Little Nightmares II (PlayStation 5) Review

By Drew Hurley 03.07.2022

Review for Little Nightmares II on PlayStation 5

The new horror IP of Tarsier Studios certainly made a big impact with its debut in 2017, delivering an evocative and dark experience. Little Nightmares followed the journey of Six, a diminutive girl in a trademark yellow raincoat trekking towards a mysterious signal, whilst trying to avoid a horrific, shadowy pursuer. Part puzzler, part Dragon's Lair style experience, as Six had to contend with numerous instant death experiences, the sequel delivers a new protagonist named Mono into this shadowy world. It first arrived back in February this year, but now, an updated experience for the current generation has arrived.

Those who never got around to experiencing the first title don't need to worry about missing out on things. While the protagonist of the first game is a key part of this, this is not a sequel, and only by finishing it completely does its place in the narrative finally become clear. What Little Nightmares II does so very well, is storytelling via show, don't tell. The silent characters and the world have no narrator spewing exposition. A tiny, frail figure with a paper bag covering its head and little holes to peep through is the star of the show. This being, Mono, awakens alone in the woods and begins his travels. No explanation as to where he's hoping to reach or for what purpose. Just an intrinsic need to escape the terrors of the world and reach somewhere, anywhere, that can offer sanctuary. Along the way, he finds a little girl.

Six, the protagonist of the first game joins him on this journey. This journey takes them across some horror mainstays that are wonderfully realised. Both Mono and Six are around one foot high, another element never explained and never needing explanation. They are small, the nightmares are large. The world the duo explores is much like the real thing, and this stark difference in scale gives the two an additional level of fragility in this towering landscape around them. The camera work helps to emphasize this. Remaining just far enough away to force the perspective that highlights their meagre stature. Making the pair constantly feel vulnerable. And vulnerable they are.

There are many dangers scattered through this dark land. Both natural and very unnatural. Traversing the forest means avoiding deadly pitfalls and rusty bear traps. The world is built for larger beings, and those beings are still inhabiting it. Though sparsely. A monstrous farmer with a shotgun is protective of his lands. A despoiled school is home to not only another of these towering residents, a teacher that doesn't appreciate interruptions to her lessons, and her students are even more deadly - but, the deadliest of all lurks just out of sight, but always in the periphery.

Screenshot for Little Nightmares II on PlayStation 5

Navigating this world and these dangers delivers an experience filled with memorable moments. Some simple puzzles, navigating the obstacles of a larger world, rearranging obstacles to cross deadly paths. Sneaking through the shadows to avoid the creatures that will slaughter anything foolish enough to step into the light. Having a partner on such a journey is often more hindrance than help. Someone to protect and nursemaid. Not the case here. Six is never the damsel, instead, she becomes a crucial assistant. Boosting Mono to reach heights beyond his grasp or offering a hand to make it across impassable chasms.

The puzzles are occasionally a little tricky and the jumps frustrating at points, hard to establish the correct angle in the tenebrous world, yet it never feels unfair, and it's not the sort of game where there are moments to get stuck for hours, no particularly obtuse puzzles or split-second reactions required here. Delivering an experience that most will be able to enjoy. Especially thanks to no limitation of "lives." There are regular checkpoints and unlimited attempts.

While Little Nightmares II delivers a memorable experience, it's a considerably short one. Most will finish in five hours or so, though there's a little extra content to extend that somewhat. Some collectables and wearable hats for Mono. Those who manage to track them all down will receive a special ending that will help in understanding a little more of where this story belongs compared to the original, and perhaps an explanation for where the series may go from here. The new version trumpets some buzzwords of current-gen graphical prowess. It has volumetric shadows, raytraced reflections, and enhanced particle effects. Honestly, this isn't going to be blowing anyone away, but… it certainly leaves an impact. The world and its designs are definitely one of the strongpoints of the game, and that enhances that element. The particle effects make the rain look so good you'll want to curl up with a book by a fire. The volumetric shadows covering the locations with inky black darkness that could either be a dingy salvation from the latest pursuer or be hosting some terrible new danger just out of sight.

Screenshot for Little Nightmares II on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Little Nightmares II delivers a terrible experience. Terrible has retained the connotation of something bad, but it can also mean inspiring fear, dread, and awe. It's clear that's what Tarsier Studios was going for: an experience in delving through a terrible darkness. That experience is not terrifying, not scary, but creeping disquiet. An unsettling experience. Best of all, though, that experience is memorable. Those who have the opportunity to experience this best version should do so. The world and its presentation are huge highlights, and this gives a shine of polish to enhance that. It's just a shame it clocks in at such a short runtime, and leaves so many questions left unanswered. Even heading back to see it all still offers a short playtime. The world of Little Nightmares deserves a third entry to explain it all. Hopefully, one day it will get one.

Developer

Tarsier Studios

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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