Game Guides

Spelunky 2 – 13 Essential Beginner Tips

These beginner tips will help you get started.

by Diego Perez


Spelunky 2 can be an incredibly daunting game for new players, but discovering everything the game has to offer is part of the fun. As we wrote in our Spelunky 2 review, “Newcomers might be scared away by the difficulty and seemingly impenetrable secrets, but the effort to get through this is well rewarded.” The original Spelunky was already a complex game, but Spelunky 2 takes things to the next level and adds several new items, areas, and enemies into the mix. Everything interacts in different ways, and you’ll likely see something different every time you venture into the depths. These beginner tips will help you make the most of Spelunky 2.

Don’t Be Afraid to Die

Death is part of the Spelunky experience. You will die, and you will die often. That’s okay though, because you’ll learn something new every time you meet your demise. Even if you don’t get any further than you did in your previous attempts, you’ll become a bit more comfortable dealing with a certain enemy type, you’ll learn how to use a new item, or maybe you’ll uncover a new shortcut. Death is common in Spelunky 2, but it’s almost never a setback.


You Can Mount Animals

Those animals you see roaming the underground aren’t just for show. Like most things in Spelunky 2, you can use them to your advantage. You can ride turkeys and other animals by jumping onto them and holding the jump button. They’ll run around wildly at first, but they’ll eventually settle down and let you control them. Turkeys can double jump and even glide by holding down the jump button mid-air, and other mounts can do even crazier things. Rock dogs can breathe fire, and Axolotls can teleport. Be sure to experiment with various mounts to discover their full capabilities.

Save Up for Shortcuts

Although it may seem that way at first, you actually don’t have to start from the very beginning every time. After clearing the first world, you’ll meet a character named Terra who is also working her way deeper underground. Terra will construct shortcuts that you can use if you bring her the necessary materials, and these range from money to items. The first few requirements are fairly easy to come by, so be sure you have some cash on hand or some spare Ropes and Bombs to hand over in case Terra needs them. Check out our Spelunky 2 shortcuts guide for a full list of requirements and shortcut locations.


Rescue Pets for Health

Most levels have a dog hidden somewhere in them. You can bring these dogs with you to the exit to regain one heart. Just pick them up like any other item and carry them with you. They need to be alive in order to heal you, so take care to avoid enemies and traps. If you’re more of a cat person, you can change the type of pet that appears in the game’s options menu. There are three pets to choose from in total, and you can even set it to randomly choose one of the three to spice things up.

Sacrifice to Earn Kali’s Favor

If you come across a bloody altar, those aren’t just for show. You can actually perform sacrifices at these altars to earn useful items. Just bring someone, alive or dead, to the altar in order to sacrifice them. Sacrifices earn you points of Kali’s Favor, and hitting certain point thresholds will reward you with powerful items. Sacrifices are worth more alive than dead, so try to go the nonlethal route if possible. Pets, Horned Lizards, Cavemen, Shopkeepers, and just about anything you can carry will be accepted by Kali. Just drop them on the table to perform a sacrifice. For more on sacrifices, check out our Spelunky 2 Kali sacrifices guide.


Slow Down and Walk

Spelunky 2 is a fast-paced game, but it pays to slow down from time to time. Holding down the R2 button will cause your character to walk and move more slowly, giving you increased control and precision. This is useful for navigating dangerous areas or avoiding traps. You can also go into the game’s options menu and set walking as the default, making R2 the run button like it was in the first game. It comes down to personal preference, but consider your movement speed when you run into dangerous areas in Spelunky 2.

Look Before You Leap

While you don’t have complete control over the camera in Spelunky 2, you can look down and inspect the area below you. To do so, just hold down to crouch for a few seconds and the camera will automatically pan downward. This is useful for seeing how far down a drop goes to ensure you don’t take any damage from the fall. You can also look upward by holding up until the camera moves, although this is a more situational maneuver. Always look before jumping down if you cannot see the bottom. The fall could be high enough to kill you, there could be dangerous enemies below, or there could even be spikes waiting to impale you.


Throw Pots Instead of Attacking Them

There are pots, vases, and jars scattered throughout each of Spelunky’s levels. These can contain rare and valuable gems that are worth a lot of money, so you should always smash them when you see them. Riches aren’t the only thing they contain, however. Sometimes enemies like snakes and spiders will pop out of broken jars, and you can hurt yourself if you’re not careful. Instead of breaking them with your whip, pick up the jars by holding down and pressing Square. Then, throw them with the Square button so you can find out what’s inside from a safe distance away. Better safe than sorry.

Use the Golden Key

Spelunky 2’s first world contains a mysterious Golden Key. This key is a very valuable item, but its usefulness is not immediately apparent. There are chests tucked away in some of the doors you can access during levels that can only be opened with this key, so hang onto that key until you find one of these chests to get some easy money. You’ll also need this key later in the game to construct the World 5-1 shortcut, but that won’t concern you until several hours after you start Spelunky 2.


Play With Friends

Spelunky is better with friends. The first game only had local co-op, but Spelunky 2 has online multiplayer so you can play with your friends no matter where they are. Not only is the game much more fun with other players, but co-op actually makes the game a bit easier because of the way it handles death in multiplayer. You can bring other players back by finding coffins, so just because you go down doesn’t mean you’re out for good.

Stealing is Risky

Shops are a Spelunky staple. They sell all sorts of useful items, and there are many different kinds of new shops in Spelunky 2. You don’t have to pay the asking prices if you don’t want to though. You can just pick up whatever you want and walk out the front door. The shopkeeper will get angry and try to kill you with their shotgun, but if you can get away, you’ll score a free item. There are creative ways to do this, like using a freeze ray to incapacitate the shopkeeper while you rob them, and you’ll come up with many more loopholes as you play. For stealing tips, check out our Spelunky 2 stealing guide.


Buy the Jetpack When You Can

Of all the items in Spelunky 2, the Jetpack is arguably the most useful. It lets you hover and fly as long as it’s charged, and it can save your life several times over if you have it. It also saves you a ton of Rope because you won’t need to use any to climb. The only catch is that it’s very rare and incredibly expensive. If you find it in a shop, it’s absolutely worth getting. If you can’t afford it, you can always try to steal it, but try that at your own risk.

Never Stay Empty-Handed

You can pick things up off the floor in Spelunky 2, and these random items are actually incredibly helpful. Arrow traps are everywhere and deal large amounts of damage, and the only way to set them off is by putting something in front of them. Carrying a jar, a small rock, or even a pet will give you a way to disable any arrow traps without taking damage. You should be able to find something to grab when you need it, but try to always have something with you just in case. Being caught empty-handed with nothing around might leave you with no choice but to pass by an arrow trap and hope you don’t get hit.

- This article was updated on:September 16th, 2020

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