Little Nightmares 2 Enhanced Edition
Little Nightmares 2 -- An Underrated Gem
After doing these First Looks over 20 times, I’m coming to appreciate the process of discovering games that I’ve always heard in passing, giving them a fair chance, then having a chance to tell my thoughts about said titles. Players who are even remotely interested in indie games will know of Little Nightmares, a 2D puzzle platformer that received enough acclaim that a sequel was developed. Little Nightmares 2 was my first introduction to the series and the way the game is set up, I feel like those who are in a similar boar will appreciate the game even if they begin with the second game over the first.
After a very short introductory cutscene, players control the protagonist, a young kid with a paper bag over his head. It is at this moment that I quickly realized that it was for the best to learn the controls in which, thankfully, are listed in the settings menu. That’s because the game doesn’t outright tell you what you should be doing, forcing the player to commit to trial and error to get from Point A to Point B. The game is linear, but it won’t hold your hand unless necessary, “telling” you what to do via character deaths or other cues.
You Are [not] Alone
An example of this would be the beginning sequence where there’s a broken bridge and a large gap. Upon first instinct, I felt I could make the gap and leap across to the other side, which lead to my death. After five minutes of embracing insanity by repeating the same thing over and over again, I noticed in the background there were rocks that I could use to travel downward. There I found a ladder on the other side I could climb up, avoiding the bridge entirely. The game expects players to explore the foreground and background as solutions that may not seem obvious are often discovered with a little bit of venturing.
Another example was several net traps and bear traps scattered in the forest, the latter well hidden underneath some leaves as camouflage. There are cues that there are traps due to the placement of interactive items such as acorns, sticks, and the shoes of victims who have suffered the same fate. Throwing any of these items or using larger items to swing downward will cause the leaves to scatter, revealing the traps.
Even The Little Nightmares Are Bigger Than They Appear
The traps can then be triggered by throwing the items against them, saving the player the trouble of falling in them. This needs to be done for certain traps as they bar your path, meaning that for every obstacle there’s a sensible enough solution to solve it. At some point, the player reaches what seems to be an abandoned house, passing by human taxidermy models and other unsettling settings.
Now is a good time to talk about the graphics and the sound direction, which go hand in hand with each other to set a very uncomfortable yet mysterious atmosphere. It’s almost related to older 2D horror titles like Clock Tower in which every corner can be met with sudden death, yet not to the point of “jump scares.” It plays itself more like a thriller than a flat-out horror game, using soft art designs similar to that of a Tim Burton movie. The characters featured in the game don’t speak yet they use their voices and actions to portray their personality, similar to that of games like Ico or Shadow of the Colossus even. It’s a unique art design that has been used in several games like this, but it works well in Little Nightmares 2.
What’s A Horror Without The ‘Survival’?
Like the Lady Dimitrescus, Tyrants, and Mr. Xs in Resident Evil, Little Nightmares 2 has its form of “stalkers,” or rather, characters that chase you to the ends of the earth that are unkillable unless the plot demands it. In this case, the first one the player comes across is a giant taxidermist with a potato sack over his head and a shotgun twice the size of him that he won’t hesitate to use on some kids. The second half of the first level involves getting away from this man’s sights while trying to find safety in the process.
It’s here that the environment is against you as the crows that were once innocuous are now the cause of your death sentence, screeching loud enough to catch the attention of the big guy who will not hesitate to open fire. Thankfully, in between shots, he takes time to reload his shotgun, which must be used to run behind the next item for cover. At some point, you even have to hide under murky swamp water to break his line of sight and the entire sequence was a nice change of pace overall. The early part of the level was slow and atmospheric, only for it to change into a frenzy where you feel utterly helpless until you give him a taste of his own medicine and shoot him with a spare shotgun with the help of your companion.
More Adventures Await In Little Nightmares 2
It was at this point I’ve stopped playing, satisfied with the gameplay and the presentation as a whole. Little Nightmares 2 runs well on the PS5, not only enhancing the graphics, but also the details of the environment, making it easier to see interactives and locations that players can explore. This was one of the few games that take a night setting without making it artificially bright while also unbelievable dark, due to the proper use of light sources. Overall, it was an enjoyable hour aside from the recording going through a blue screen of death… However, tech issues aside, Little Nightmares 2 is a charming 2.5D survival horror that’s less survival horror and more of an IQ test.
Little Nightmares 2 is available on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC