Review: Little Nightmares II delivers a superbly sinister follow-up to its predecessor

escape a grotesque monster crawling across the ceiling. The chase, in which I failed several times, ends with me luring my pursuer into the incinerator. My AI partner removes the ventilation cover nearby so I can leave the cell. While our stalker is locked inside, we close the door of the incinerator and turn it on. Now that the job is done, I start to leave, but my partner sits down and warms himself to the heat of the monster’s fiery grave. I suddenly feel uncomfortable with her lack of morality and, shockingly, I begin to sympathize with the creature burning inside her.

Little Nightmares II is full of scary moments like this. The latest installment in Tarsier Studios’ horror series isn’t redefining the genre, but the creepy world, unsettling character, and gripping plot made the strange plots and existentialist ending linger with me long after the credits rolled.

Dual Problems

You play as Mono, a young boy whose world has been turned upside down by a mysterious emission from a distant tower. Mono must travel through places like a haunted forest, a scary school, and a horribly creepy hospital to get to Pale City and discover the reason for the broadcast.

Unlike its 2017 predecessor, Little Nightmares II, you’re not alone on your journey this time around. Six, the main character of Little Nightmares, joins you after you save her from one of the game’s many enemies. Not only is this a fun throwback that fits in with the continuity of the series, but it also populates the world of Little Nightmares II with more challenging puzzles.

With Six as your AI partner, the puzzles in the game are more complex than in the first part of the franchise. Some solutions may not seem obvious at first, but Six helps to simplify things. It gives little hints if you get stuck in certain areas, or acts as an extra means of locomotion – Six can zoom you into inaccessible areas or grab your arm from another platform if you need to cross an impassable canyon – to show you the way. These additions feel natural, albeit unusual for a co-op game, but with gentle tendencies rather than the game dictating them to you, no method insults your intelligence.

There are some puzzles you have to solve alone, but it’s a refreshing change, much like the puzzles in Little Nightmares. In that case, all you have to do is look around for clues on how to deal with them, and they usually come in the form of objects nearby, such as… B. Keys.

One, two, we come to you.

If the puzzles aren’t there, the monsters usually are – and Little Nightmares II is full of them. From porcelain bullies to hospital dolls, enemies populate the neighborhoods in and around Pale City. As in the first game, your best chance of survival is to hide. This is not always possible, and in this case, offense is the best defense. From time to time you’ll find weapons to attack, but using them isn’t as easy as it seems. Hammers and axes are awkward objects for a child, so you have to time your movements perfectly to defeat your enemies. Little Nightmares II’s combat mechanics can feel a little clunky, but overall they are a great addition to the gameplay.

Other times, weapons or disguise are not enough. Running away from the larger and more formidable enemies is the only option in these circumstances, especially when you face them at the end of each level. Some of the chases are truly terrifying, and the inclusion of platforming sections for them is as inventive as it is frustrating. Time is everything, and one misstep can lead to an early end to mononucleosis.

If you are beset by death more than once, make peace with it now. Little Nightmares II is a merciless game, and you will die often. Monsters catch you, small enemies get hit before you do, and environmental hazards raise the price of your blood. Fortunately, Little Nightmares II’s autosave feature works regularly, so you don’t have to worry about losing 20 minutes of progress when you bite the dust.

Horrible seizures

Little Nightmares II is a well designed title, but it has its weaknesses. There were a few instances where, although I seemingly avoided an enemy capture, I still got caught and found myself in front of a Game Over screen. A little annoying, sure, but a little annoying considering I’m supposed to be out of their clutches. At other traps, Mono got stuck on a plant I thought I could climb, forcing him to return to my last checkpoint. Fortunately, these incidents occurred a minute or two after the last autosave, so there wasn’t much to hold onto.

Some fans will be disappointed that Little Nightmares II isn’t much longer than its predecessor. The typical play time is six to eight hours, but if you want to find all the collectibles and secrets, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to replay the game. Thanks to the chapter selection, you also don’t have to replay the entire game, which is always nice.

Pronunciation

Little Nightmares II is an atmospheric and unsettling experience that will stick with you after the dust settles. It is more comprehensive than its predecessor and describes the scary and violent world in which Mono and Six live. The art direction is beautiful, and the creepy soundtrack only adds to the creepy atmosphere.

The complex game mechanics and short play time may not be everyone’s taste, but Tarsier Studios’ latest creation has plenty to offer. The plot is both a standalone and a continuation of the Little Nightmares story, and the many secrets and collectibles mean you’ll have to play two or three times to find them all. It will be interesting to see where the franchise can go – especially from a story standpoint – but given how great Little Nightmares II was, Tarsier Studios shouldn’t worry about diving back into their beloved series in the future.

+ An incredibly disturbing sequel to the first part of the franchise.
+ The cooperative mechanism adds new and interesting elements to puzzle solving and alternative solutions.
+ A strangely surprising plot that leaves you asking more questions about this world.
+ A huge amount of replayability thanks to the many secrets and collectibles.
The fight looks a little uncomfortable.
Disturbances can lead to irritation.

Disclosure: The game code was provided for review.

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