The Sun for the Vampire 2
Who says vampires are always children of the night? Not Eyesteam! The plucky protagonist of The Sun for the Vampire is an adorable little wraith who's grown tired of the nightlife; he just wants to see the sun without worrying about a killer sunburn. And since his previous excursion in learning how to day-walk didn't work out so well, he's back for another platform game challenge in The Sun for the Vampire 2. At the behest of an old wizard, he's plumbing the depths of a brand-new dark and spooky castle in search of the secret to vampire sunblock, and this time, he'll be putting his noggin to the test! While his last adventure was a foray into high-difficulty platforming, this castle brings far more puzzle elements to the party. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move around. The vampire still can't jump; instead, he uses the up [arrow] or [W] to turn into a bat and fly around. But all the flying he did in the last game must have tired him out, because now, he can only go batty for a limited time! On the upside, he's been working out, and can now lift and throw boxes using [S] or the down [arrow]. He'll have to cleverly flip switches, toss crates, and even figure out how to use his deadly enemies to his advantage! So although there are still plenty of wooden stakes and silver knives in his path, this vampire's second outing feels like a surprisingly different game from his first.
The Sun for the Vampire 2 does exactly what a good sequel should do. It expands on, and refines, the concepts of the original while taking them in new directions. The first game did have a few minor puzzle elements, but largely focused on precision flying segments. Due to the limits placed on flying in this game, those parts get cut down in size, while expanding the block-pushing and switch-flipping. For those who had trouble with the bat's inertia-intensive controls in the first game, this is quite the blessing. However, these portions still remain very tense, as you'll have to make sure to land safely before your flight runs out! Because there's fewer flight gauntlets, the levels as a whole have gotten smaller and sorter, which means you'll lose much less progress when you die or reset. The puzzles are largely box-oriented, focusing pushing and throwing large crates around, but the game shows a surprising amount of creativity in the number of things it does with that single mechanic. Crates can be used as weights, stepping stones, weapons, and even shields! And although they can be failed, many of these puzzles are surprisingly generous as well. They'll often give you several boxes to work with, so you can lose or break a few before needing to restart. The physics can be a little finicky, and finding exactly the right spot to toss a block from is trickier than it should be. And of course, your bat form still takes an awful lot of practice to learn to properly control. But The Sun for the Vampire 2 goes to lengths to make itself much fairer, while still providing plenty of challenge. Add in a pinch of innovation, and you've got yourself a truly polished follow-up. How's that for a ray of sunshine?