For some reason, Actraiser 2 completely strips out the civilization-building sim elements of the first game. With that unique element gone, what you're left with is just a hacky-slashy platformer that WOULD be pretty decent if the Master (your character) didn't control like a lumbering pile of garbage.

He shuffles around stiffly and slowly, and while he has a double-jump, it's the most terrible and overcomplicated double-jump ever. At the peak of the second jump, he'll automatically start slowly unfurling himself like a Transformer with arthritis, preparing to go into an automatic faceplant dive that forces you to veer sharply to either side. You can control it to some degree by holding left or right to "glide" (read: fall less sharply but still veer way off course) or down to just plow as straight down as possible as fast as possible (but still at a bit of an angle.) This mechanic could still have worked out if the levels were carefully designed around it, but it seems instead the levels were designed for a character who could double-jump normally, and then this floating-unfurling-whatthefuckever thing was hammered in by some idiot after design was already nearly complete. End result? Gameplay that is unbearably clumsy and packed with cheap hits.

It's a shame because otherwise the game is very nice looking and Yuzo Koshiro returns for another symphonic score that is also pretty decent. The game doesn't have a battery, forcing you to use passwords to pick back up, and I seriously wonder if that wasn't the whole reason they cut the "sim mode" - just simple cost-cutting to make the game cheaper to produce and rake up more of a profit off it (you have no stats or ways to grow your character in this one, so all it needs to remember is what levels you've cleared already.)

Videos :

* Gameplay Video