Being abandoned is one of the biggest nightmares of a child. As soon as both parents leave, the fear immediately arises that they may not return. What to do alone, in an unknown and dangerous world?
The first Little Nightmares explored the topic of childhood loneliness among adults who, at best, will be neutral, but more often they will try to devour. At least, this is one of the interpretations – the authors avoided direct presentation, so they had to think it out myself. The second part paints an even sadder picture. Although, I admit, this is just the work of my imagination based on game images, in which a completely different meaning was laid. Tarsier Studios still doesn’t give clear answers.
Little Nightmares 2 offers to get used to the role of the boy Mono. He wakes up in the middle of the forest, next to a broken TV. This detail is more important than meets the eye. The sun has already disappeared over the horizon. Another common cause of fear is getting lost in the wild at night. No matter how much you would like to curl up in a ball (in this position, the hero wakes up after death), you need to go forward. Deep in your nightmares
Soon Mono wanders into a house on the edge. Even though we play as a boy, all things in the Little Nightmares world still seem disproportionately huge. This is how children see the world in the first years of life – frighteningly large. Especially when there is no one around to protect. Here we meet our only friend – a girl locked in a basement. Which, as it soon turns out, is the same Sixth from the first part of the series. One gets the impression that we are in fact a prequel, because we see how Six finds her yellow cloak.
Consistency isn’t really that important though. History has been relegated to the background, much more important are the images and meanings hidden behind them. Little Nightmares 2 is a nightmare tale filled with Burton’s atmosphere in the spirit of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or “Corpse Bride”. Only gloomier.
Here comes Mono!
The game is clearly divided into thematic acts. In the forest hut, Mono and Sixth first encounter an adult who, without trial or investigation, tries to kill the heroes for invading. Children try to escape, but the first terrible lesson awaits them – in order to survive in a cruel world, sometimes they have to become cruel themselves. Further they will only face new ordeals in a gloomy city.
Little Nightmares 2 touches on the painful topic of child neglect. Adults disappear into unknown places or stare at the TV. If you go against the teacher, they will devour you, if you prevent the viewing of your favorite program, you will cry. And as long as the child does not interfere, he can do anything, and no one will give a damn, even if the children direct aggression at their peers, stray into groups to bully the weak or those who are different.
Together we can handle
In terms of gameplay, Little Nightmares 2 is not far from its predecessor. The only thing that makes it more than a simple addition is its decent duration. Despite the fact that Mono runs most of the time in the company of the Sixth, the game does not provide for a cooperative for two, and the interaction of the characters is very limited. The sixth in strictly defined places will help to jump higher or move a weight, but no more. You can also walk by the hand, but this opportunity works more for the atmosphere – the partner herself will find her way and help when needed.
The second part works according to the same rules. Before us is a 2.5D platformer, that is, you can move not only left and right, but also “deep” of space. And now the locations have become much more spacious, which is why sometimes you do not understand which direction to go. Maybe it’s a conscious decision to convey the feeling of being lost in a big place. In the case of Little Nightmares, you can’t figure out what is an artistic trick and what is a bad game design.
On the way, the heroes will encounter many obstacles and sometimes deadly dangers. More often than not, moving forward requires solving a simple puzzle. Despite the limited set of game options, there are plenty of unique situations. Each level has its own theme, both visually and in terms of gameplay. For example, in a hospital you have to run away from living dummies that freeze only in the light, and at school you will often have to engage in direct confrontation – a simple combat system appeared in Little Nightmares 2. If a hammer or other suitable weapon comes to hand, they can be given back to offenders of their size.
Hide and seek from creepy amorphous creatures and escape from dangers did not go anywhere. Variety is enough for four to five hours, which will be spent on the first playthrough. You won’t be bored, but a number of episodes can infuriate – in some places the game forces you to memorize the correct sequence of actions by heart. On the fly, it is almost impossible to figure out what needs to be done in a particular scene, and a second delay turns into death. Thank you for the checkpoints at every step.
In the piggy bank of troubles, you can add the implementation of platform elements. The freedom of movement in space, coupled with a semi-fixed camera, make it difficult to choose the right jump direction. Similar problems appear in combat, where it is critical to choose the right moment and estimate the distance to the enemy. The closer to the finale, the more severe the test, and the trial and error method begins to tire. As a result, the rhythm suffers, the climax is blurred. The ending, by the way, is even more vague than in the first part, and leaves wide scope for different interpretations.
- thick atmosphere of a nightmare fairy tale;
- perfectly verified style;
- variety of game situations;
- As a result, symbolic images add up to an integral picture that makes you think.
- the emphasis on trial and error slows down the pace and sometimes just infuriates;
- local platforming does not fit well with the chosen perspective.
Little Nightmares II turned out to be, as they say, a safe sequel. This game is practically the same. If you were delighted with the first part, then the sequel will definitely please. Otherwise, you are unlikely to regret much passing by.