Developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Little Nightmares 2 is the follow-up to the 2017 game of the same name. With a new protagonist and a new location, Little Nightmares 2 aims to deliver a spine-chilling experience that is sure to be quite memorable. Has it been able to achieve this? I can safely say that yes, it has.
As you start the game, you’ll take control of a boy wearing a paper bag on his head by the name of Mono. He wanders through the wilderness and comes across an old shack where a girl called Six is being held captive by a masked hunter. After rescuing Six, the two set off across the water and enter Pale City, which is completely covered in mist. There, untold horrors await Mono and Six.
The story is quite enjoyable and develops at a steady pace as you progress through the game. From the very beginning, you’re essentially just thrown into the game and are set on your way. Various developments and twists occur as you play, giving you very little warning about what might happen next. I actually quite liked this as the surprises feel like exactly that, surprises. It really kept things exciting and made me anxious about how the story might play out.
Little Nightmares 2, just like its predecessor, is a 2.5D puzzle-platformer horror adventure game. As mentioned before, you control Mono, and aside from just normal movement through the environment, he’s also able to grab onto items. Larger items can be grabbed, dragged, and pushed around, whereas smaller items can be picked up and thrown. The platforming itself is also very smooth and it’s actually so easy to pick up and play purely because the control system is so simple. It’s not to say that the game is extremely easy, however, as you’re probably going to encounter some deaths. More than likely, you’ll die because you were a little overconfident when walking through one of the game’s many areas.
There’s even some combat in the game, but don’t expect to pick up a weapon and just destroy every enemy in the room with a few button presses, especially when you’re brandishing everyday items like a hammer or even a ladle. Little Nightmares 2 feels like an authentic representation of combat when you’re controlling a character who happens to be a child. There aren’t many of these encounters but each time you face off with an enemy, you really just have to execute one successful attack in order to pick up the win. However, this takes timing to pull off; swing too early or too late and your enemy will overpower you. Once you do get the timing down though, it feels so satisfying, especially in an encounter with multiple enemies.
The puzzles in the game are also pretty great and feel quite at home since it generally forms part of the environment. The way they’re laid out also really works as it keeps the gameplay quite fresh and never really feels like it needs to be switched up a bit. The addition of Six as an AI companion also helps as it makes for a nice blend of puzzling and platforming. I do actually feel that while Six is great as an AI companion, it would so much fun if there was a co-op mode from the game that maybe fell outside the main story.
Where Little Nightmares 2 truly shines is with its atmosphere. There is a constant eerie atmosphere from the moment you’re dropped into the game and this rings true for each respective area that you visit. It’s also creepy from start to finish; not so much that it’ll paralyse you with fear, but it’ll definitely deliver some unsettling feelings both in the environment, and with the hostile characters you’ll encounter.
Visually, Little Nightmares 2 looks fantastic. When the game starts off, you’re presented with this greyish environment with a gradient of blues. From that point on, Tarsier have done an excellent job in playing with lighting. Dimly lit rooms, dark corridors with a single, piercing sliver of light; these are just a few examples of how the lighting is used to enhance the experience. The character models of the various enemies you’ll encounter look great as well; of course, it’s great in the way they are incredibly creepy and will make you feel uneasy, that is.
The sound design is pretty much on par with the game’s visuals. There’s this subtle soundtrack in the background, which sets the tone nicely as you’re doing some platforming, but then there are these sudden, horrifying metallic screeching noises that really take you by surprise. Then there are the blood-curdling screams that ring out at certain points in the game, which are sure to, at the very least, make your hair stand on end.
Little Nightmares 2 is an excellent game. It delivers a decent story in a mysterious land and sports a good few twists. The gameplay is simple enough to pick up and play but will still provide a challenge when it comes to the puzzles. Speaking of which, these fit so well in the game’s overall aesthetic and are laid out so nicely, keeping the gameplay fresh. The lack of a co-op mode is a bit surprising given how well it would’ve worked in this game though. Despite this, Little Nightmares 2 is a satisfying platforming and puzzling experience that is sure to keep you enthralled until the credits roll.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows
Little Nightmares II was reviewed on PlayStation and can be purchased here for £24.99
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