Alice Cooper, the beloved horror shock rocker had a few albums revolving around the word “Nightmare”. On the 2011 album Welcome 2 My Nightmare he wrote lyrics that come to mind in regards to the game we’re about to talk about. On the track “The Nightmare Returns” the words go a little like this:
But I won’t go to sleep because it’s crazy what happens to me in the night
Cuz when I go too deep into my slumber
Ugly faces, awful places, I don’t want to go… no
This is exactly the world gamers are thrown into while playing the Little Nightmares series of games from Bandai Namco Entertainment. I had always had my eye on the first Little Nightmares game which was released back on Steam PC (check out our review here) but I never “flipped the Switch” (Nintendo) on buying it until recently when it went on sale. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get far enough in the first installment to make a strong comparison to this, Little Nightmares II. What I will say is that “II” is more of the same excellent puzzle, platforming creepy fun you enjoyed in the first installment.
Story? It’s An Excusable Transmission
Little Nightmares II for the most part throws you right into the action with a very sparse background. You play as Mono, a young boy trapped in a world that has been distorted by an evil transmission. Along the way, you’ll find a new friend, Six, and journey out together to discover the source of the transmission.
The game is played as a side scroller and involves jumping, sneaking, crouching, and manipulating environmental objects. And once you find a new buddy named Six, you’ll even solve some co-op puzzles. Little Nightmares II brings together all these elements in a nice evenly paced adventure game.
In the early stages, Little Nightmares II provides you “control” hints which serve as a tutorial. The game performs auto-saves at key checkpoints but is very forgiving. It saves often enough that if you’re challenged by the real-time platforming sequences and die you won’t have to retrace a lot of steps. While this de-emphasizes the reason to avoid death it’s a nice fallback to have if you find the real-time levels challenging.
You Got A Friend In Me
In the very early levels, you’ll play solely as Mono. Once you find Six though you’ll then have a traveling buddy. Finding her adds a completely new perspective to the game. When found, Six adds another layer of exceptional AI (advanced intelligence). She’ll automatically assist you in solving some puzzles and at other times provide you with hints on what to do next. She’s computer-controlled but done so in such a beautiful way she seems alive. The aforementioned real-time platforming sequences are levels like running, hiding, and sneaking away from a nightmarish hunter and his rifle who is chasing you and Six through a forest.
The atmospheric lighting in the levels is perfectly pitched to create a perfect blend of horror with a dash of intensity. Exceptionally creepy are the NPCs you encounter that are computer-controlled. Their movements and looks are slightly disturbing but add a sense of life to normally static backgrounds. The adrenaline really starts pumping during the real-time platforming sequences.
Unfortunately, there are areas of slight irritation in some places where you need to get Mono at the right “depth” to swing on a rope or push an object over. There are also some traps that you’ll not easily find or see until you trigger them and die.
Best To Look, Not Touch
In a lot of the scenes, you’ll feel compelled to look around at the lavish details. Sometimes, you’ll be rewarded with a new hat (cosmetic) to wear. In a beautiful game like Little Nightmares II, it’s hard not to try to look in every nook and cranny. Especially when this might provide the next lead on what to do next. Of course in the real-time platforming scenes, you have no option but to run and not stop to smell the roses.
Little Nightmares II plays well in docked as well as undocked mode. The only complaint is the graphics seem blurrier than the original version. While in the undocked mode this isn’t a big deal really. On the flip side, in docked mode, this provides a beneficial effect. The blurriness adds an almost cloudy feeling to the intense scenes, especially on a larger monitor.
Compare To: Little Nightmares
This review was accomplished using a Switch code provided by PR.