Curious Expedition 2 | Review | Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Maschinen Mensch
  • Publisher: Thunderful
  • Release Date: 11/08/2021
  • Price: £16.99 / $19.99
  • Review code provided by Thunderful

Introducing: Curious Expedition 2 Review

As a fan of Jules Verne and more specifically his works, Around the World in Eighty Days and The Mysterious Island, I was delighted to review Curious Expedition 2 on the Nintendo Switch. When I saw the spotlight shine on it during the latest Indie World Direct, Vernian vibes in video game form radiated brightly. The more I played, the more those parallels aligned.

Now, I’ll openly admit I’m not a complete stranger to the Curious Expedition games. I did buy the first one but only briefly played it. The case of the backlog blues quickly drowned the first title below the constant barrage of review games and a busy life. With its sequel, however, I couldn’t put it down. Though I may have slightly spoiled my review of Curious Expedition 2, let’s chart a path and explore this title some more.

Around the World

Curious Expedition 2 opens with a prologue of sorts. Famed explorer, Victoria Malin, is returning from Peru when a violent storm threatens to sink her ship. Rather than outrun the treacherous tides, Malin follows her intuition and demands the captain head into the storm. Chancing upon a mysterious island that doesn’t exist on any charts, Malin tasks her team to form an expedition and search the foreign land.

As you take control of the party and lead the expedition, this opening chapter acts as a tutorial to familiarize you with how the game is played. Furthermore, it sets the stage for the primary campaign that follows. As ill luck would have it, the island is swallowed up by a thickly purple fog. The team escape to their ship just in the nick of time as the island vanishes behind them. Malin leaves further explorations to you so she can obsessively hound clues about the vanishing island and an ancient machine hidden deep in its jungles.

It’s a nice setting that backs the gameplay well. I enjoyed the core story but beyond that, each expedition has its own tale. Every time you embark on a new voyage, you undertake a new quest. Each island you visit is unique with random creatures, dangers and local tribes. The procedural storytelling adds an alluring element that made it hard for me to stop playing.

A Most Mysterious Island

Curious Expedition 2 is a narrative adventure with RPG elements and a roguelike structure. From the comfort of Paris you plan for each expedition. There are a variety of places to visit to recruit new party members, improve stats and buy weapons and gear. Once you decide to embark, you’re given the option of what type of quest you’ll undertake. These can range from daring rescue missions to studying local tribes or proving vicious monsters exist. You can also select which exploration society will fund your adventure. Each of the three have unique items or characters you can take on your journey. The more fame you build for one will level up your standing and unlock access to better equipment. Prior to making landfall, whichever society is backing your current expedition will meet you with a selection of supplies. You won’t be able to take them all so what you select is important.

You explore each island on an overhead grid based map. The terrain determines how easy or difficult it is to cross and takes an amount of sanity. Sanity determines how long you can last in wild lands. Balancing your sanity is one of the key components to the gameplay. If you don’t budget it correctly, you could find yourself far from your goal with no hope of success. Some items replenish your sanity while others cause it to deteriorate. While navigating the randomly generated islands, you’ll find various points of interest to explore. Shrines offer rare and valuable treasure but you risk offending the inhabitants. Caves might offer shelter or hidden dangers. In most cases, you’ll use dice rolls to resolve the outcome of these random encounters. Failure can cost HP or sanity where successful rolls can garner better loot.

Combat uses these same dice. Battles are turn based but you don’t have select attack options. Instead, each party member has dice assigned to them which either have attacks, buffs or defenses. You get up to two rolls per turn and have to decide the best way to use what you’re dealt so to speak. Ultimately, Curious Expedition plays out like a procedurally generated, narrative driven digital board game with random encounters. And these combinations work incredibly well together to create an exciting experience.

Journey Through the Earth

Of the different artistic aspects found in Curious Expedition, none are greater than the tiny drawn character images bouncing up and down as they explore the luscious and varied maps. Especially if your party is made up of a large dinosaur, dog and giant tortoise. It’s spectacular. The rest of the sprites add comedy to the game and are astonishingly detailed. There are a lot of unique individuals, classes, races and creatures. They all made the world seem wonderful and alive. And, as you’re an explorer searching new lands, it was nice to see a mystifying world full of wonderment flow naturally within the game. The music and sound effects are on par with the rest of the quality production. The soundtrack offers a peaceful air at times of exploration but can quickly pivot to tunes of foreboding when the situation calls. The background noise and sound effects are subtle but play a critical role in building the world of mystery and intrigue while bringing life to the islands.

During my review of Curious Expedition 2, I had little to no technical trouble. Some battles got a little sluggish when I had a full crew facing off against a handful of baddies. It also stuttered once or twice when traversing larger tracts of land at one time on the map. Aside from those few minor occurrences, the game ran well and was fantastic on my Switch Lite. Those who prefer playing docked will also enjoy their time with Curious Expedition looking glorious on the big screen.

Final Wrap

I had a hard time turning Curious Expedition 2 off. It’s an exciting and addictive adventure with remarkable storytelling and great characters. The board game style gameplay with randomness and chance made every encounter, even the small ones, noteworthy. For the acceptable price, you’ll find a greatly repayable game of sound production that won’t disappoint. Curious Expedition 2 is a title I highly recommend and one that has found permanent residence on my limited memory card.


  • Amazing Story
  • Engaging Gameplay
  • Replayable
  • A Truly Epic Journey


  • Some Slow Downs on the Rare Occasion


Curious Expedition 2 will take you to fantastical worlds and leave a lasting impression.