Tarsier Studios gained a lot of reputation with the release of Little Nightmares in 2017. The eerie, distorted world makes you wonder how it all came to be. You get to wonder if it’s all just a dream or is it another form of reality wherein the world is in a really bad shape. There’s no form of dialogue or even a backstory. The places you go to, every dark corner, tells you the story and it’s up to the player how they piece everything together. The game managed to remain mysterious even after this long-awaited sequel, Little Nightmares II.
I can only take in a few horror video-games, but Little Nightmares, while bearable, is still the type of game that creeps up behind you during the night. I love the atmosphere, the mute characters, and how Tarsier Studios crafted the world of Little Nightmares into something beautifully dark.
The departure from the Maw in the first game gives us an extended look at the world of Little Nightmares. As you try to believe that the world was once civilized, in the city of ruins called the Pale City lies a lot of dangerous threat that would either eat you up or take you hostage. Mono, the newest protagonist, along with Six, our beloved yellow hooded little girl from the first game, are desperate to look for a safe place of refuge. But before they would at least get to that safe haven, your obstacles are mind-boggling puzzles and obscure adversaries that we believe are the “out of this world” kind.
One of these enemies is The Teacher. As you hide behind tables or jars that are filled with organs or animals, one subtle noise can make her instantly curious about her surroundings, abnormally extending her neck and snaking through unreachable places. Another is the mannequins in the hospital. They move unknowingly when the lights are off, so a beam of light from your flashlight stops them. Things become interesting and heart-pumping when you’re in a dark room filled with those things. As you pass by, one by one they slowly move and run after you when you don’t have your flashlight pointed at them, but that leaves another area in the room unlit making you decide to just run away. In my case, the hospital was the scariest place in Little Nightmares II. Making you turn back and say “is there another way around the hospital?”.
Everything in Little Nightmares II revolves around trial and error. The game surprises you with situations where you have to instantly know what to do. You sometimes have to die 5 times in a row to be able to understand the problem you’re presented with. It’s fun for some, but for others, it may not be, but nevertheless, it’s part of the experience and that’s what makes the game enjoyable.
Little Nightmares II isn’t a big departure from its predecessor when it comes to gameplay. You still have mind-boggling puzzles, some obstacles that put your analytical skills to the test. The puzzles are inventive and clever, they make sense with the simplest logic and it sometimes rewards or punishes those who overthink. That’s what I loved about the first game, and I can say the same the thing for this sequel. These problems are still fun to solve, and makes you want to know what the game throws at you next.
Tarsier Studios surprisingly added a combat mechanic where you can defend yourself in certain situations. Mono can hold an axe but has to drag it to move the thing. He exerts a lot of energy in swinging the weapon, making him vulnerable at times during combat. However, that’s only against little creepy enemies. The larger ones, there’s no way for you to kill them with your tiny axe or hammer. The combat isn’t the strongest suit, but it’s a welcomed added mechanic when the situation needs it.
In the technical side of the review, I’m playing the PS4 version of Little Nightmares II on a PS5. You can instantly feel the performance boost, hitting consistently 60 frames per second (FPS) on 1080p. Playing the game on 4K, however, things become apparent. You get a significant drop in performance, only constantly getting 30 FPS even on a PS5. While the load times are much better than on a PS4, we will get that official performance boost when the PS5 version of the game comes out later this year.
Little Nightmares II is a sequel that everyone can love especially those die-hard fans of the franchise. You’re still greeted with unexpected threats lurking in every dark corner, the uneasy feeling you get when you walk through corridors and windows, and the unexpected twist at the end. I had a great time in my 5-6 hours of playthrough and I can say, it’s worth binging through all the chapters in one sitting. But that ending, wow.
This content was originally published here.