After the high praise of the first Curious Expedition game, Maschinen-Mensch created the second instalment to the franchise. Following it’s successor, Curious Expedition 2 is a turn-based adventure narrative, set in the late 17th century. So if you have a hankering to explore new lands and see the never before discovered, then this game might just be for you.
Taking a cartoonish design and hosting a whole cast of creative characters, Curious Expedition is certainly an experience from start to finish. The title quickly whisks you through a tutorial, which is extremely text heavy. Be prepared to feel like you’re reading a novel. There is no narration, but the personality of every character still shines through text. As someone with a lot of experience with fast paced reading (meaning yes, I spent a lot of my childhood watching subtitled anime) this sheer amount of text still came as a shock. Be careful as well, because there are certain pauses between conversations which you WILL skip if you’re impatient. I did this a lot, and sometimes these missed chats are vital to your exploration.
You are tasked with choosing a character at the very beginning of the game, which will be your group leader for its entirety. Choose wisely! You also select your three companions (obviously I chose the dog, who wouldn’t) and then the real fun begins. Every action you take, every question you answer, all plays into the exploration aspect of Curious Expedition. There’s an almost butterfly effect to the gameplay, so it’s very important to stay on your toes. Some of these elements end up with the sudden end of a quest, which is definitely frustrating after the second or third go. Despite the amount of times I put my switch down to take a deep breath, Curious Expedition 2 still leaves you wanting more.
Tactical Theft and Contrasting Concepts
It’s not just combat based either. Even though this plays quite a large part in the game, it still encourages you to take different approaches to it. Looting and trading are quite heavily encouraged, but this doesn’t mean looting enemies on the battlefield. Rather, it means finding temples and shrines and bringing stolen artifacts back to civilization. After every expedition, your team returns to Paris. Which is essentially the ‘hub’ of the operation. I found that the looting aspect of these expeditions completely contradict the colourful and respectful approach of the game. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a downside to the title it still feels wrong. However, Curious Expedition 2 can be played without this almost harsh approach, but it will definitely be a longer journey.
When in Paris, you can exchange party members for others and as you progress through the game a wider variety of characters become available. This is the main incentive to put yourself through the repetitive nature of the title. After a while these expeditions become less enjoyable and more grinding. I did enjoy the majority of my time with this game, but after a good couple of hours of playing it definitely became more of a chore.
As a whole, Curious Expedition 2 is definitely an engrossing game. I can see why the first edition became so highly praised. If you are looking for an engaging few hours of exploration then I am sure you will enjoy it. Just make sure to prepare yourself. This journey is not a straightforward one.