Swedish Studios Tarsier learned the tricks of the trade by helping to develop various versions of LittleBigPlanet. The first game to make it entirely on its own was Little Nightmares, from 2017. It looks like that went so well that there is now a sequel: Little Nightmares II.
Since it was the first game here and still looks like a standalone game, that is not the case with this sequel. This is mainly because LN2 is more comprehensive than its predecessor. This second part will take you about twice as long. Fortunately, not only that. There are a lot of differences in the environments and this is what the game does well. Where the first part happened almost entirely in the dark, in other words, you can now visit five different locations, in many seasons. In each class you will meet a different boss who will terrify you.
The game might be more inclusive, but the structure hasn’t changed much. I’m still a very young character wandering around a world made for people of normal proportions. You are just a different character. In Part 1 you were the sixth girl, in her amazing yellow coat. This time you’re Mono, an equally young boy in a brown trench coat, and like Six prefers to hide his face under a hat. In the absence of Southwest Yellow Six, Mono has to contend with a paper bag with two holes above his eyes.
Luckily, you can find a number of other hats in the game and have an inventory where you can choose from the hats you’ve collected. Another collection of collectibles series has been added to the game: with some research, you will find the souls of the shadow children in different places in the game. Their target remains unknown until the end of the game.
Six in mono
New to LN2 is not only that there is now a different main character, but more than the previous character also present in the game. Soon Mono collides with six, then they hit the road together. Six controlled by computer. The two move in together, but of course the duo knocks regularly, after which Mono has to try to free Six. Six is a nice addition. It gives Mono an extra reason to overcome the many challenges he faces. Moreover, it is also a nice change in terms of gameplay. In many parts of the game, Six can help you overcome many obstacles. Together, you can push big things away and put more weight on the scale as you jump. Plus, six could catch your hand if you jumped too big.
Not that you have a lot to choose from: the LN2 is – just like its predecessor – completely linear. So the obstacles are fully customized. On the lonely parts, you can jump less, but you don’t have to. Additionally, the control is highlighted. The biggest criticism of the first part was that the interaction with the environment was not as smooth as desired. It is often clear what action to take, but performing this procedure is often difficult. That has now improved, but still not perfect. This time too we often got to jacks or ledges in vain.
It is the basic perspective that still gets in the way. LN2 is again 2.5d, which means you are basically moving left and right, but you can sometimes walk a little forward or backward. However, the camera has been fixed and you cannot control where you look. This ensures that Tarsier Studios can deliver beautiful and engaging images, but the perspective also means you see a little depth and that’s tough at times. Especially if you are in a hurry and have to jump or climb through the narrow openings. Even if you have to place something to climb through a higher hatch, finding the correct placement can be difficult.
What works well is combat. This time, Mono has found many weapons, which he can sometimes use together, but usually on his own. Consider, for example, a ladle, a lead pipe, or a real ax. Similarities: Weapons are always larger than the Little Man himself, which means he has to make a lot of effort to fight with a gun. So this is slow. You have one chance and if you miss, the attacker is guaranteed to kill you. Not that bad: you can proceed almost instantly in the same place. It is a small but nice addition that makes the game more interesting and diverse.
Moreover, the game is still based on atmosphere and speed. The atmosphere is good. In the dark game world, you will encounter strange creatures. Scary kids your size and older adults who seem to be dead, but nonetheless, are life threatening. Especially the big super bosses are slow, but fatal. The game should be based on rhythm. There is always a discrepancy between the parts in which you can run, the parts where you have to climb a little, the parts that must remain invisible and the parts where you have to solve the puzzle. Hence there are parts that you have to fight in.
As for all of these parts, you are rarely warned. Just like before, you often die here because you fall into the constructors’ trap. Remember the bear trap under dead leaves in Chapter 1. The lamp falling on your little head because you step on that creaking shelf. The teacher, as the chair of the second semester, was found to be able to greatly extend her neck. The game is put together in such a way that you can hardly expect such surprises beforehand. Contributes to feeling weak. Where Little Nightmares is sometimes described as a horror game, the game is now more exciting because of your weakness than your fears. By the way, the sound in the game contributes a lot to that. There is sporadic music and actually a little sound. It is the silence that makes the game the most exciting and exciting.
Tarsier Studios learned from the first part and were able to make Little Nightmares II a better game than the original game. This sequel is again atmospheric and very beautiful. We don’t want to call it true horror, but it’s definitely exciting, especially since the main character Mono is so weak. Much remains with the old in Little Nightmares II, but there is indeed innovation and change. Navigating and using objects is smoother, but still not perfect. However, the addition of some weapons and especially the computer-controlled Ally are the main gains. Especially adding Six as a friend controlled by the computer makes the game better. It ensures you get more sense of what you’re up against and gives you variety, which is essential for a game that’s twice as long as its predecessor.
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