I rarely pay attention to achievements in games. While it's nice to receive a message that something I just did was impressive or important, I don't usually go out of my way to find them. Unlocking achievements can be a fun way to test my skills, but some of them feel like they've only been included to lengthen my time with the game, rather than enrich it. This usually results in me feeling burnt out. Despite these reservations, I've recently dipped back into Spelunky, which is easily one of my favourite games of all time. In playing it everyday to prepare myself for the eventual release of its sequel, I've decided to see if I can unlock every achievement along the way.
Right now, I'm chipping away at five remaining achievements. As you'd expect, the ones I have left are demanding more time and attention than I'm used to investing. 'Big Money' wants me to obtain 500,000 gold and 'The Entire Gang' requires me to rescue all 16 hidden characters. I'm currently working on 'Low Scorer', an achievement that frequently highlights how poor my reflexes are by challenging me to finish the game without collecting any gold.
Every failed attempt is irritating as so much of this achievement feels like it rides on luck. As Spelunky is a roguelite, I'm aware that that excuse sounds a bit weak. Luck can play a huge part in successful runs, even if you're a skilled player. No-gold runs feel particularly awkward though. Gold bars can be tucked away behind the green canopy of trees in the Jungle levels, and behind snow in the Ice Caves. Despite the frustration this has caused me over the past few days, I'm determined to stick with it as I can see that I'm improving.
The best part about returning to Spelunky is that I'm still learning new things about it. Defeating Olmec without using bombs made it easier to finish the game in under eight minutes for the 'Speedlunky' achievement. I've also learnt that whipping stacks of gold and running through it at the perfect time doubles its value, which I'll need for another challenge. Even smaller improvements, like consistently whipping arrows while falling to avoid wasting a rope has made me more confident, and has shaved significant time off the clock. I'm far from topping the leaderboards, but knowing that I still have more objectives to overcome is spurring me on, even though some of them have me sighing at my monitor.
While the wait for Spelunky 2 feels neverending at this point, I want to believe that its release is sooner rather than later. Originally slated for 2019, it was delayed and is now pencilled to arrive some time in 2020. The last update we received was back in March when a handful of new Spelunky 2 screenshots were released, but Mossmouth has been very quiet since.