Platform Played: Nintendo Switch
Available On: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Stadia
Developer: Tarsier Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Single Player, Adventure/Puzzle
Release Date: February 11, 2021
Written And Played By: Nicholas Ahlgren
Little Nightmares 2 is a sequel to the first Little Nightmares game that was developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Little Nightmares came out on April 28, 2017 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC and was later brought to Nintendo Switch on May 18, 2018. It also came to Google’s streaming service Stadia on June 1, 2020. The sequel to this game was announced at Gamescom Opening Night Ceremony in 2019 for a release in 2020. The game didn’t make it into 2020 but released on February 11, 2021. Tarsier has also made other games including The Stretchers which was published by Nintendo and is a Nintendo Switch exclusive and also Statik which is a Playstation VR title. They have also helped on Tearaway Unfolded for PS4.
The story and gameplay is fairly simplistic overall. The main character you play is named Mono. Mono is a character that has a bunch of different moves that you can use including a grab, a crouch, jump, run, call and more. However, Mono is not the only character that is in this game that you travel with. You also travel the character from the first game, Six. You cannot control Six in any way shape or form, but the AI is very helpful.
Mono and Six must travel through the different chapters while solving many different puzzles. Some of the puzzles require you to work with the NPC Six while others just require one of you to think your way through. Without spoiling some of the puzzles, there are definitely some that leave you really gripping the controller. The puzzles aren’t the only challenge in the game. In each of the chapters, there is a character that you are trying to avoid as it will kill you on the spot of seeing you. The first chapter has a hunter with a shotgun that tries to kill you. There are traps that you must avoid while also avoiding him. The second one has a school teacher and the third one is a doctor. Without spoiling the surprises, there are moments of absolute terror and absolute relief.
There are different side items that you can collect through the different chapters. You can find different hats for Mono in each of the chapters along with something called glitches. Finding these are optional but they provide more to the overarching aspect of explorations as they are not necessarily easy to find. Besides these, there are TV’s that provide a sense of what’s to come in the game. These are not optional and you must tune the TV to the correct signal once you approach them. You are then transported to a long hallway that you try to get to the end of but can’t until a certain point.
The chapter designs are also all different from one another. The first chapter you play is a forest area and it really does look beautiful. The second chapter is a school, and the third is a hospital looking area. The fourth area is a community of people in apartments and a town. The last area is unique… that’s all I will say. Besides these areas, there are connecting scenic areas that leave you breathless as they show a calmer side of the game. The character models also look really detailed as it shows the love and care that the developers put into the game.
Loading screens are not really apparent within the game. One of the few times I have seen them is when you die, and they aren’t that long so it doesn’t take away from the immersion of the game. Speaking of immersion, the soundtrack of the game pulls you in right away. It’s a mixture of creepy and calm as it matches up with the scenery of the game and what is happening on screen. During a chase sequence, the soundtrack really lets you know that you have to keep moving as fast as you can. Calmer areas also feel calm in the music. Besides music, the controller also gives a sense of immersion. When you’re near one of the main enemies of the game, the controller will rumble a lot when you are in danger of getting caught and it will calm down as you become safer and less likely. This was only played on Nintendo Switch so I’m unsure if it’s the same on other systems.
Now that all of the good things that have been said about the game, there are also a few problems with it. Sometimes, at least on Nintendo Switch, I noticed a few times where the frame rate was not one hundred percent consistent. It looked as though it was 30 frames with the occasional dip if there was a lot happening on the screen. Also, besides the frame rate issues on occasion, the game looked a little bit grainy on Nintendo Switch in some areas.
The docked mode on a bigger tv was how I played most of the game but I also tried handheld mode for a little bit. I did not play handheld mode for a while as it doesn’t look the best in my personal opinion, but it still played just fine. Maybe it was the style they chose for the art direction, but it still looks really good overall even with some of the areas where it didn’t look great. Again, the graphics are not something that I care the most about when playing a game, but they are still important overall.
This game was a joy to play throughout the entire game including its unique story, the scenes, the surprises, the music, and the characters. The graphical issues that I have with this game did not deter me from what this game was. The game is in no way a perfect game, like most games, but the game really drives you to the point that you might feel creeped out as someone was right around the corner watching your every move.
For anyone curious if this is a game for you or not, they also have a demo on all of the platforms (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC). The demo gets you to the end of Chapter 1 with the hunter. If you have Google’s Stadia Pro subscription, this game is free for you to claim and stream for no additional charge.
Side Note: It’s a shame that it seems to be the end of the Little Nightmares series since the studio was recently acquired by Embraser Group. The IP does belong to Bandai Namco Entertainment so maybe they will make a third game with a different studio but it might not be the same. These two games were really good and I am glad that it ends on a really good note of Little Nightmares II, at least as we know now.
Review Score: 8.5/10
Source for Tarsier being acquired by Embracer Group: https://embracer.com/release/embracer-group-acquires-critically-acclaimed-tarsier-studios/