Curious Expedition 2 Review – An Enjoyable Journey

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Curious Expedition 2 is a turn-based narrative roguelike adventure game that is set in a recreated version of the late 19th century. It is brought to us by independent developers Maschinen-Mensch (Curious Expedition) and publishers Thunderful Group (Lonely Mountains: Downhill, Say No! More). Curious Expedition 2 is a follow-up to Maschinen-Mensch’s first game, Curious Expedition, that was brought to us in 2016.

Curious Expedition 2 – Most Definitely An Enjoyable Journey

I played Curious Expedition 2 on PC, but the game is coming to consoles later this year.

Some 5 years after the original, can Curious Expedition 2 be as successful? Read on to find out more. If you enjoy this article, please check out my previous articles here.

Gameplay

The game gives a choice of three difficulties when starting, traveller (easy), adventurer (normal) or lunatic (hard). Great names for them.

Our crew soon realise there’s an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean that should not be there, it’s not mapped, it’s non-existent to the current world. Our crew sail through a tough storm but eventually make it to the island, time to explore!

Once docked, we can start to move across the island and we learn that moves cost “sanity”, sanity is basically our energy for exploring the island. Sanity can be replenished with food and drink items, or by resting at areas such as campsites or settlements.

There's the sanity level, top right.
There’s the sanity level, top right.

Once the crew have progressed across the map a little, they find an old British naval ship that should not be where it is. We explore this and find some dynamite, this allows us to break a hole in the path ahead of us to continue across the island. The blast also alerts some nearby natives who come to investigate.

We now have some choices, one being an attempt to communicate with the natives that we mean no harm and are simply just travellers, the other allows us to show off our “magic” to the curious natives. I chose to communicate that I meant no harm. The natives then invited my crew to their village after I chose the correct answer.

The natives' village.
The natives’ village.

You can also raise your standing with NPCs in Curious Expedition 2, which allows you to use more actions than you would be able to with lower standing. For example, get a higher standing and you will be able to trade with the village, you can trade anything they have and you barter with items that you hold in your inventory. For example, I traded a shovel for some chocolate to help replenish my sanity. You can also rest at areas such as these to help replenish more sanity, allowing you to explore the island further.

Next, the village leaders approach you, if you choose the right options they will allow one of their own to leave and travel with you. The game then offered two choices, a native scout or a native priest. Thinking ahead in my travels, I may need a priest to heal me more than a scout to look ahead.

Foperaziy is my new friend’s name. The natives invited me to dance.

You can choose to take part or stand aside. I took part. This resulted in dice rolling mini-game, if the dice land on the colour green, then you win this mini-event.

Let us have a dance.
Let us have a dance.

The leaders of the village gifted me a spear because of rolling the green dice. This meant I now had a better weapon for the main character in my crew.

The natives tell us of the “pale travellers” who perished at a nearby campsite. The game introduces us to combat once we reach the campsite.

The combat is a turn-based system which again works with a roll of the dice and indicates which moves you can use in that turn. If you roll blank dice, you can use those blanks to “reroll” for another chance at some moves during the turn.

The combat system.
The combat system.

Defeating the hyenas in the first fight gives us experience points to use for our crew. Curious Expedition 2 uses stars to level up the crew. In an example, if it takes 10 stars to level characters you’re given the choice of levelling 1 of 2 characters, so choose wisely.

A little further into the story (same island still) we visit a strange-looking temple, which once touched it turns the island into a purple fog. We make a run for our ship. Once we reach it and make it to safety the island disappears along with the purple fog!

The crew have now escaped and we find out that our home is in Paris. We visit the Boussole Cassée which means the Broken Compass. This is where you can recruit new crew members and find new expeditions.

New expeditions require a “sponsor” and these are provided by “explorer clubs”. Explorer clubs fund your expedition at the trade-off that they claim all leftover provisions on your return.

I will not go in too deep as I don’t want to ruin the main story for you. This is just the prologue!

A bright day in Paris.
A bright day in Paris.

Graphics & Audio

I love the graphics in Curious Expedition 2, 2D, smooth, character animations are quirky but good, the graphics themselves remind me of Darkest Dungeon, a little. One particular thing I like is the menu system, it’s pretty unique in my experience. Another highlight in the graphics is how the “fog of war” disappears when you’re unveiling parts of the map. I did not experience any graphical issues whilst playing this game, everything ran fine and was a consistent framerate at 1440p.

The menu system
The menu system

Audio in Curious Expedition 2 is fitting, good sound effects with a soundtrack to match the era of the game. I like the sounds from the enemies in the game, just like the hyenas you meet in the first battle. That creepy little hyena laugh just makes me glad we’re attacking them!

Longevity

This game will take some time to beat. You’ll have a different experience every time you play as Curious Expedition 2 is a procedurally generated roguelike. I love games like this as they have so much to give the player. For example, it took people approx 70 hours to 100% complete their playthroughs of the first Curious Expedition.

Final Thoughts

I haven’t played the first Curious Expedition. This did not stop me enjoying Curious Expedition 2, I had a great time whilst playing. Some of the mechanics in this game remind me of other games such as Civilisation and Darkest Dungeon. If you’re a roguelike adventure fan, I highly recommend you check this out. Curious Expedition 2 gets a gold award from me.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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