Little Nightmares II Review – Perfectly Grotesque

Little Nightmares II Review

Burrowed deep inside the human psyche dwells the morbid curiosities that infest the essence of Little Nightmares II. Following in the skittish footsteps of its predecessor, Tarsier Studios have delved into the deliciously grotesque to bring us an amalgamation of the macabre that will fester in your subconsciousness for years to come.

As Mono, you explore an unsettling world that has been ravaged by monstrosities. With the help of Six, the protagonist from Little Nightmares, you are tasked with traversing ghastly environments and solving treacherous puzzles to unlock the mystery behind the imposing Signal Tower.

Little Nightmares II takes what was established in the original game and amplifies it to heart-racing proportions. Merging stealth and puzzle-platforming mechanics, you wandering around eerie locations avoiding the majority of confrontations. However, unlike the original, Mono can defend himself in odd scenarios using anything from ladles to axes in order to crush creepy enemies in blood-soaked moments of destruction. These segments are methodically placed and not overused to ensure that each battle is a nail-biting experience. Due to the diminutive nature of the protagonist, each weapon is a struggle to wield, thus increasing the importance of timing and precision of strikes over volume.

People Are Strange…

Each environment is a glorious coalescence of bleak imagery that depicts the most prominent psychological fears. The level of detail in each horrifying area is astounding and adds to the narrative of the world. Each step is haunted by the hideous foes who stalk the terrain. Tarsier Studios’ grasp on suspense is masterful and echoes the greats in cinema. Sequences are beautifully paced to engulf the gamer with panic-stricken fear in some of the greatest segments I have experienced in the genre.

Sneaking in the shadows whilst attempting to avoid the maniacally designed foes is exhilarating. Due to the incredible lighting, areas are zig-zagged in shadows that allow for Mono to escape the gaze of his nemesis, giving the gamer momentary relief. However, these blissful moments of peace are often short-lived. Chase sequences are highlights of the game. As demonic creatures pursue, you are required to hurdle obstacles as the environment diminishes with cinematic precision. 

Adding to these incredible moments is the fear-inducing sound design. Deathly drones permeate throughout the world creating unease when exploring the hideous and blood-curdling surroundings. Corpses lie rotting as flies swarm to devour their flesh, creating moments of insecurity. Drenched in atmosphere, the cacophony of violence is ever-present within the world of Little Nightmares II.

The art direction is delightfully gruesome and echoes the work of Henry Selick. Characters possess claymation characteristics and oddities creating a childlike innocence to repulsive creatures. The binary opposition of these elements allows for anxiety to manifest and results in a spine-tingling experience that is to die for. Each chapter has an array of horror influences that weep within. From the warped mind of Hideo Nakata to the sinister undertones of Studio Ghibli, Little Nightmares II oozes with desolation. However, countering these sections are the stunning gothic vistas that create a sense of tranquility in the world of the absurd. Moonlight bounces off the stone floors to create stunning silhouettes in the deep midnight hue offering a moment of reflection from the madness.

Puzzles are relatively simple, meaning that you are unlikely to be stuck for long periods of time during your playthrough. Cleverly, Six, your AI partner, will give subtle hints to support you during your trip through the moribund world. New puzzle mechanics are introduced periodically in the game, making each area feel unique. Checkpoints are generous, meaning that if – and most likely when – you are captured and swallowed whole, you will not lose much progress. Although I understand the reasoning for having lots of checkpoints, this does stifle the intensity of the game. Sections can lose their impact when you realize that hardly any progress is lost upon death. Having fewer checkpoints would have increased the ferocity of those heart-pounding moments.

Bigger, Better

Being almost double the length of its predecessor, Little Nightmares II is a larger, more disgusting beast that is essential to gamers that are intrigued by the morbid. Whether you enjoy art, cinema, or games that explore themes of the grotesque, there are not many examples of it being done this well. Even with the level of polish that is lacquered on in this game, the odd glitch occurred with the protagonist getting stuck behind an object and the animation being stuck in a loop. However, this was quickly corrected after maneuvering from behind the obstruction and didn’t hinder the experience. Little Nightmares II is a masterclass in design. From its vulgar characterization to its haunting soundtrack, each asset has been created with a fetishistic passion for the absurd. The perfectly paced gameplay and luscious visuals combine to elevate the game above others in the genre making Little Nightmares II an absolute dream to experience.

***PlayStation key provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Soaked in Atmosphere
  • Haunting Score
  • Nightmare Inducing

The Bad

  • Fewer Checkpoints
  • Not Very Difficult
  • I Want More