every 10 levels that you can start from on your next attempt. Death does result in losing everything you earned on that run, but only that run — all your previously earned rewards and loot are retained. By using special Escape Wings found randomly inside chests, you can flee from the dungeon and keep all the experience, cash, and special gold equipment you’ve found. The game’s primary strategic decisions are found in deciding when to flee: too early and you might miss out on great treasure, too late and you might die and lose everything you acquired so far. Though not a particularly difficult game, I certainly faced death on a dozen occasions after deciding, “I’ll risk 1 more floor.”

There’s an excellent variety of enemies to face across all 100 floors, and every 10 or so floors, the game delivers a change of environment and a gradual introduction of new foes. Combat is as simple as touching an enemy, which initiates an automated turn-based combat to the death. Though regular attacks are automatic, you can still use potions or cast elemental damage spells in real-time. Most enemies have a weakness to a particular type, so nabbing relevant spells from the skill tree can make certain encounters far easier. Battles are fast-paced, usually lasting less than 10 seconds, which is for the best since, while enemies have good visual variety, each encounter feels the same as the last. There are nearly a dozen spells to use, but all combat spells only deal damage. Had there been a greater variety of options, such as status ailments, the combat could have been far more dynamic than it is.

Levelling up your character is vital to success in The Enchanted Cave 2, as doing so delivers stat increases and skill points to spend on new abilities. The skill tree is quite simple, but gives you some choice on where to focus your attention: magic spells, damage and defence, or utility (such as increased gold or item finding). Since the latter 2 only provide stat increases and no new abilities, the magic tree is by far the more interesting and useful choice. By the end of the game, I’d earned enough points to max out one path and get close to finishing a second. On level up, you can choose where to assign your stat increase too, so there are plenty of options for customisation and play style. An enchantment system further allows you to use materials to imbue your weapons and armour with certain properties such as increased attack, elemental defence, and so on.

Navigating each floor is an interesting affair due the risk/reward style of gameplay. Often, the stairs leading down to the next level are nearby, but since each floor is covered in fog until you begin exploring, it’s often worthwhile to go and poke around anyway. Each floor is filled with monsters and treasure chests of various types, including rare red-gold chests that contain the gold equipment that you can keep even after fleeing the dungeon. There are secrets to find too: some floors have a single wall tile that sparkles and can be opened, leading to a treasure room; stumbling across these bonuses is always a rush. The random generation works a treat too, with some floors that are small, others that are large, some that are open, and others made of narrow corridors. Backed by a terrific soundtrack from Grant Kirkhope (of Banjo-Kazooie fame), exploring the varied floor environments is simply fun.

On mobile, movement is as simple as tapping a square you want to move to, and your character will take the most direct obstacle-free route there. There’s even a handy button that can take you straight back to the stairs on each floor after you’ve discovered them. The menus are a little more awkward to navigate on a small screen, but a customisable action bar eases the pain somewhat. Still, the touch-based swiping of menus feels more natural than the options offered in the browser version.

Outside of the dungeon, The Enchanted Cave 2 introduces a town that houses a handful of NPCs, a tavern and a museum. The NPCs are, sadly, a dull bunch who contribute little to the game as a whole. A couple offer quests on rare occasions, but unless you’re constantly speaking to them, it’s difficult to find out when they have a task for you. The tavern has no real purpose, and there are a few other doors that unfortunately can’t be entered. Though the town area is a missed opportunity on the whole, the museum functions as a handy storage system and encyclopaedia for your gold equipment.

If you’re in the mood for a randomly-generated dungeon crawler with some solid RPG and roguelike elements thrown in, then The Enchanted Cave 2 is absolutely worth a look. It’s a huge step forward from its fun but flawed predecessor and features a ton of new features, abilities, skills and more to keep you playing. Clearing the final floor will likely only take you 5 or 6 hours, but completionists can go back and work on filling out their museum. With a convenient auto-save system, The Enchanted Cave 2 is a perfect on-the-go sort of game and one I can easily recommend. Also, it’s coming soon to Steam.


Pros

Extensive stat customisation, addictive dungeon-crawling, great for on-the-go play.

Cons

NPCs and town a missed opportunity, limited in-combat options.

Bottom Line

The Enchanted Cave 2 is fun to play, filled with features and customisation options, and never outstays its welcome.

Graphics
83
Sound
83
Gameplay
84
Control
80
Story
75
Overall Score 81
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Andrew Barker

Andrew Barker

Andrew was an absolute workhorse during his many years with RPGFan. A contributor to both news and reviews, he would go on to overhaul and completely run our news department – in fact, he was the reason we expanded news INTO a "department."