Little Nightmares II Review


Thomas Gravely, Intro Writer

Little Nightmares II is Tarsier Studio’s latest installment to the Little Nightmares franchise, a beautifully cohesive survival horror and puzzle-platformer game that blows its predecessor out of the water.

Released on February 11, 2021, to PC, PS4, and Xbox One, Little Nightmares II is an exhilarating adventure that improves on the first installment in almost every aspect as you follow the silent protagonist through a creepy school, a dark hospital, and more. It’s scary and challenging at all the right moments, although at times the illusion tends to break and give way to frustration.

The game begins as you awaken in a beautifully rendered forest as Mono, a boy that serves as the game’s protagonist. You are given no information about your whereabouts or Mono’s goal; all you can do is move forward in the game’s ominous environment.

Little Nightmares II follows the series’ traditional formula: traverse through the game’s five chapters, evading the threat (usually a horrific monster with twisted proportions) by any means possible. A simple but effective structure, the Little Nightmares games have an almost addictive flow that keeps you engaged even during the slower moments.

One of the game’s most defining characteristics is its ability to tell a story with no dialogue. This allows the player to infer the story by themselves through multiple exciting environments, whether it be an operating table, feral schoolchildren, or a captivating background design. Likely inspired by Playdead’s INSIDE, the game’s storytelling is one of its greatest strengths, creating an atmosphere of constant intrigue without ever giving too much away, and while still having its fair share of plot twists and shocking moments. Little Nightmares II is well-paced, laced with an ever-growing tension. I found myself enjoying each chapter even more than the last one. 

While the story builds off  the first game, as does the gameplay. Little Nightmares II features a second main character, creating more possibilities than those offered in the original game . Newly introduced combat mechanics are a welcome addition that only occasionally become repetitive.

Little Nightmares II’s beautiful and immersive atmosphere stands out to me the most. The game’s visual and sound design creates an ambiance that seems to almost drip out of the screen into real life. With a distinctive, deliciously eerie art style and an impressively thorough sound design (including unique sounds for walking on carpet), Little Nightmares II evokes  all the right emotions and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Character design is a significant upgrade from the first game. The grotesque monsters appeal to your sense of fear in ways the first installment fell short of, featuring greatly exaggerated proportions and disturbing movements that would cause anyone to feel uneasy. The third chapter’s antagonists in particular are the most creepy, with three different threats and a deeply unnerving setting. The game’s ambiance is punctuated with the breathtaking music written by Tobias Lilja, a music box-esque score with eerie vocals that build on themes from the first game.

Where Little Nightmares II shines in terms of story and atmosphere, it falls short in ease of play. Clunky controls are considered one of the series’ biggest downfalls; an excellently designed stealth section is ruined by awkward movement causing an undeserved death. The game’s chase sequences are especially demanding; they require near-perfect control to complete, and one mistake forces you to restart, which can easily become frustrating. An intimidating encounter tends to become annoying after multiple tries, an unfortunate flaw in the game’s formula.

The sequel to Tarsier Studio’s Little Nightmares brings a beautifully re-imagined story back to life, in a way that’s not only a game but an immersive experience. It overcompensates for its weak points with a compelling narrative, intricate art and sound, and well-designed characters. Overall, Little Nightmares II vastly refines all aspects of its previous installment, creating a gripping adventure that will leave the player thrilled by its bold conclusion.

Verdict: 9/10