VIDEO GAME REVIEW: ‘Little Nightmares II’

VIDEO+GAME+REVIEW%3A+%27Little+Nightmares+II%27

Can those of us who have played at least one of the games in this series agree that instead of “Little Nightmares,” it should just be called “Atmosphere, the Franchise?” 

“Little Nightmares II” is the newest puzzle horror game that comes to us once again from indie developers, Tarsier Studios, and is the sequel (or, a bit of a minor spoiler; prequel) to the highly-acclaimed 2017 horror title, “Little Nightmares.”

Whereas in the first game you played as the young girl Six traversing through the underground world of the Maw, you now play as a young boy named Mono with Six as your companion. Together, the two of you set out on a quest for survival as you learn the secrets of the Pale City, whilst you sneak, crawl and run away from the even more dangerous monsters and creatures than those featured in the first game.

Tarsier Studios has once again crafted a technical marvel in gaming, for this game is stunning in almost every way. The series continues its tradition of creating a game that has one of the most hauntingly chilling atmospheres these eyes have ever seen in gaming.

As you roam through the world, you constantly come across new and unique areas that make you feel that no matter where you go, danger lurks around every corner. Eerie lighting and creepy art design and details make you feel as if you are being watched by a sinister presence. The sound design and music score add to the unsettling and baleful atmosphere which constantly gave me goosebumps and chills no matter where I went.

This game (along with its predecessor) also does something really unique that a lot of games and even films don’t do, it relies on its atmosphere to scare and unsettle you rather than just having everything be up close and in your face. To me, that is astoundingly refreshing. Overall, atmospherically, this game is a technical achievement.

The creatures and the sections they oversee in this game make for some nail-biting, intense moments. This series utilizes what I believe to be its most effective gameplay mechanic, its implementation of cat and mouse chasing.

To clarify, the creatures in this game are all bigger than you, and in order to get past them you must sneak away very carefully and quietly. If you are not careful, they will hear you, start looking for you, and they just might find and eat you. There were so many occasions where I yelped as these menacing creatures looked under nearby objects (desks, crates, etc.) to try to find and eat me, and that made for some excellent white-knuckled tension.

My favorite area was the hospital. In it, you must escape multiple severed hands in one part, then flee from the clutches of living mannequins in the next. To put it straightforwardly, this game excels in creature design.

This game also has a quirky new feature, and that lies in the side quest of collecting hats. In the first game, Six only had one outfit, her signature yellow rain poncho. In this game, Mono starts off with a paper bag on his head with two holes for eyes, but as you continuously explore, there is the distinct possibility that you will come across another hat for him to wear. Just something amusing to consider in terms of collectibles for this game.

With all of that being said, there is one thing that plagues this game just like its predecessor: wonky controls. There were times when I was running from creatures, and Mono would constantly get stuck on the walls and just stop moving, which happened frequently. Depth perception is still an issue in this game, and it’s something I wish they would fix.

The game also glitched out on me sometimes, forcing me to restart from my last checkpoint. While this wasn’t enough to make me dislike the experience, it is still something to consider should you pick this game up.

Furthermore, playing this game alone was a great time; however, there are no multiplayer features. People may get confused as Six follows you everywhere, but despite her being there, she is not a playable companion. If you were hoping for a two-player experience, you will be disappointed.

To conclude, “Little Nightmares II” is an absolute blast to play. While it does have some technical issues with glitches and wonky movement controls, it still is a thrilling and fun experience that will give both fans of the first game and newcomers a good time.

A question that may be going through my readers’ minds is: “is it a prerequisite to play the original?” My answer to that is: no, not really. Would it help? Only a little bit as there are minor references to the first game, but it isn’t enough to make you confused as to what is going on. “Little Nightmares II” is now available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia.

If you are looking for an entertaining puzzle or horror game, this is the one for you! 

 

Jury Declares: Highly recommended