Little Nightmares 2: The First Big Fright of the Year
Little Nightmares 2: The First Big Fright of the Year

Horror and Puzzles... Oh Yes

Little Nightmares II, the sequel to the game made by Tarsier Studios that mixes platforms, puzzles, and elements of horror with great success. Can Mono and Six survive their worst nightmares?

After conquering me with the first Little Nightmares, Tarsier Studios returns to the fray with its sequel: Little Nightmares II. And given how well the first one worked, this one opts for a very similar formula: platforms, puzzles, and a disturbing atmosphere that makes the hair stand on end.

But as anyone who has played the first Little Nightmares will know, not everything is what it seems in this dark and twisted universe in which nightmares come to life: the big difference is found in that this time we control Mono, an enigmatic boy who he wears a raincoat and hides his face under a paper bag. Six, the protagonist of the first Little Nightmares and eternal girl in a yellow raincoat, continues to play a very important role... as a companion.

It is not the only difference, as Little Nightmares II includes many new features and improvements, as well as a good portion of mystery that makes it a worthy sequel to the original.

How Does It Play?

Like its predecessor, Little Nightmares II is a puzzle platform game very much in the vein of the fantastic works of Playdead (creators of Limbo and Inside). The big difference is that instead of being bound by the constraints of the 2D plane, the Tarsier Studios game takes place in three-dimensional environments. In other words, the objective is always (or almost) to move to the right, but I can move freely through each scenario, something that has a multitude of playable applications.

As I said, Little Nightmares II puts us in the role of Mono, a boy who wakes up in the middle of the forest in strange circumstances. The mystery is also a constant in this sequel from the beginning and until the end, something without a doubt deliberate since certain questions from the first part is answered, but new questions are also added that will cause fans to talk and serve as fuel for innumerable theories.

At first glance, Mono is not too different from Six: he can jump, run, and grab or push certain objects. A subtle but important change is that you don't need to carry keys to open locks; instead, once you pick them up you can store them in your raincoat, leaving your hands free to carry out any other action... such as grabbing a hammer.

Because one of the great novelties of Little Nightmares II is combat: at certain times, I must face creatures using the tools that I find on the stage. It is a very simple combat system: just hold down R2 to hold the tool and press Square/Circle/X to perform a single, slow and heavy blow.

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This is something to keep in mind because if I miscalculate and miss the hit or hit it too late / early, the enemy will pounce on us. Despite its simplicity, I really like that it is so crude, as it serves to intensify the feeling of being in a world where I am literally tiny, but which does not mean that I am defenseless. And by the way, it brings more variety to the playable formula.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are the puzzles, which as in the first game, more than traditional puzzles, are visual puzzles (discover how to continue paying attention to the stage) or tense stealth sequences in which I must discover the trick to advance without our pursuer detects us. There are some really clever ones, especially in the last third of the adventure, but I came away feeling that they could have been exploited a lot more, as none of them was too difficult for us.

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The best thing about the puzzles is that they take advantage of one of our favourite aspects of Little Nightmares II: the interaction with the stage. I’ve already told you that it is possible to collect weapons, but the truth is that there are a good handful of elements scattered around the stage with which I can interact.

Sometimes they are simple things and without any real use, like a curtain that reacts to our step or a bell that rings when I step on it, but there are also objects that I can pick up and throw to press switches, for example. It is a factor that contributes in a splendid way to get into the experience because I have the feeling that everything can be touched or moved; that the sets are not simple sets.

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Of course, there is also intense persecution in which I must flee from enormous enemies, who always manage to accelerate our pulse. This is where an issue that creeps in from the first installment is highlighted, and it's how much Little Nightmares 2 relies on trial and error. There are quite a few situations that it is impossible to solve without having failed before, even if you have exceptional reflexes. Perhaps that is why combat is so refreshing, as it is a test of real skill.

In terms of duration, Little Nightmares II is slightly longer than its predecessor: it took us about six hours to complete, and that being quite generous, as I have thoroughly explored the scenarios in search of collectibles and other secrets. I do not believe that its duration is a problem, as it is the kind of game that after a while I will want to play again on a Sunday afternoon.ln2light

The great novelty of Little Nightmares II is the presence of Six as a companion. The protagonist of the first installment walks by our side and is always there to help us solve a puzzle, offering us a boost to reach high places or reaching out to allow us to cover great distances with a jump. And it must be recognized that, within what are the companions with A.I., it is really achieved.

It is never a hindrance, in fact, it is just the other way around: on more than one occasion it surprises us by taking actions that make our work easier, such as saving us a second journey by carrying a fuse that I had left behind. And he is not the classic companion who simply follows our footsteps; sometimes, he takes the initiative and goes ahead, marking the way forward.

The only downside I have in this regard is that its presence involves the introduction of two new mechanics that are hardly taken advantage of: grab his hand (holding down the right trigger, Ico style) and get his attention. Except for a couple of occasions, these mechanics are useless. And it's a shame because they could probably have been used to enhance the puzzles.

The section that shines again with enormous force in Little Nightmares II is audiovisual design. Here we have a game that just oozes an awesome aesthetic personality, starting from the original that is to see the world from a miniature perspective. But as in the first, the strong point is the terrifying atmosphere that manages to generate at all times, with disturbing characters and twisted settings.

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Without a doubt, the great protagonists are the large monsters that I must face, and without the need for easy scares, only with their design, they manage to be terrifying. However, like the first Little Nightmares, I cannot say that it is an all-out horror game (a la Outlast), although this one is much closer to achieving it. There are some really tense levels, especially if you’re afraid of the dark.

Although at the moment Little Nightmares II is released for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, at Tarsier Studios they are already working on the versions of PS5 and Xbox Series X | S. Although, if I run the game from any of the new generation consoles, I can enjoy a better resolution and reduced loading times.

The latter is especially interesting because despite not being a native version, loading times are practically non-existent. Something that is especially appreciated, as this reduces frustration when I have to repeat the same section numerous times.

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