The Fanatical Blog
Little Nightmares II review - What the game got right
By Sam Jones - 9th Feb 2021Games
We played the sequel ahead of release, and here's what we thought of it!
Travelling through old television sets and being chased by monstrous creatures - just your average day in the big Pale City!
Following on from the launch of Tarsier Studios and Bandai Namco's hit 2017 game Little Nightmares, Little Nightmares II is the latest dark puzzle adventure game in the series which has brought some of the most intriguing character & environment designs into our lives. With new places to see, new characters meet and yet more adventures to have, we were itching to jump back into Tarsier's unique, twisted virtual world and see what Six and new protagonist Mono get up to.
Join us as we look at what Little Nightmares II got right in our review!
Capturing the atmosphere
Tarsier’s Lucas Roussel told me in an interview prior to the game’s launch that the team would “capitalize on our strengths” in the sequel, and I’m pleased to say that they’ve done just that. Little Nightmares introduced a weird Tim Burton-esque atmosphere in video game form, and the important thing was to ensure that this experience was replicated and evolved going into the sequel.
Little Nightmares II still provides that same charming, eerie environment that makes the player feel vulnerable as a small child in a dangerous world - yet powerful in the sense that you can outsmart some of the gruesome, menacing enemies that appear throughout the game.
You play as Mono, a small paper bag-wearing boy who finds himself embarking on a big adventure, from the dark and creepy cabin in the ‘Wilderness’ to the end goal of reaching the ‘Signal Tower’ and, ultimately, finding the source behind what on earth is turning Pale City’s residents into zombified TV junkies.
Fortunately, you’re not alone in your endeavors as Six, the protagonist from the first game, accompanies you as an NPC. Together, you’ll solve tricky puzzles and avoid the monstrous characters within each location.
The original game had some pretty vile, spine-chilling characters that Six had to escape from, not forgetting the grotesque Twin Chefs, and Little Nightmares II continues that trend with some bizarre antagonists that you really wouldn’t want to meet in real life. Unlike most enemies who are quick to catch up and grab Mono with their hands (or mouth), The Hunter is a long-range attacker with his rusty shotgun - think of him as a dark and disturbed Elmer Fudd.
Using boxes and other points of cover is the only way to get away from his attacks, so I wouldn’t recommend waiting around for too long. The Teacher was, for me, one of the creepiest characters in Little Nightmares II as she shares similar characteristics with that of The Janitor from the Little Nightmares.
While The Janitor had gangly arms that would stretch out to grasp hold of you, The Teacher has a long, winding neck that she uses to reach high or far locations if she hears a sound. Disturbing her class and seeing her head poke around the door and continue to keep unwinding further into the room as you hide in a box gives a true heart-in-mouth feeling - and I’m glad to say that escaping The School was a big relief.
There’s very little dialog in Little Nightmares II, much like the first game, but the weird screeches and cries from your enemies and the atmosphere created around them gel together to create a suspenseful playstyle.
Great new features
As with any follow up sequel to a popular launch, it’s important to keep the same core or essence of the series and add to it. Tarsier Studios took feedback on board from gamers and has provided a number of quirky new features which I certainly enjoyed, and so will you.
The most obvious feature is that Mono, unlike Six, can pick up melee weapons scattered across various points of each chapter. Using pipes, butchers knives, and axes can take a little getting used to as they rely on momentum and reaction times, but within no time you’ll be bringing hard justice down on smaller pesky enemies such as The Bullies and The Living Hands.
With Six along for the ride, a host of co-operative NPC features also make an appearance. Six will approach certain hard to reach locations such as shafts and offer a boost up for Mono to progress. In addition, you can also whisper/call to Six to get her attention (do it enough times and you might just unlock an achievement) as well as hold her hand to escort her wherever you need her to go - just in case she didn’t hear your 30th “Hey!”.
For me, one of the fantastic features in Little Nightmares II was adding an enemy type that is reactant to light and dark. In The Hospital, you’ll find yourself wandering around rooms filled with The Patients, a terrifying mixture of mannequins and corpses combined in one sickening Frankenstein-like manner.
When the lights go out, these enemies truly come to life, creeping towards Mono and Six in search of their next victim - but as soon as the lights come back on, they’re nothing more than spectators of your perilous journey. Not only will you have to dash across dark rooms to avoiding these scary foes, you’ll also need to use them to your advantage in certain puzzle situations.
These new features on top of an enjoyable experience that oozes the same charisma as its predecessor show how Tarsier is evolving the series in the right direction, and opens even more changes and improvements if it were to dive into making Little Nightmares III which, judging from the first two games, must happen!
Plenty of puzzles and exploration
A fundamental part of the Little Nightmares series is puzzle-solving, and thankfully Little Nightmares II continues to build on this with some cool new puzzles to get those cogs turning in your old brain. I mentioned earlier that new enemies react to light and dark, so let’s delve into how this plays into your hands when it comes to puzzles.
There’s a room in The Hospital where a Patient is sat in a wheelchair near a door, which has a ledge close by - and it just so happens that Mono can fit through it. The wheelchair won’t budge, but having experienced how The Patients react to light, it became clear what needed to be done.
Flicking the power switch and moving within reach sees The Patient launch out of the chair like a headless zombie, shuffling its way towards you with creaky limbs and outstretched arms. A quick dash back to the power switch and the lights are back on, The Patient becomes a hard-looking statue and, above all, non-threatening.
This allowed me to push the now free wheelchair over to the door and eventually escape. Another quirky puzzle, found in The School, involved using a chessboard and its pieces to unlock a key, which was pretty cool - I managed to solve the puzzle by luck, but there is a hint close by in case you find yourself wondering how to crack it!
Some puzzles are more obvious - or maybe I’m just a puzzle wizard, who knows - but some require a bit more thought and, once completed, leave you with a sense of accomplishment as well as the reward of finding secret rooms to unlock additional hats/masks for Mono to wear on his adventure.
The verdict - is Little Nightmares 2 worth buying?
You can't help but feel immersed in the world in which Tarsier Studios has created within Little Nightmares II. Mono and Six still have that 'sweet but dark' characteristic, while the enemies continue to shine in nightmarish fashion.
Exploring more of the Little Nightmares world and venturing deeper into Pale City has left me hungry for more, so fingers crossed some DLC content is heading our way. The game is twice as long as its predecessor, and not too long for someone like me - who recently became a dad - where you'll be trying to finish it for weeks on end.
A charming, eerie adventure. Little Nightmares II is one of the hit games of 2021!
SAM'S SCORE: ★★★★★
Grab your officially licensed Little Nightmares II Steam PC key from Fanatical now. Or opt for the Little Nightmares II - Deluxe Edition and get the base game as well as The Nome's Attic DLC, Full Digital Soundtrack, The Art of Little Nightmares II' Digital Artbook, and Wallpaper Set.
MORE LITTLE NIGHTMARES II NEWS
Meet the main characters in Little Nightmares II - READ MORE
Little Nightmares II a "clear step up" from original says Tarsier Studios - READ MORE
Little Nightmares II preview - Everything you need to know - READ MORE
What new features have been added in Little Nightmares II - READ MORE
A copy of the game was provided by Bandai Namco for this review.