Enchanted Cave 2 is a superior sequel in all the right ways. The original Enchanted Cave was a simplistic flash-based, very lightweight roguelike that saw you going down to the bottom of a dungeon for some purpose. Kill monsters, fight the big boss, collect items along the way, you know, the usual.
The sequel is still a roguelike, still very lightweight, still very much the same as the original, but the improvements make all the difference. The original’s levels had, despite some randomization, always the same, very small, square layout with few variations. The levels in the sequel allow for a far wider range of sizes for individual rooms and how the rooms and floors on each level are connected, making for a more organic look and more variety.
Enchanted Cave 2 has a simplistic but effective crafting system that allows for different approaches. You can improve HP regeneration, or instead go for MP regeneration and using spells more often, or you can focus on specific attack or defense effects.
I’m hesitant to call it a pure roguelike, as the game has a sort of metagame going on that allows for some items to survive individual character-deaths, a spell that later on allows you to slip all items past death, as well as a save-function. Still, it’s closer to roguelikes than most games that are called RL’s these days.
Despite the improvements, the game is still rather simplistic, not requiring much of a tactic and or even strategy, just patience and the ability to tell when to break off from a run, save and go at it again later. Still, it’s simple and easy, but fun and the 20-hours or so I spent on going through the game felt like much less time than that and a lot more fun.
The simplicity of the gameplay makes the last 20 levels (of 100) or so a bit more of a grind, but if you don’t try to fight everything and rather make runs to get to the final boss, even that time will fly by.