Little Nightmares 2 sees you play as a child named Mono. Wearing a paper bag over his head for reasons that are his own, Mono awakes in a dark and spooky forest littered with Limbo-style traps. He makes his way from left to right until he comes to a house, where he finds a little girl roughly his own age trapped in the basement. Freeing her, the two escape from the woods and make their way to a nearby city, where yet more creepy and dangerous challenges await.
Like its predecessor, Little Nightmares 2 is heavily inspired by games like Limbo and Inside. The mixture of light physics-based puzzling, tense stealth sections, and chase sequences all make a return, only now you approach them with two characters instead of one. Mono’s new found friend can help him out in various ways, such as boosting him over objects, and catching him on the far side of otherwise impossible jumps.
Little Nightmares 2 boasts many of the strengths of the first game. Interactions are minimalist and highly specified. Aside from jumping, grabbing, and some limited combat, there are few underlying systems.
Despite the game’s simplicity, Little Nightmares 2 is surprisingly difficult. The combination of the physics-infused world and characters, alongside the fact that you can move around in three dimensions, means it’s easy to get stuck on world geometry, while mistimed jumps and misjudged landings are more likely to kill you than any of the world’s enemies. There were several apparently straightforward sections that ended up being incredibly frustrating, while some of the more intense horror scenes quickly lose their power as you’re forced to repeat them over and over.
The game has a strong focus on how environmental features feel, each of the textures you walk on and interact with, being wood, metal, ceramic, forest floor and even the beach have a differnt look and unique feel to them, its easy to say that the Studio took pride in this as it made every level and new encounter feel completely different to the last one.
This attention to textural details helps make the unreal elements of Little Nightmares’ design all the more convincing, its expressionist world and grotesque character designs get under your skin. I don’t want to say too much about these elements because doing so drifts into spoiler territory. But if, for example, you have bad memories of school or teachers, brace yourself going into the second act.
Little Nightmares II is more disparate than its predecessor, which used gluttony as the foundation to build its horror upon. By comparison, Little Nightmares II is held together mainly by the companionship between Mono and his pal, which allows the environments and horror concepts to jump around a bit more. One theme that’s consistent through the game is television. TVs appear frequently in the game, acting varyingly as useful tools and a focal point for the horror.
Little Nightmares 2 is worthy of a recommendation where the first game fell short. It shakes things up just enough to make it feel like an evolution of the original, and while it could do more to address the first game’s problems, it is otherwise a fine example of how to do a prequel right.