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‘Little Nightmares 2’ Preview: A Perfect Example Of Gruesome, Unsettling Horror

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‘Little Nightmares 2’ Preview: A Perfect Example Of Gruesome, Unsettling Horror

There's something about horror that suits light puzzle solving and platforming. It creates a sense of urgency that makes for a thrilling gameplay style that will always leave you satisfied. In my limited time with the game, Little Nightmares II has perfectly exemplified this.

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Although I only had access to the first two levels, Little Nightmares II wastes no time showing its credentials. Enemies are gruesome, scenarios are treacherous, and you instantly care about the new protagonist, Mono, as you escape from the hideous characters trying to kill you.

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Mono wears a bag over his head, and this endearing wardrobe choice makes it easier than ever to see yourself in their plight. Luckily for us, Mono isn't alone, and has an AI companion who can help deal with many of the game's situations. When it turns out that this friend of ours is actually Six from the original Little Nightmares, your investment in their safety goes up, at least if you're aware of the first game's events. It's also cause for concern, but we'll let that lie.

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As for the gameplay, fans of the genre will find it intuitive and user-friendly, bar a few unruly hitboxes that may just be a sign I was playing a pre-release build. To navigate the hostile, side-scrolling world of Little Nightmares II, you'll need to use your environment to solve puzzles, traverse gaps, and slay foes. Whether it's a case of hiding in a box or swinging from a rope, there's a convenient way of dealing with every situation these first two levels throws at you. That being said, there's still a healthy amount of trial and error in Little Nightmares II, so be prepared to watch Mono meet more than a few unfortunate ends.

Little Nightmares II / Credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Little Nightmares II / Credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment

The enemies give you no quarter when they spot you, but you can't stealth past all of them. The child-like foes have to be dispatched in most cases, which can be done by luring them into a trap (suckers), or by a well-timed blow with a weapon (don't worry, they're not real children). As for the larger enemies, such as "The Teacher", they will kill you as soon as they look at you, so keep quiet and out of sight. Besides, the noise she makes when she accosts you is goddamn terrifying, so don't give her the chance.

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The most striking part about Little Nightmares II is the environment. This world may be populated by menacing monstrosities, but its somber, melancholic feel is the true horror. Colours exist in a trapped state, mid-fade into a listless monotone devoid of warmth. This bleak aesthetic had me asking myself if it was worth pushing forward, because it doesn't look like Mono and Six have a bright future at the end of this ordeal, and yet I couldn't stop playing. Maybe that says more about me than the game itself.

Little Nightmares II / Credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Little Nightmares II / Credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment

So far, Little Nightmares II is a stellar example of classic horror video gaming. The trial and error gameplay mixed with a desolate in-game world makes for an engaging experience you won't want to miss. Here's hoping the rest of the game continues in this fine form.

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Little Nightmares II was played on PC with preview code supplied by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game releases on February 11 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

Featured Image Credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment

Topics: PC

James Daly
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