In 2009, solo developer Dustin Auxier unveiled what would become his most popular flash game. The Enchanted Cave has been played millions of times by gamers around the world, and inspired Auxier to pursue a sequel. Following a successful Kickstarter in 2014, he was able to leave his “dull programming job” and invest his energies in the project wholeheartedly. This month, he unveiled the fruits of his labor with the launch of The Enchanted Cave 2.
A strange cave is well known to the adventurers of the world because of its seemingly endless supply of treasures. With its hidden artifacts and secret chambers, it’s the perfect place for any budding mage, warrior, or alchemist to hone their skills and grow stronger. However, lately there’s been an unusual increase in the danger level of the cave, and more and more explorers are going missing, which begs the question of why.
The eponymous cave is an interesting place, consisting of 100 randomly generated floors filled with monsters and over 300 items to acquire. There is also a town near the cave, where the player character can talk to and even exchange equipment with locals, tourists, and fellow explorers. Most RPGs allow players to find treasures, but they can only keep and use those treasures on that same playthrough. EC2 has normal treasures which are of that ilk, but also offers special items called artifacts. These artifacts, along with the player character’s XP, gold, and stat increases, are permanent – they can be used again on future runs, if the player character is carrying them when they successfully escape the cave. But if the hero dies, they lose everything. This forces the player to consider whether a particular fight is worth the risk. “Too much greed is a vital theme, both in the gameplay as well as NPCs and storyline,” says Auxier.
Everything in the game was designed by Auxier himself – he created the art, wrote the story, did the programming – with one exception. He turned to an outside source for help with the music. Grant Kirkhope, the well-known composer of game music for titles such as Banjo-Kazooie and Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, came on board to score the adventure. “Development on The Enchanted Cave 2 took around a year,” says Auxier, “but the response so far has been wonderful.”
EC2 is available in two different versions. The flash version, which is free to play, consists of the base game. The paid version has an extended storyline, an additional 20 floors, four playable characters, and a larger cast of NPCs and monsters, as well as more loot, better resolution, and a new game plus feature. Mobile gamers can purchase this version for $2.99 USD from either the App Store or the Google Play Store. PC gamers, meanwhile, can find it on Steam for $4.99 USD, playable for either Windows or Mac. Follow Dustin Auxier on Facebook or Twitter to see what’s coming next for the Enchanted Cave franchise.