Little Nightmares 2 (2021) – Game review

Little Nightmares 2 cover art
Little Nightmares 2 cover art | Source: Tarsier Studios / Bandai Namco
Star Rating: 4 out of 6

Little Nightmares 2 is a suspense driven adventure with horror aspects accompanied by puzzles to solve as you traverse and survive this dark nightmarish landscape.

Released on February 11th, 2021, you can purchase Little Nightmares 2 on a variety of platforms including PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC (Windows 10) and Google Stadia, costing around £29.99 UK or $29.99 USA depending on where you purchase.

You play as a young boy called Mono and you are trapped in a bizarre world distorted by the humming transmission of a distant tower. Paired with Six, the girl in the yellow raincoat who guides Mono, the two set out to discover the secrets of The Signal Tower and to save Six from her terrible fate, all the while hiding and surviving the residents of this evil place.

Little Nightmares 2 – Launch Trailer | Source: Tarsier Studios / Bandai Namco

Game overview (Potential spoilers)

The game has five chapters aka levels to progress through. The first, where you start the game is in the wilderness (chapter 1). You start alone in the woods and are taken through the level until you meet Six who is imprisoned. Once you free Six and make your escape you find yourself on the run from a hunter. The first level is just as much a tutorial as it is an intro. It’s not a very intuitive or present tutorial which was a bit annoying, but it does get you used to the game mechanics and figuring things out by yourself.

You then set sail into what appears to be a city where you make landfall. Your first stop is a grim looking school or orphanage (chapter 2), which is your first real test without the tutorial. Then after a daring escape, you push on to a far from pleasant hospital (chapter 3) where you obtain your new tool and weapon, a flashlight, which you will need as the hospital gets pretty dark and eerie.

After surviving the hospital, you find yourself traversing the broken and crumbling Pale City (chapter 4) to make your way to the Signal Tower. But after an unexpected encounter with a Thin Man resulting in Six being captured, you find yourself on a rescue mission to save Six from a terrible fate.

Journeying through the Pale City, avoiding its residents, you encounter the Thin Man for a second time, only this time he’s got your scent. Chased by the Thin Man and narrowly escaping yet wounded and on your last legs, you face off against the Thin Man, further bending reality itself in a somewhat humble fight, most reminiscent of the Matrix Revolutions, where Neo fights Agent Smith during his last stand, just far less destructive and epic.

Leaving the Thin Man behind, you enter the Signal Tower (chapter 5). What can only be described as a place that breaks the laws of physics entirely, you have to finesse your way through a series of musical door puzzles as you climb the tower. Finally finding Six, you face off in what is your final boss fight, only to further unveil a shocking twist.

Little Nightmares 2 - in-game screenshot
Little Nightmares 2 – in-game screenshot | Source: Tarsier Studios / Bandai Namco

General thoughts

To review this game I played it on Google Stadia using a mouse and keyboard.

Little Nightmares 2 follows suit with the first game in the franchise. It’s totally out of this world with it’s thinking, just as dreams and nightmares are. It’s tales are intriguing just as they are dark. It’s story and level progression seamlessly flows very well and the naturally placed puzzles were a nice touch. But although Little Nightmares 2 was enjoyable, it was not without its flaws or quirks and the general gameplay did become irritating and tedious.

Mixed with the world’s creepy and eerie atmosphere, you really feel as though you don’t know what’s going to happen, you have to constantly remain alert. I found myself literally checking for hiding places and traps as I played.

However in saying this, as someone who started the game without knowing anything about it, including it’s synopsis, there is no introduction to the plot. You sort of just follow along as you play and guess. Although this does add to the mystery, it felt silly, not knowing what the overall goal was, unless of course, I just missed something. The only clear goal the whole way through was to just keep moving and not get caught.

Game controls – Poor for keyboard and mouse

Little Nightmares 2 specifically recommends you use a controller, although you can use a mouse and keyboard with the PC / Google Stadia versions. After playing the game I can see why a controller is recommended, but since they bothered to include keyboard and mouse, they could have done a much better job with what I feel is compatibility. Because interactions with the game were clearly designed with a controller in mind, controls were less than friendly to use.

I experienced issues when having to press multiple keys at one time, as certain actions didn’t seem to register which resulted in failing the mission at hand and restarting. It would have been better if you could toggle certain actions instead of having to hold keys down, or at least have had the option to choose in settings. This was also accompanied by keyboard presses which didn’t feel as responsive with their actions in the game environment as they should’ve.

After reading some walkthroughs, I also got the sense that the game occasionally makes the controller vibrate to indicate whatever at the time, which of course you wouldn’t experience with keyboard and mouse. On top of this, certain game mechanics, including during a final boss fight rely on rotating the left thumbstick on a controller, which when attempting with a keyboard, proved to be very unfriendly to use.

Collectables and custom appearance – If you even notice them

Mono, the character you play, hides his face. By default he wears a paper bag with cutouts over his head. Throughout the game you are able to find and collect “hats” you can wear to customize your character’s appearance.

Although this character customization is minor, it is still a nifty feature, having the ability for some customization and an additional secondary goal to achieve. However, spotting the hats is another story. Even if one were right in front of you, you wouldn’t know, they’re very easy to miss – this can be disappointing.

There are also these figures, which I could only refer to as shadows, that I later found out seemed to be called “glitching remains”, which you can collect to earn achievements. These figures were more noticeable than the hats, but I was not sure what these were nor their purpose at the time.

Lack of hints

Don’t expect any hints of the sort. Even if you get stuck, I never noticed any hints or at least ones that were obvious. I ended up having to use the internet for help when I got stuck. You feel as though you sort of have to find your own way, but I guess that’s the puzzle and mystery aspect.

However, the lack of help goes from acceptable to plain stupid as you progress further through the game and are expected to apparently know everything, even with what I would describe are different mechanics, previously not introduced.

AI co-op

Having an AI companion to work with is a great idea. It adds to the story and the puzzles. But it was not completely flawless, as it did seem to fumble a little. Once or twice, it nudged me forward out of hiding and a few times it got stuck which required restarting from a checkpoint.

Graphics and sound

The graphics were quite pleasing, a simple yet detailed art style. The whole game felt cinematic in nature and very atmospheric. The sound effects were very effective and definitely enhanced each environment’s atmosphere. I also thought they did a good job with the graphics and sound for the rain and running water, which was a great addition to the whole experience.