Little Nightmares II Review
Tormenting, haunting and breathtaking. All these words can be used to describe the first nightmare, but I wasn’t prepared for the new horror the second brought as I guided Mono from the forest and into the city through increasingly stressful situations. Little Nightmares II is here and it’s the thrilling sequel the first game deserved. Let’s get into it!
Just coming off my first completion of the story, I can say I felt like I was in a dream the entire time I played. Tarsier Studios took great care with this game and it shows. The world is refined and flows seamlessly between levels. These transitions between sections legitimately feel like a nightmare, and that’s something I don’t remember experiencing during the first game quite as much. I’d suddenly realize I was in a new environment and facing different dangers without knowing how it happened, but paradoxically not feeling out of place at all. One thing I’d like to address is that this game isn’t co-op. I was under the impression it would be through some of the marketing, but for now, the game leaves you to face this nightmare alone.
Tarsier Studios knows what they’re doing when it comes to game development. The first chapter; released in 2017, ran extremely well and Little Nightmares II is no exception. After waking up from a bad dream within a bad dream, players are plunged into a 2.5D world featuring platforming puzzles intermixed with climactic boss fights. I found myself frustrated numerous times trying to figure out the puzzle at hand, but the struggle was worth the triumph of finally figuring things out. Little Nightmares II reminds me a lot of Playdead’s Limbo and Inside in terms of environment and side-scrolling action. Pushed along by terrifying enemies my heart was racing to be back in this sort of setting.
Having played the first game recently, I was already familiar with the game’s mechanics and controls. The first chapter was very easy, so jumping back in felt familiar while still leaving room for the developers to add more options to the controls. There’s a lot of collectibles to find along the way in this game. Focusing on Mono’s hats and the glitching remains of other children, I found myself exploring every nook and cranny to locate these hats to try and brighten up this poor kid’s day. Mono is accompanied by Six, the main character from chapter one. Working together with an NPC can be frustrating at times, but this game maneuvers so well that I never found it to be an overwhelming problem. With an added companion comes a few new fun ways to work through the stages. Mono can call out to Six and hold her hand so that they can’t be separated while traversing the nightmare. Six and Mono seem to act as anchors for one another as they struggle to survive.
I can’t begin to properly explain how this game makes me feel. I love the dark atmosphere and existential dread it promotes through-out while ending on a note that makes me feel empowered. Every landscape in this game is a work of art. At no point during the game did I stop and think something felt out of place or underdone. The soundtrack is carefully produced to match the surroundings and make spaces feel incredibly small or extremely empty. It’s a soundtrack that’s easy to listen to on its own and will resonate with anyone that likes to stare off into space and think about their existence. The character design is also heavily nuanced, with enemies looking like something out of Body Snatchers. Countless times, I found myself entranced as I watched the characters move about their spaces and slowly reveal they’re not at all what they appear.
I love playing these games. I find the combination of platforming and puzzles extremely satisfying. Tie that up with a dark storyline and I’m a happy camper. I’ll revisit both titles time and time again simply to be back among their nightmarish realities. For an added touch of replayability, the game drives players to find all the collectibles with the promise of different endings if everything is gathered by the final scene.
Little Nightmares is one of my favorite games and I hope the series continues to grow over the years. I’ll be jumping back in to find my remaining collectibles and try to master a few unnerving areas I struggled with. Little Nightmares has a big heart and a lot of story to tell. Beware the thin man, and have fun!
And that’s the Borderline Bottomline for Little Nightmares II
Review Written by Addison Tossey