Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
ATTENTION! ATTENTION! To all players with weak hearts, this is a quick guide to ensure your sanity. Please read the following directions carefully.
Step 1: Flash Light
Step 2: Rain Coat
Step 3: Turn off the Lights
Step 4 (Optional): Pillow and Blanket for emotional support and comfort
All right… Let’s begin!
Little Nightmares II is the next game in this puzzle-platformer horror adventure that was developed by Tarsier Studios (the company behind Little Big Planet) and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment (the company behind the Tales of Series). Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Little Nightmares (released back in 2017), The second game doesn’t waste any time in throwing you into the dark world of warped citizens dripping with madness.
You play as a masked child named Mono, who has no recollection as to how he got to this twisted nightmarish land. Along the way he comes across another child that has been captured by the hideous adults of this world and decides to rescue her. Together, they tag team to try and survive the abyss that is the silent forest, the prison-like school, caged in a hospital and the Pale City itself. Will they live or will the madness consume them?
As I played through Little Nightmares II I was impressed with how much they have improved since the first game. For example, the environments are littered with very cleverly placed traps. Better take extra care in where you step otherwise you’ll be dead within seconds. This caused a lot of my deaths in the game, but it also got me to stop and re-think my strategy, many times. It was a nice saving grace though to know that the in-game auto-save feature is basically placed around every corner of the map, implying that something deadly is heading in my direction. Whether it be an ambush from the enemy or the SCHOOL BUCKETS OF DOOM that have sent me flying on multiple occasion.
The camera angles in the game have also been upgraded since the first game. Originally in Little Nightmares when walking across a plank or narrow pathway, you could hardly tell where you were stepping and it would cause me to slip and fall to my death several times. However, in the second game they have decided to tilt the camera a bit more above your character to give you a good idea of your footing. I also believe it has an fall prevention feature anytime you are walking across smaller pathways since I have not died once while traversing over wooden planks, beams or other walk-able material. There IS one funny little mechanic where if I walk (or run) too closely towards my TV screen within the game my AI will bump into an invisible wall and falter for a moment, stopping him dead in his tracks. This caused another handful of my deaths. Yes… I died a lot in this game.
What I find most comforting in this game is the fact that there is a second character at your side. That character is there to help you reach high places or even be a distraction when running from enemies. They can also carry important items around, which is super helpful instead of you having to back track since you can only carry 1 item at a time. Knowing that I’m not alone in this messed up environment brings me less anxiety while playing. I find it both sweet and therapeutic. They’ve also given you the ability to run up to your partner and hold their hand. This, on a personal level, gives me a good moment to gain back some courage when I’ve just run through a horrific scenario and I just need a moment to catch my breath and calm my nerves down before moving onto the next part of the game.
Speaking of items that you can pick up, you’re given a lot more things to play around with. A flash-light is available to help you see better in the dark. As well as an actual weapon, like and axe or crowbar, can be used to hit smaller enemies or break down walls. You can also pick up random objects that you can use to fool the sense of sight or sound of your enemies. Unfortunately, in this game you do not have the pleasure of befriending the “Nomes”. They are around, but I’ve only ever encountered them once and it was mostly to help me practice how to use the controls in the game. Sorry, but no Nome hugging in this game.
Visually, the game is 100% dark and ominous, much like the first title, but it seems to have pushed itself to be even more terrifying, which in my books is a good thing. When I think of the phrase ‘Nightmare inducing’ this game fits it perfectly. The title represents the games’ atmosphere to a ‘T’. The design of the warped buildings in the background make the map look uneven and jagged. The grotesque characters that chase you down are bone chilling and jacks your heart rate up like no tomorrow. Along with a very simple, yet perfectly timed soundtrack, this game setting is at its glory. There was even a moment in the game where I was experiencing some strong ‘Silent Hill’ vibes. Not sure if they meant to tip their hat in homage to the series, but bravo in almost getting me to soil myself. It deserves two slow claps.
Throughout the game you will come across hats that can be worn by the main characters. They are hidden either in plain sight or hard to reach places that will require you to use your brain to think of a way to reach them. Another thing to keep a lookout for are these ‘shadow children’. They are also hard to find if you’re not looking closely. They blend in well with the dark backgrounds and are easily missed. Not too sure what they are, but if I had to gamble a guess they look like a recording of their final moments before they were possibly killed or captured. It’s an eerie thought that passes through my mind whenever I come across them.