In 2017, Swedish indie studio Tarsier Studios released the critically acclaimed Little Nightmares. The game became a bit of a cult classic due to its deliberately vague storytelling, dark atmosphere, and the strange world it was set in. It was because of this success, the studio decided to build further on the lore of the dark nightmarish world.
Little Nightmares II follows a different playable character, a boy with an affinity for large, strange hats. He is joined by the protagonist of the first game, Six, who tags along on the adventure as an NPC. The premise of Little Nightmares II is exactly the same as the first game where this boy and Six are both small little children in a world of large and freakishly proportioned “people”. They find themselves travelling through a city in order to escape it, visiting some interesting locations along the way.
The sequel feels a bit different from the first game though. For a start, it feels a lot less claustrophobic due to the setting being a bit more open than the Maw that we visited the first time around. There is also something comforting about having Six as a companion along the journey. If you did play the first game, you should know what to expect in terms of gameplay. Having a companion changes some of the puzzles up a bit, adding some instances where both are needed to overcome an obstacle. This isn’t overdone though, and it also feels incredibly natural and organic. I also found the interactions between the characters very charming, with a lot being conveyed without a word being uttered. You can call over Six with a press of a button, or she might call to you, but what made it so great is how these two kids try and call over to each other in a sort of quiet way, almost as if not trying to attract attention to themselves.
Everything else is pretty much standard fare from what we saw in the first game. The enemies you encounter are still incredibly creepy, though there does seem to be a bit more variety on all the deadly things out there. The game also looks amazing, with the same sort of Tim Burton style animation and feel to the world still being present. That, along with a beautifully realised soundtrack and solid sound design, make it a great experience for anybody who enjoyed these sort of creepy, light-horror themed games. I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing Little Nightmares II, even maybe more than the first one.
It isn’t perfect though, it still is very short, and you will see the credit rolls in around five hours or so. It does have some collectables that you can collect and playing it again after seeing how it ends might give you some more clarity on the lore, but for those not interested in these things, this might be a bit too short. Personally, though, I prefer these sorts of games to rather be shorter than it outstaying its welcome.
One issue I did have with the game, however, was the controls at some instances. I realise the point is for the controls to not be pin-point accurate, but there was a couple of instances where I failed to run away from something or missed a jump because of clunky controls and a poorly angled camera, causing me to run into something small on the screen. I usually succeeded the next try, but it frustrated me that I failed on something because of poor design.
Overall, Little Nightmares II is a worthy follow up to 2017’s outing. The story is charming and wonderfully told through the environment and events and also includes some incredible twists that I won’t venture into. The game also looks amazing, sounds great and has a cool and fitting soundtrack. If you like these sorts of indie games with a unique art style and a bit of a dark, horror-inspired world, then it is definitely worth checking out.