If you couldn’t get enough of Aveyond, then you’ll love Aveyond 2 as well. Amaranth Games has delivered another 2-D fantasy role-playing epic that rivals the first in terms of gameplay depth and length.

Aveyond 2 takes place several generations after the events of the first game, and focuses on two young elves named Ean and Iya. When Iya mysterious disappears one wintry morning, Ean sets out to find her only to discover that Iya’s disappearance is connected to a deeper scheme hatched by the Snow Queen to turn everyone in the world to ice.

There’s much more to the story than that, but we don’t want to give too much of it away. Needless to say, the size and scope of Aveyond 2‘s fantasy world is enormous. As you explore, you’ll visit environments including forests, desert, mountains and marshes, as well as towns where you can buy items and equipment. You’ll speak to characters who will give you side-quests to complete, or who might have something useful to say that will advance the main story along.

A handful of the people who Ean meets will offer to join his party and travel with him as an ally. Ean can recruit eight allies in total, some of which are optional, meaning they’ll only join if certain conditions are met. For example, Gavin the warlock and Nicolas the white mage don’t get along with each other, so you can only have one of them in your party at a time. Each ally has valuable skills to offer the party. Ean, for example, is a shape-shifter, meaning he can assume powerful forms (such as a beast or Cyclops) by using special collectible totems. Jack the thief is handy for opening locked chests, and Emma the warrior is handy with a sword.

Like Aveyond, combat in Aveyond 2 is turn-based, which emphasizes strategy and takes reflexes out of the equation. Basically, each side takes turns laying out what they want each character in the party to do, whether it’s attacking, defending, casting spells, or using items. Then both sides go at it, with every successfully landed attack draining a bit off of a character’s life bar.

With an engrossing main plot as well as dozens of side-quests to complete, you might well find yourself sinking 40 hours or more into Aveyond 2 if you’re determined to explore its every nook and cranny. As a taste of what you can expect over the course of your adventure, you can have your characters join guilds or fight in tournaments, make two of them fall in love with each other, buy a farm and stock it with animals from around the world, pilot a ship, and later on even fly on a dragon. You’ll get a different ending depending on choices you make in the game.

One of big differences with Aveyond 2 is that you can now control the game with the mouse, both to move the characters and to point and click on items to select them from menus. Personally I was fine using the keyboard’s four arrow keys and spacebar to make my way around, but the mouse is a welcome addition for players more comfortable with that input method and who found Aveyond’s keyboard-only interface awkward and restricting.

My main beef with Aveyond 2 is that you can’t flee from battle if you realize you’re woefully outgunned. Numerous times I’d find myself in a combat situation that I had no hope of winning, but instead of being able to run away and regroup, I had to let my party get annihilated and then restore from my last saved game. Luckily you can save the game anywhere and anytime, so I rarely lost much ground. Still, it’s an unpleasant situation to be in.

Other minor annoyances include the fact that characters ambling around the towns sometimes get in your way when you’re trying to walk (slowing up your progress when trying to move down a narrow lane-way, for example); merchant shops and inns aren’t always clearly marked, making it hard to remember where they are from town to town; and battles occasionally seem unfair, such as having to fight groups of toads that can put your entire party to sleep with a spell and then pick them off one by one as they nap.

In the grand scheme of things, these issues aren’t deal-breakers in light of the hours upon hours of enjoyment you’ll get out of Aveyond 2. Like its predecessor, it’s a great example of a "causal" role-playing game that delivers a delightful and accessible fantasy adventure.