REVIEW: ‘Little Nightmares II’ Is Just as Wonderful as the First (PS4)

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Little Nightmares 2

Little Nightmares 2 is a suspense adventure game developed by Tarsier Studios and published by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment. Much like the first game, you play as a young child trapped in a horrific world, trying to survive. Unlike the first, you band together with a friend as you set out to discover the source of the evil transmission that is corrupting the world.

Little Nightmares 2 has a very similar premise to the original game. You’re a weak, innocent child in a corrupt world, running from monsters that vaguely resemble adults. However, there are a few differences, the biggest one being that there are two main characters. While gamers will play as a new character, Mono, anyone who has played Little Nightmares, should be quite familiar with the other main character, Six. The inclusion of Six begs the question of whether this game is either a sequel or a prequel. And although we’re not outright told the answer, many gamers agree as to which it is. But I won’t spoil that in this review; after all, the discovery is the best part.

An additional character is an interesting and exciting change to the game and produces plenty of new mechanics. Players will traverse various environments, jumping, climbing, and grabbing objects while avoiding traps and figuring out puzzles. And now you have someone to help you. Six will help Mono by boosting him up to higher places, pushing heavy objects, jumping across large gaps, and just generally aiding in puzzles. You can even hold hands! Normally I have a problem with the AI in many games, but not once did I have trouble with Six.

The bit of trouble I did have was because of glitches. While most of them were harmless, like unimportant objects clipping through walls or floors, the main one I experienced repeatedly was Mono not being able to interact with important objects. Thankfully, this glitch was easy enough to fix, and due to the plethora of checkpoints, I could back out to the main menu and then hit resume without losing much progress, and usually, the items were no longer glitched. Despite this, the biggest problem was not knowing an object was actually glitched. Often, I was forced to go look up a playthrough to make sure I wasn’t doing something wrong and it was actually the game.

But even with these glitches, the novelty that Little Nightmares 2 brings to not only the series but the genre makes it worth the playthrough. Little Nightmares was known for its oddly charming and faintly whimsical horror. And while Little Nightmares 2 continues that theme, we definitely see other sub-genres of horror seeping in like body horror. The game stays away from any graphic depictions of violence or gore, but Little Nightmares 2 feels much darker than the last game. The themes are much much less subtle—the horror deals with abuse, escapism, bullies, addiction, broken kids becoming the abusers, absent parents, and just general childhood fears. And, of course, much like the last game, there is the progression of corruption from outward to inward. The awful things children experience can follow them far into adulthood.

Because there is very little dialogue in the game, these themes all develop from the visuals. This is really what makes these themes so impactful. Players are never told outright what they’re seeing or experiencing, so it comes down to personal interpretation. It’s what made the last game so prominent, and it’s what also makes this game so compelling.

Little Nightmares 2

The game uses some jump scares to get your heart pumping, but the combination of audio cues and creepy visuals are what really bring the horror and thrill front and center. You’ll often hear sounds offscreen before you even see the source, effectively ramping up the suspense. When you’re close to a monster, you can not only hear Mono’s heartbeat thudding in your ears, but you can also feel his heart through the controller. Little Nightmares 2 incorporates as many of the player’s senses as possible to bring the game to life and place you right in the middle of the horror.

The enemies themselves are gruesome and horrifying, but they also create significant challenges, requiring players to outsmart enemies more often than outrun them. The game often throws players into new situations that require quick thinking. Although the game doesn’t give a lot of indication necessarily on how to handle problems, that’s where the fun lies. However, if you’re having trouble, try watching Six’s behavior; she’ll often give you clues to what you’re supposed to do. Thankfully, Little Nightmares 2 is very forgiving, and death won’t set players back very far.

The graphics are wonderful and effective. While Little Nightmares mainly occurred on a ship called the Maw, players will experience a wider range of environments this time, from a school to a hospital to rooftops. The use of dynamic camera movements helps not only direct players towards escape routes, but the zoom outs allow players to get a sense of how immense the world is and just how small you really are.

Despite some annoying glitches, Little Nightmares 2 is a game any horror fan should play. The controls are simplistic, but the puzzles and enemies provide plenty of challenge. While still charming, the horror feels darker, and the themes will have you thinking for a long time after you finish the game. While you won’t need to play the first game to understand the events of Little Nightmares 2, any fan of the series will have fun piecing together how these two games connect.

Little Nightmares II is available now on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Android.


Little Nightmares 2
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Despite some annoying glitches, Little Nightmares 2 is a game any horror fan should play. The controls are simplistic, but the puzzles and enemies provide plenty of challenge. While still charming, the horror feels darker, and the themes will have you thinking for a long time after you finish the game. While you won’t need to play the first game to understand the events of Little Nightmares 2, any fan of the series will have fun piecing together how these two games connect.