Little Nightmares 2 Review
Less than four years after the original release, Tarsier Studios’ Little Nightmares 2 is now upon us. Does the sequel improve upon the first game, or should the team move onto something new? Check out our review and find out.
Little Nightmares 2 Review
Little Nightmares 2 starts with you waking up in a creepy forest. You don’t know who you are, how you got here, or how to escape. There is a brief tutorial that teaches you the basics of the game, but after that the nightmare begins. Someone has been laying bear traps and other hunting traps to catch people. When you finally find out who the culprit is, you realize just how much danger you are in. A giant hunter is capturing people and stuffing them as one would do to animals.
While sneaking through his cabin, you find a young girl that is your size. Though she runs away at first, she eventually joins you on your getaway. There is a tense chase scene that ends in your escape from the woods, but this is nowhere near the end for these two. The city that they arrive in is just as twisted in as the woods they narrowly escaped, with piles of clothes depicting that whatever happened here took people away without any warning. Those left want to kill you and your friend at any cost. The title runs for approximately six to seven hours, but there was a lot of trial and error involved during that time frame.
Little Nightmares 2 is a horror puzzle-platformer with a dash of combat. You spend most of your time solving puzzles and finding keys to move on to the next area. The puzzles get more and more intricate and complicated as you go deeper into the game. Some had me stumped for up to ten minutes, but the limited amount of actions you can do means that the solution is just something you haven’t thought of yet.
After the puzzles comes the chase. Something always triggers the boss to hear or see you as they chase you down. It can get pretty tense, since one screw up will lead to you getting caught.
Combat is not what you’d typically find in the horror genre. You can sometimes find axes or pipes that can be used to bash smaller enemies. Because of your tiny size, there is a slight delay with each swing. This means that you need to time it right or you are the one who dies. It doesn’t matter what hits you; you die in one shot. It is an excellent addition to the sequel that doesn’t overstay its welcome. You only have to use it a few times, so you don’t get burned out on it.
Trial and error plays a massive part of the game. There are a boatload of traps in this game, which change from area to area. You are going to die, and you will likely die a lot. The checkpoint system is generous, but sometimes you have to redo annoying parts. If you do not enjoy this type of gameplay, you will not enjoy Little Nightmares 2. When you have to play through a single section 15 times in a row, you can quickly get burned out. That said, there is always a solution if you keep grinding.
Having a young girl travel with you might feel like an escort game, but that isn’t the case. Oftentimes she will be the one who leads you to where you need to hide. She was never once caught, except when it had to happen while I was sneaking. She helps you climb over taller obstacles, holds switches for you, and will drag you up a cliff if a jump is just a little too far. You split up pretty often as well, so you aren’t always babysitting her. All things considered, she is a pretty useful AI partner – a rarity in games today.
As far as optional content goes, there are two things to find. Your character wears a hat, and you can find them hidden throughout the levels – I found four out of 12 or so. They are hidden well and easily missed, so keep your eyes open. You also run into what are called glitches. These are shadow silhouettes of small people like yourself. I’m not sure what these unlock, but something is supposed to happen if you get enough. Again, these are hidden about as well as the hats, as they blend into the scenery and are hard to see. Completionists can bank on a couple more hours of play time.
There is one thing that this game absolutely nails: the atmosphere. The sound design, art direction, and level layouts all give off a creepy vibe. While you don’t know where you are, you really do not want to be here. It isn’t horror in the classic sense, but more of an intense feeling of dread as you play. To put it another way, I never jumped in fear, but I was very tense during many sections. I also recommend using a headset or headphones for this game. There is one puzzle in particular near the end that relies on sound to solve. It sounds decent enough with speakers, but it is a much better experience with a good pair of headphones.
Little Nightmares 2 improves upon the original with more terror, better puzzles, and a fantastic atmosphere. Fans of horror or puzzle games shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up.
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