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Spelunky 2 beginner’s guide

Back at it again

An adventurer in Spelunky 2 rides a turkey Image: Mossmouth, BlitWorks/Mossmouth via Polygon

Spelunky 2, like its predecessor, will have you cursing the game dozens of times before the end of your first play session. Whether you’re a veteran of the franchise or coming to the series for the first time, prepare to meet your end ... a lot.

However, death also gives you an opportunity to learn something new that could help you live longer and dive deeper into the game. That’s because each time you restart a run, new and unique level layouts are procedurally generated. That means the only way to get good at Spelunky 2 is to learn what hazards do, how enemies attack, and how to navigate all the way to the bottom, regardless of level layout.

Spelunky 2 is not an easy game. It will take hours of practice to learn the unique nature of each enemy and trap. In time, you’ll understand how each threat affects you, and you’ll be better equipped to handle them, regardless of what configuration they may be in.

In this Spelunky 2 beginner’s guide, we’ve assembled our best tips and tricks to help you last longer each run. While only experience teaches the best lessons, this guide will give you an advantage from the start.

Each life is an experiment

Don’t expect to make any meaningful progress during your first few runs of Spelunky 2. Instead, treat each life as an experiment.

If you encounter a new trap or enemy, approach cautiously. You can try avoiding any new obstacles, or commit that run to understanding this new threat. If it’s a trap, get near it to see what it does. Lure an enemy to the trap and see if it will trigger. Better yet, throw something at it and see what happens.

A character in the caves of Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth, BlitWorks/Mossmouth via Polygon

When you encounter a new enemy, see how close you can get before it notices you. Then, once it does, pay attention to how it attacks. What angle of approach does it take? Can you safely dispose of it with your whip attack, can you jump on it to defeat it, or should you throw something at it? Risk ending your run to find the answers, so that next time you encounter them, you’ll know what to do.

Each run should be less of a race to the bottom and more of an information-gathering session. How much can you learn about traps and enemies this time? The more you know, the safer — and smarter — you’ll travel next time. Once you feel confident that you understand the whims of all the threats around you, only then should you seriously venture further into the game.

Don’t leave the pet behind

In each run of Spelunky 2, you start off with four hit points and little opportunity to regain lost health. You can also find a pet that revitalizes you. (By default it’s a dog, but you can change it to a cat or chinchilla in the game’s settings.) If you make it to the exit with your pal intact, it’ll give you a little kiss before the next stage, increasing your health by one point.

Finding the pet isn’t always easy, but it tries its best to help you. As you make your way through each zone, you may eventually hear it make noise — be it a bark, meow, or squeak. Follow the sound, and you’ll find it hidden in that level. If you’re lucky, you can safely walk up to it and grab it like you would with any other object. Other times, you may need to use a bomb or rope.

The pug in Spelunky 2
Not only are they cute, but they give you health!
Image: Mossmouth, BlitWorks/Mossmouth via Polygon

Once you start carrying your pal, safely bring it to the exit. Like you, the pet has several hit points. It can die if it takes enough hits or it falls into an instant-kill hazard like spikes.

A new pal will appear in the next area, whether you save the last one or not, which means you will get more than one opportunity per run to gain health. A pet can even replenish your HP beyond the base four hit points you start with.

There are other ways to get health in Spelunky 2 — see what happens when you bomb a turkey, for example — but the pets are the most straightforward.

There’s always a logical path

Every time you start a new Spelunky 2 run, the entire layout of each dungeon is automatically generated based on a few rules.

Each level always pulls from the same supply of hazards, enemies, and special conditions. There will always be a definitive and direct path from the entrance to the exit of each room, too. That means you can (technically) get to the end of each stage without having to use your ropes or bombs to make a creative path downward.

A sloth stands on a sacrifice table in Spelunky 2 Image: Mossmouth, BlitWorks/Mossmouth via Polygon

If you ever reach a dead end on your way to the bottom, try going back the way you came and look for a clear path. There will always be one. Of course, the way forward might be filled with monsters and booby traps, but as long as you know how to deal with them, you can find a logical way down.

When in doubt, you can always use one of your finite amount of bombs and ropes to make your own (potentially safer) path.

When to use bombs and ropes

You start each run with four bombs and four ropes. Be creative with these tools and make your own paths.

Since supplies of both are limited, it’s best to understand when to use them. You can also find them for sale at shops that randomly appear on each floor, but don’t rely on that happening.


Bombs explode, destroying most everything around them and killing anything in their blast radius. Bombs are a great tool for creating shortcuts, freeing up hidden currency stuck in the ground, and taking out pesky enemies.

They explode after a short timer, so getting the right placement is key. If you crouch and hit the bomb button, you’ll do a short toss and drop it near where you are. Pressing a direction and the bomb button will launch it in that direction.

You should take care when using bombs, but you should exercise extra caution when using them to make a path to reach a pet. Bombs kill pets.


Ropes launch upward from where you’re standing and allow you to climb them.

Use ropes to pull yourself out of a dead end, which may appear if you’re using bombs.

Ropes are also useful if you’re trying to reach a better vantage point and avoid a trap by going above it. You can also place a rope above a long drop to make a safe way down (as we do in the video above).

After you launch a rope, it takes a moment for it to catch and unfurl. You can’t instantly save yourself by tossing one while falling. However, if you set one up while jumping across a gap, you can then use it to climb down (as we also do above).

Always hold something

In Spelunky 2, there’s very little standing between you and death. On offense, your whip is slow and has terrible range. However, each level is littered with objects — even the dead bodies of foes — that you can take advantage of.

Whether you choose to use throwable objects defensively or offensively, always hold onto something that you can toss.

To pick up any item, crouch down and press the interact button. You can hold onto small objects like rocks, skulls, and pots indefinitely.

You can jump on or hit some enemies with your whip and temporarily knock them out. When they’re incapacitated, they’ll have a little chicks swirling over their head. In this state, you can pick them up and throw them. If they wake up, you’ll take damage. If an enemy takes too much damage, they’ll be permanently knocked out, and you can hang onto them as long as you like.

An item you’re holding also serves as a shield. For instance, if you’re holding an enemy and an arrow trap shoots at you, it will hit what you’re holding instead of you you.

An adventurer holds a rock in Spelunky 2
You should always have something you can toss.
Image: Mossmouth, BlitWorks/Mossmouth via Polygon

Throwables are great for purposefully triggering traps and taking out enemies at a distance. You don’t have a lot of defensive or offensive options in Spelunky 2, but having an object to toss greatly increases your chances of survival.

Always look ahead (or down)

One of the easiest ways to end a run is by jumping down a hole, sight unseen, and ricocheting off several enemies and hazards. Imagine making your way to a lower level without taking precautions and instantly ending a run by falling into a pit of spikes.

To avoid this headache, always look before you leap. Never move forward or jump to a lower area without knowing what’s ahead of you. Always be mindful of traps and enemies.

When getting ready to jump to a lower level, crouch down to look ahead. Do it long enough, and your camera will dip down and give you a preview of what’s below you. From there, you can safely make a plan for what’s next.

Get that first shortcut open

You’ll have to survive many levels to make it to the end of Spelunky 2. However, you don’t have to do them all in a single run. If you complete the first four stages of the first area, you’ll have the chance to create a shortcut.

Mama Tunnel, aka Terra, talking about shortcuts in Spelunky 2
Bring the right supplies, get a shortcut
Image: Mossmouth, BlitWorks/Mossmouth via Polygon

To create shortcuts, reach the final floor of a certain level multiple times while also meeting several requirements, like bringing a certain amount of cash or bombs. After meeting each requirement, a fast travel option will open up in the starting area that lets you head directly to the last shortcut you unlocked.

Unlocking the first shortcut requires making it to the end of level 1-4 three times. The first time you make it there, you’ll need to bring $2,000. The next time, you’ll need to bring a single bomb. To complete the shortcut, you’ll need a whopping $10,000 on your last visit.

There are three shortcuts to unlock in Spelunky 2, with one appearing at the end of the first area, the third area, and the fifth area.

Seriously, try co-op

The original Spelunky supported co-op, but the sequel supports online co-op, which makes teaming up a lot easier. While playing in co-op requires a fair bit of coordination, it actually makes the game much easier because of the way it handles death.

When one of the co-op players dies, they become a ghost that can float around and blow puffs of wind to knock objects off ledges. They can also charge up a wind attack to unleash an ice beam blast, which can be tremendously helpful to the still-living player.

You can also revive ghost players if you find a coffin. While this will bring them back, they’ll have very little in the way of gear, so sometimes it’s best to just leave someone as a helpful ghost.

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