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Little Nightmares II

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 24 - 2021

How much cheese did the developers have to eat before bed to come up with this little nightmare?

 
Puzzle platformers come and go, but some manage to dig themselves deep into our subconscious and hang around long past the final credits. Tarsier Studios’ Little Nightmares for 2017 is one of those games, drawing the player into a beautifully macabre world as they control raincoat-wearing Six as she tries to escape the Maw. Tarsier Studios is back now with Little Nightmares II, a game that improves on the first in every way, and even the little hero Six returns, although not as the primary character she was. Close your eyes, imagine your worst childhood nightmare and expect it to be made real in Little Nightmares II.

 


 
In Little Nightmares II, the player will control another small protagonist, this time a young boy called Mono. The frailty of Mono is obvious from the very start, especially when unexpected traps suddenly bring his life to an end even before the player has got to know him. Mono’s size, silence and tentative movement make the player want to do there best to keep this child safe, which will be a real uphill battle in this dark and dangerous world.

 
But Mono is not alone for long. Early on, he will come across Six, the protagonist from the first game, locked in a room and endeavour to rescue her. From this point on, the pair will work together to explore this world and perhaps find some safety. There will be times when the pair are separated, but Mono’s emphasis will always be to bring them back together. The player will be controlling Mono, with Six controlled by the AI and acting more as a companion, Although there are times when Six will take the lead, maybe pointing the player in the right direction to a solution, and she will also play her part in actions such as helping Mono reach high ledges, or allowing Mono to jump further across gaps by grabbing his hand on the other side. Little moments, such as when Mono takes Six’s hand to pull her along, give the relationship a heart-warming feeling that further contrasts the nightmare world.

 


 
Little Nightmares II is a puzzle platformer at heart and the interaction between the two characters will often form the solution to puzzles. Also, Six will sometimes drop subtle hints to solutions if the player pays attention. While the puzzles in the game may not be too tricky, they are mostly quite cleverly created and, much like the rest of the game, will stay on the players mind even after they have been solved. The platforming is generally light, albeit usually quite tense due to the circumstances. Mono’s movement can be quite clunky and slow, but thankfully Little Nightmares II is not about precision platforming, and Mono’s limited movement only adds to his sense of helplessness.

 
But Mono is not as helpless as he seems. Little Nightmares II introduces combat, although it does have limited use. Mono is able to pick up certain objects, such as a massive pipe, that are obviously far too heavy for him. When he moves with these objects, they will be dragged along behind him with so much effort. These items will be needed to smash through walls, or they can be used to fight certain enemies. This is where things may get a little difficult, as Mono is slow to swing the objects and as such needs perfect timing or the element of surprise to actually make contact with the enemy. Alternatively, Mono is quite good at sneaking around and staying hidden, so stealth is generally a better idea than all out combat where possible.

 


 
The gameplay is enjoyable and varied, but it really is the setting that will keep the players wanting to keep coming back for more. The game starts out in a creepy swamp but quickly takes Mono and Six to a derelict city, where a broadcast signal seems to be having a strange effect on inhabitants. Players will move spend time exploring different locations, each as nightmarish as the last, and trying to avoid or escape from the inhabitants, which are a ghoulish lot for the most part.

 
The attention to detail in Little Nightmares II is amazing, building an atmosphere of dread that is as difficult to turn away from as it is to watch. Those wishing to do Mono or Six harm are the stuff of childhood nightmares, grotesquely twisted to leave the player feeling uneasy. The environments are filled with little details, and mostly dark and packed with shadows to build that sense of foreboding that leaves the player imagining threats around every corner. The sound work only adds to the atmosphere. There is an absence of dialogue through the game, but that only builds the sense of mystery and unease. But the well paced music, and the at times utterly disturbing sound effects, all round out a wonderfully polished game.

 
Little Nightmares II is not the longest game, running at around the six hour mark, but it seems a perfect length for a title as intense as this. To add some replayability, players can hunt the game for hidden hats that Mono can wear to change his appearance if they choose.

 


 
With constant threat, platforming, stealth, puzzle solving, chase sequences and even a small amount of combat, Little Nightmares II has a touch of everything. However, it is the way all of this comes together into an impeccably polished final package that makes the game shine. Fans of the first game will not be disappointed, but for any gamer looking for a memorable, haunting experience, Little Nightmares II will make its mark.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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