Nidhogg 2 Review
The summer is starting to wind down already. The party doesn’t have to stop once the fall gets here though. Join up with some friends and stab each other in a race to see who can get eaten by a giant serpent first. That’s probably not what you expected me to say, but that’s the goal in Nidhogg 2, the latest game from Messhof. If you missed the original, word on the street is that it’s kind of a lot of fun with friends. Let’s see if the sequel lives up to its predecessor’s reputation.
It’s not often the first real talking point of a game is the art, but it’ll be hard not to notice the change. The original style felt very Atari, while the new art from Toby Dixon is a very large departure from that. The new style also happens to look pretty flippin’ awesome. While some attachment to the original aesthetic is understandable, there’s no reason not to enjoy what Dixon did with the art here. The art alone is going to bring in some interest from new players.
Enough on the art though, time to get on with it and the arcade mode is first up. It’s not the most challenging experience out there, although it does have its moments. Being part of the group that missed the first title, it was a good way to get used to the mechanics and also try out the new weapons that were added for Nidhogg 2. The difference between the weapons is pretty pronounced in the arcade mode, the rapier and two-handed sword feel great, but the bow and dagger were the ones that I was quickly trying to replace or throw to get them out of my hands.
“The original style felt very Atari, while the new art from Toby Dixon is a very large departure from that.”
All four weapons, however, seemed far more “balanced” when it came to multiplayer. The difficulties I had with the bow and dagger in arcade disappeared against a human competitor. It makes sense too, as battling against others is where Nidhogg 2 really shines. Sure I got my butt handed to me numerous times against some nameless foes out there on the internet, but it was still a good time. I got my kills in too though! I wasn’t a complete push over and gained a newfound respect for those two previously accursed weapons.
The appeal of Nidhogg 2 as a party game is pretty evident. Unfortunately for me, the ‘Local Multiplayer’ options are rather lacking in my household however. The choice of participants here include my wife, who still moves the entire controller the way she wants her character to go and three kids under the age of 7. That’s not the greatest local multiplayer pool out there, but the tug-of-war with gore is a near perfect game to enjoy with friends. Actually, I could see that devolving pretty quickly, depending on how sore a loser certain friends could be! Either way, a good time will be had by all, or at least the winners, unless your sore loser friend is a puncher too.
Bottom line, while the art may have seen a drastic change the gameplay largely remains the same. The simplicity in controls allows for focus to remain on one’s opponent. That simple style keeps things fun. The stages are constructed well enough that you never feel cheated by the environment, helping to zoom in even more on player vs. player combat. The biggest question though is: how will returning players feel? Is it a sequel or does it feel more like a remake? The immediate analogy that popped into my head was similar to comparing The Evil Dead to The Evil Dead 2. They both felt very similar even though not entirely the same. I guess in this case it’s a good thing that the original Nidhogg was so well received, it was a pretty great game and so is Nidhogg 2.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Fantastic Art Style
- Simple combat mechanics
- Engaging multiplayer battles
- Single player lacks a challenge
- Feels more of a remake than a sequel