Despite writing more than one article about my excitement for Little Nightmares II, it’s a testament to quarantine life that I nearly missed the release of the game on February 11th, 2021. But have no fear! I fully plan to play the entire game and deliver my assessment, but in the interest of time, here are my first impressions on this highly-anticipated game.
Immediate impression: it’s much longer than the first game, which is a welcome change! Little Nightmares, while rich in terms of story and experience, tends to range in the 1-2 hour playtime, depending on how exploratory your gameplay is. At a little under 3 hours when I called my initial run through, I had finished the first two main areas of the game and defeated or escaped the first two major antagonists, the Hunter and the Teacher. While I do tend to play in a slow manner (trying to find collectibles and easter eggs takes time) I would still guess that I’m close to halfway through the known game, judging based on the known antagonists from the Bandai website. If this game plans to mirror the narrative structure of the first, there should be one more major antagonist area, perhaps with multiple enemies, before encountering the final major boss. And considering where I left off…
I probably have some dangers waiting in my future.
Controls-wise, Little Nightmares II is very similar to its predecessor, with a couple new things to fit with the addition of an AI companion, such as calling your partner to a location, vaulting to higher locations with their help, or simply holding their hand so you can sneak together. Every now and then, there are problems with navigation, with characters standing strangely or misjudging distances, but for the most part it’s an improvement from the first game. Not to mention gaining the ability to HIT ENEMIES WITH A STICK is a great option in a game where otherwise you can only run and hide, even if you have to regularly leave your weapon behind to solve puzzles.
Content-wise, I’m loving the addition of a second character to solve puzzles with. It’s clear through what gameplay I’ve completed so far that building this relationship between the two is a key component of the story, and I look forward to seeing it through to the end. There seem to be two main varieties of collectibles, one being story driven, the other being cosmetic. The story ones are these hologram-like silhouettes of children, initially found near TVs, but later showing up in more remote locations. The other is hats! Accessible through the main menu, you can change what hat little Mono is wearing at any time, just for fun.
While there is so much more I could say, I’ll hold off on those for later articles, when I’ve finished the game and done it justice. Look forward to new theories, collectables, and guides for this macabre masterpiece, and keep your friends close.