They’re actually easier to use than in S1, but he did pick up on the split in behavior: ledges work one way, walls work another. There’s a good reason for that though. He just didn’t take enough time to get used to the new way.
No they really weren’t. Spelunky HD is built around a player-created mental myth. You imagine that the shopkeeper is dangerous, but his AI is really incompetent. Particularly if you start stealing in the black market, there was very little danger, and the fact that you get every single item and a gazillion bombs for free every run makes HD extremely monotonous. There’s still a chance to make a catastrophic mistake, but the game is way too easy due to this issue, and it doesn’t even take much skill.
HD plays really well if you don’t know how incompetent the shopkeeper is, and especially if you don’t know about the black market: it’s then a careful game of trying to make the best with whatever items you happen to come across or find in the shops. The more you know though, the easier and more monotonous the game gets.