Little Nightmares was a delight to fans of horror games when it released back in 2017. Treading the tried and, at that point, tired 2.5d side scrolling horror genre, with the task of going head-to-head with defining games like Limbo and Inside, Swedish developers Tarsier Studios did not just rise up to the occasion but managed to deliver a game that had an identity of its own, thanks to its excellent visuals, eery atmosphere and charmingly grotesque character designs.
We at iXie Gaming had reviewed the game shortly after its release and recommended the game strongly. Almost four years after the original, the studio returns with a sequel to a now revered game.
Does Little Nightmares 2 measure up to the standards of its predecessor, or does it fall prey to delivering more of the same with little to no changes. Let’s find out. This is the review of Little Nightmares 2.
There is no other way to put it. Little Nightmares 2 is a fantastic follow-up to its predecessor. One that understands what worked well in the first game and cranks all of those elements up to eleven, while also slightly altering the gameplay structure to keep things from feeling stale.
The story, this time revolves around a different character, who although is assisted by the one from the first game as an AI companion. This may sound as a cause of concern for some, but the AI for your partner in the journey is mostly on-point.
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For example, she would often point towards the right direction when stuck and provide hints to solve puzzles in subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways.
The little interactions and emotions between the two conveyed through animations actually made me miss my AI partner in scenarios she wasn’t around. Staying true to this attention to nuances, the developers often find a way to make any element that has been added or removed from the previous game, meaningful and of value in some way or form.
Those changes being the occasional combat scenarios and an overall bump in quality across the board from visuals, sound, character design and everything in between. But it is in the way everything is executed that makes it such a joy (or dread, in a good way) to play.
The minimalist control scheme from the original returns and the bulk of the run time is spent navigating the often-perilous environment while playing hide and seek with monsters, along with some puzzles and aforementioned combat.
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The way each of these elements are peppered throughout the game keeps the experience fresh. And when a previously played out gameplay trope returns there are enough changes to keep you invested the next time around.
One of the biggest strengths of the game is the environments these gameplay elements are carried out on, if my praises hadn’t already made that clear. Each area is distinctly different from one another and the fantastic sound design within each environment that accentuates ambient noises, a chilling background score, and sometimes, silence, really helps the unsettling feeling sink in when you play.
Add in all of these together and we have a game employs some clever techniques to induce tension to the one with the controller.
There are, however, some flaws like in any game. Platforming in some areas can be hit or miss, which in a game like this can easily result in some frustrating moments. Some of the puzzles require a fair bit of trial and error.
The story is as ambiguous in the sequel as it was in the original and leaves a lot to interpretation. This can often lead to some players, myself included, just enjoy the moment while in game and not bother too much about the lore, which is a shame considering how beautifully dark and creepy the setting is.
And of course, despite everything new in this game, there are moments that feel a bit too familiar to the original at times. Fortunately, at least in my case, the original was a game that I would not mind more of. So this was not an issue for me.
Overall, Little Nightmares 2 is a must play if you are a fan of horror games and if you loved the original. There is a sense of dread that encapsulates you through most of the game’s run time, which, in the end, is the biggest compliment a game like this can get.
While may be not at the level of, say, Resident Evil 7, Little Nightmares 2 is at time nightmare inducing – no pun intended. The game has some of the best art and sound design with gameplay that is tense and precise, for the most part.
The result is a consistently gripping and often nerve-wracking experience that is well worth your time. For a person like me, who does not sit well with horror in general, games or otherwise, I came out surprisingly entertained with the original game. Even more so with Little Nightmares 2. Find a dark room, a large TV, and decent pair of headphones, and take a trip to this haunting world.