Curious Expedition 2 Review

Developed by Maschinen-Mensch and published by Thunderful Publishing AB Curious Expedition 2 is an interesting survival strategy game. There is much to explore and you have to maintain your sanity and resources to have a successful campaign. But when you go into the unexplored, a lot of mysterious events can and do occur. I went into this game blind as I had not played the previous game and I don’t feel like I needed to play the first game to understand this one. It doesn’t look graphically stunning but it doesn’t need to as the game is more about adventure and storytelling.

Set in the 19th Century, there have been tales of mysterious islands with a lot of treasures that seem to appear and disappear like magic. Many explorer clubs are wanting great explorers to travel to these magical lands and bring back information and treasure. There is a famous explorer who wants to venture to these lands for a specific treasure that could bring the world endless resources, but it could also bring doom. Curiosity gets the better of most so you have to explore to find out.

The game has a combination of different game styles blended together. You have an interesting storyline which is fun to follow to see where the rabbit hole leads you. You have squad management where you have to assemble a balanced team to help you with exploration, combat, navigation and even communicating with the natives. Some have better skills than others and some come with afflictions like alcoholism and claustrophobia which can and will impact your travels across the islands. A key part of the game is preparation as you need a good investor to provide you with money for supplies. You need the backing of an explorer club to provide supplies and reward you for bringing back information and treasures. You’ll also need to have the right equipment to help you get an edge in combat or specific chance areas of exploration where you need to pick the right supplies to help you last your whole exploration.

It all sounds a lot at first and it does take a bit of getting used to before you know how to properly prepare yourself. Curious Expedition 2 has planned for this as there are easier difficulty settings and easier missions to take which are quite forgiving and that is a must for new players as it is quite easy to struggle if you don’t plan properly. Essentially, you need some tools to help you traverse the map easier, tools to explore ruins and caves easier, tools for digging or blowing up mountains and your standard consumables for maintaining your sanity.

Once you have prepared everything you are ready to explore and this is where the fun happens. Each island you go to is different in its layout, what biome it Is and even what natives live on them. You only have a limited sanity meter which you have to maintain or your expedition fails.  Every move you make costs sanity and the amount of sanity it costs to move depends on the land you are moving through, the equipment you are using and the tools you have in your inventory. You usually have one key objective to do where it’s to find a special pyramid or rescue a lost adventurer. But you are encouraged to explore the island as much as your supplies will last. On the islands are many things that can be found. Ruins, villages, waterfalls, natives, wild animals and even portals to other worlds.

Each key area or encounter is random on what could potentially happen so it all feels pretty fresh on each expedition. A brush with the natives could be great news as they could offer you suppliers or direct you to their village. They could challenge you to win a game of chance and doing so could have great rewards but failing could lead to a hostile conflict. Finding ruins brings a dilemma attached to them as you could find secret rewards by chance or you could steal the native’s offerings to their gods. If you do choose to steal not only do you lose your relationship with the natives but the ruins then begin to crumble. It’s a tough decision as you need to bring back treasure for the exploration clubs but if you upset the natives too much you will not be welcome in their village where you can rest and buy supplies should you need to. So it really is a balance of greed and survival so you always have to think a few steps ahead.

All of the chance events in the game are controlled by a dice roll made up of blue, green and red dice. The number of dice you have and their colours depends on your party and their equipment. The chance game might say you need to roll 3 green dice to successfully explore a cave and it will give you the odds of you being able to roll that. You can find and use tools to give you an extra dice to give you a better chance too. But if you fail the chance game usually there are consequences like an injury to someone in your party.

The combat in the game is quite interesting as it also involves dice but it plays out in a turn-based strategy game. You roll all your dice depending on your team and whatever the dice lands on becomes your available moves to use. As mentioned before the dice have 3 colours and you can enhance some of your moves by stacking dice of the same colour. If you roll a blank or a move that won’t help you have one chance to reroll any dice you haven’t used once. Then once you have played all your moves it is then the opponent’s turn and this carries on until one team is defeated. Your team don’t heal after the battle and so you need to use supplies to restore your health.

Aside from all of these game components, there are also random events that can happen. For example, as you are traversing the map an earthquake could happen and you could lose one of your team in a crack in the earth and that is usually them gone for good. One of your team could be good at talking to the natives and they decide they want to stay with them and if you lose the game of chance then you lose that party member. Sometimes your party members could fall in love and that could come with some benefits and sometimes they could hate each other and it gets to the point where they are so angry that they will leave unless you bribe them with treasure to stay.

So there is plenty of fun to be had on each island as you explore and with different biomes as well it always feels different. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of events that are very samey but the deeper you dive the more you seem to find. When you bring all the information and treasure back from a successful expedition you can unlock special items from the clubs which could make your next expedition a bit easier.

Conclusion

For what looks like a simple game Curious Expedition 2 is far from it. There is much to wrap your head around from the start to plan everything you need into a limited inventory and hope you survive. But if you give the game enough time it becomes much easier to manage and you will find yourself wanting to explore more and take more risks. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and I think it’s definitely worth a playthrough.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox Series S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Interesting Storyline
  • Chance games make you excited and nervous
  • Every expedition you make is different and challenging
Bad
  • Some events do repeat a bit
  • Needs a bit more guidance at the start
8.2
Great
Written by
Gaming, or, games in general, are in my blood. Just shy of an addiction but still an obsession. From opening my mind on the Commodore 64 I have kept up with the generations of gaming, currently residing on the Xbox One. Gamertag: Grahamreaper

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