Growing up as a kid, I always had a fascination for movies, tv shows, and animated films centered around characters exploring exciting, yet dangerous worlds. Everything from The Goonies to Spirited Away to E.T. and even Little Monsters served the purpose of keeping me entertained as I watched in terror at kids my age trying to survive in scary and deeply complex environments. These childhood memories are a big reason why I loved Little Nightmares 2 and believe that this sequel is one of the first standout video game releases of 2021.
Little Nightmares 2 could be best described as a single-player puzzle-platformer survival horror adventure game. The previous entry in the series launched back in 2017 and featured a 9-year old girl named Six as the lead protagonist. Wearing her signature yellow raincoat, Six explored the depths of a hostile gigantic underwater vessel referred to as the Maw and had to contend with numerous puzzles and grotesque creatures towering over her. The sequel takes a slightly different approach by focusing on a different character named Mono, making Six an AI companion, and expanding the duo’s journey into Pale City, a world filled with dark secrets, challenging obstacles, and menacing adversaries at every turn.
Good Night, and Good Luck
Sweden based developer Tarsier Studios has achieved the goal of making a deeply powerful sequel with several tense-filled moments that are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. By making the decision to both expand the universe and introduce a new protagonist, they have ultimately raised the stakes in every way imaginable while giving players all the tools necessary to observe their surroundings and work together with Six to survive each and every encounter. Fans will also love that the story is double the length of Little Nightmares and solving puzzles is even more engaging than ever before.
When it comes to the platforming and adventure aspects of Little Nightmares 2, all of the core aesthetics remain the same with one key addition of light combat mechanics. There are certain instances within the narrative where you will have to fight back against enemies and timing and realism both play a factor in these scenarios. For example, being that Mono is just as small as Six this means that he struggles to use certain weighted items and weapons that are bigger than him. This means that if you’re holding a heavy weapon and an enemy is running towards you, then you’ll have to time your attack appropriately to avoid getting killed. When you consider just how important timing and precision are when traversing through this world, then you’ll instantly come to the realization of just how great this feature is and makes the overall experience even more immersive.
Surviving Pale City
While Six might not be the lead protagonist this time around, it simply can’t be stated enough just how important she is when it comes to gameplay. While there is hardly any dialogue spoken between Mono and Six, the way she reacts in certain circumstances easily gives clues as to what the player should do next. Not only is she helpful for solving puzzles, but she is also great at distracting enemies long enough for you to get the upper hand over them. The decision to bring the beloved character back and involve her in the central plot without making her playable might be considered risky by some but I personally think it was a very well thought out idea that both new and loyal fans of the series will appreciate.
From a visual standpoint, Little Nightmares 2 remains consistently breathtaking from start to finish. Capturing the dark and disturbing nature of Pale City and its oversized inhabitants was no small feat and you get a sense of this from the moment you start playing. The use of shadows throughout dimly lit corridors and the painstaking attention to detail for both characters and items really makes you want to explore every secret that this world has to offer. Even after you complete each stage, you do have the option to go back and collect hats and glitches that you might have missed out on. In a horror game, creating an atmosphere with visuals and sounds is supposed to be an important part of the core experience. Tarsier Studios absolutely didn’t miss a beat on this concept and in doing so has created a world that many players might not mind exploring over and over again.
The First Solid Video Game Release of 2021
In a nutshell, Little Nightmares 2 is a captivating sequel that is just as terrifyingly enjoyable as the first game. If you loved the original, then you definitely will have a blast with this follow-up and may agree that this is certainly a great video game release to start off the new year.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Little Nightmares 2 for the PlayStation 4 provided by Tarsier Studios and Bandai Namco Entertainment.