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Now, I was really late to the game on the first Little Nightmares. So, I tried my best to be more timely with this one. I think almost a year is slightly better than four.
Anyway, Little Nightmares II starts an indeterminate time after the end of the first game. You play as Mono, a young boy who wears a paper bag over his head as he traverses increasingly twisted and disturbing locations in order to… well it’s not really clear what he’s trying to do.
Fortunately for Mono, he has a traveling companion in the protagonist from the first game, Six. So, at least he’s not alone in trying to do… whatever it is he’s trying to do.
Unfortunately for me, the second game is very similar to the first one, so there is actually very little to do by way of reviewing. It has the same art style, similar controls, same puzzle structure, and an overall similar atmosphere and feel to it.
Basically, If you liked the first game, it is very likely that you will enjoy the sequel.
This means that I can only really point out the two biggest ways in which the games differ to give you an indication of what to expect, so that you can make an informed decision about whether to purchase this game or not.
Difference #1: A Second Nightmare
Like I mentioned above, you spend a good deal of time in Little Nightmares II traveling with Six, the protagonist from the first game.
While this is hardly the first time a companion has been introduced to liven up a franchise…
…the inclusion of a secondary character worked very well in the context of this particular game.
The first marked difference that Six makes is that she adds a layer of complexity to the obstacles and puzzles that you face. She can help you reach higher platforms, jump across larger gaps, and push heavier objects. While this extra layer isn’t exactly thick, it does make for a nice change of pace from the first game.
The second thing that Six does, which I think is infinitely more important than a layer of puzzle complexity, is get you more emotionally invested in the experience as a whole. What I mean to say is that you quickly become attached to her… or at least I did.
It was nice to have someone else with you when you’re walking through the nightmarish hellscape that is the world of Little Nightmares II. It wasn’t long after encountering Six that I found that I was sad if the level design forced her to be away from Mono, and almost elated when it brought her back. I even found myself using the hand holding feature to make sure she was close, even if it offered no benefit other than to ensure that someone else was close at hand when things were at their scariest or most off-putting.
Difference #2: Setting
While the first game took place wholly inside of a decrepit submersible known only as “The Maw,” the second game eschews the claustrophobic confines of a submarine and instead takes place in the semi-claustrophobic confines of a dilapidated city.
It might not seem like much, but these new environments actually provide some insight into the world of Little Nightmares.
The first game gave us a little snippet of children being raised to be eaten by a group of overweight cruise-goers. Unfortunately, it didn’t offer any explanations as to why that was happening or what the hell was going on.
The sequel doesn’t do much on that front either, but it does give you a larger pool of locations, such as a schoolhouse and a hospital, which gives you a greater sense of exactly how screwed up the world was, is, and is likely to be.
I’d rather not give away too many details about the setting, because the little details are seemingly the only thing holding the narrative of the game together, and I’d rather you discover them yourselves.
Suffice to say that having finished Little Nightmares II the only thing I know is that…
But I’m okay with that… for the most part…
Alright, I’m dying for an explanation… but I’m also worried that the answers won’t be any fun.
Overall, Little Nightmares II was a pretty good sequel. It didn’t really try anything new, but honestly, the foundation laid by the original game was solid enough that it didn’t need anything special to be decent.
The addition of a companion to help you endure the often eerie and unsettling world was welcome, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. Meanwhile, the multitude of locations to explore gave a greater sense of depth to a world that already seemed an abyss. Unfortunately, I do have to lament the lack of originality in this game. I really would have liked to see… more. Instead I saw more of the same, and while that’s not exactly a bad thing, it kept this game from being great.
I’m giving Little Nightmares II an unsettling 7/10. I think I get what the developers were trying to do. I just wish it had worked out better.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go assume the fetal position in the corner of my room and rock until I understand what the hell I just played.