LITTLE NIGHTMARES 2 REVIEW FOR PC, PS5, PS4, XBOX SERIES X|S, AND XBOX ONE. While the first game provided an excellent introduction to The Maw and its grotesque patrons, that was a very focused story that didn’t give much away about the universe outside. Was the rest of the world just as corrupt as The Maw? In Little Nightmares 2, developer Tarsier Studios is able to expand upon a dark universe haunted by terrible creatures, while also further developing the character of Six and her new companion, Mono.
Strength in numbers
In Little Nightmares 2, players take control of Mono. This character plays similarly to Six in the first game, though with some additional “gifts,” including the ability to swing weapons. Though there is combat in the game, it is used sparingly and Mono is a slow and clumsy fighter. For the most part, players will be doing the normal jumping and running that platformers demand.
The game’s artwork and trailers already give away the fact that Mono and Six meet up. Six provides minor assistance in platforming sections, often boosting Mono into a place where he will have to navigate alone. Their interactions grow to become more interesting as the story develops, but gameplay-wise it’s limited to basic A.I. actions. There’s no room or need for co-op here.
Looks like hell
I’ll remain vague in my praising of the various environments and monsters within. Suffice it to say, the developer has crafted many impressive levels that are enriched with small details that encourage players to stop and look. It’s rewarding for those who don’t rush through, as each new location has subtle hints at the world beyond, which become especially satisfying during subsequent playthroughs.
These levels are enhanced by the incredible audio. This is a creepy game and it knows it. With more variety in the areas and enemies comes more variety in the music. It all comes together to reliably draw unease from the player. It’s great to the point that I’m playing the soundtrack (included with the Deluxe Edition) in the background while I type out this review.
Meet the monSTARS
However, it is the monsters that are the true stars of the show. After my initial preview of the game back in October, I was afraid that the total monster count would be low, but I had nothing to worry about: Little Nightmares 2 is full of dark and twisted monstrosities with their own disturbing quirks that often cause a double take.
I don’t want to spoil anything about the various nasties that Mono encounters. I’ll just confirm that they are very creepy and each poses an entertaining enough encounter.
While the gameplay mechanics are relatively basic and the puzzles are mostly simple, there is enough challenge here to keep things interesting without sacrificing great pacing. I feel like the difficulty has been toned down since my time previewing the game, which leads to fewer respawns and will help avoid frustration for the majority of players.
How little is “Little?”
It took me just over five hours to complete Little Nightmares 2. I got half of the collectibles, so there’s definitely room for a longer playthrough for braver players who explore every nook and cranny. A chapter select menu allows for easy collectible completion and to revisit favorite levels. With that said, for those that are planning on playing through just the once, the launch price of $29.99 may appear steep. If you’re good at dodging spoilers or don’t mind having a nice twist potentially ruined, waiting for a reduced price may be wise.
Waiting a little longer will likely also allow for a smoother experience. Not only are the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions confirmed to release later this year, which will no doubt have higher frame-rate and resolution support for console users, but players who wait will also get to enjoy the fixes of potential post-launch patches.
While Little Nightmares 2 isn’t broken by any glitches or bugs, immersion in this horror title can be quickly undone by characters clipping through objects or altogether disappearing. I had a disconcerting moment when Mono’s head was furiously bobbing non-stop. Another time saw Six completely vanish from a key sequence, only to spawn back in at the very end.
The above problems aren’t massively detrimental to the experience, but they are worth mentioning. Further polish may come in future patches and versions.
Little Nightmares 2 Review | The Final Verdict
Little Nightmares 2 succeeds in building on the foundation that the original game laid out. The folks at Tarsier Studios have expanded on the story and lore with new characters and settings, added gameplay mechanics that don’t overcomplicate the action or bloat the pacing, and proven themselves worryingly imaginative when it comes to thinking up dastardly denizens of a perfectly grim world.