Little Nightmares 2 Review

Richard Walker

Strange and unsettling rather than outwardly scary, the first Little Nightmares crawled beneath your skin, leaving behind an impression with weird, indelible imagery and unusual, (bad) dreamlike environments. Little Nightmares II is cast firmly in the same, freaky mould, this time taking the hand-holding journeying of ICO as an inspiration, with protagonist Mono, sporting a paper bag over his head, dragging along a familiar little companion.

Good friends always stick together.

This is developer Tarsier's second descent into a twisted realm of bad dreams, but this time, you're tasked with protecting Six, the previous game's yellow raincoat-clad main character, a seemingly delicate and vulnerable little waif. The relationship between Mono and Six initially has a similar dynamic to that of Ico and Yorda, but the interplay between them is barely explored – you can't help but feel that it's a missed opportunity, much like the lack of a co-op option, which seems like it should have been an obvious addition. What you're left with is a resolutely single-player affair (which is fine) that is largely hit and miss.

For every beautifully composed scene, Little Nightmares II manages to follow it up with a chase sequence that hinges entirely on trial and error – that is, learning a very specific path through to the other side, with even the slightest divergence from said path resulting in a fail state. When the game manages to invoke such a dark and macabre atmosphere, brimming with surrealistic menace, having to repeat an ill-conceived escape section again and again really puts a damper on things. Suddenly, the creeping sense of tension that's been building up is blown, normally thanks to the addition of background depth in what is otherwise a game where platforming takes place on a 2D plane.

Running away, weaving between pursuers, only to get snagged on a random, unseen object is hugely irritating, especially when it leads to having to repeat an entire section over again. In adding more depth to LN2's environments, Tarsier has created unnecessary annoyances that simply weren't present in the first game, which is a real shame given the amount of invention and intelligence found elsewhere. Even some of the stealth can be remarkably jittery, causing you to suck air through gritted teeth as an elastic necked teacher hears you knock over a glass bottle, her doll-like face squeaking towards you with a hideous painted-on grin, before you're gobbled up. Or a blimp-sized man tinkering with mannequins and body parts scurrying around on the ceiling, craning downwards to investigate the slightest little sound.

Then, there are moments where you're fighting off porcelain marionette children, swinging a ladle or hammer to smash their heads open, and should your timing be even slightly off, you're dead meat – back to the last checkpoint with you. Again. Conversely, moments where Mono and Six are fleeing together or helping one another traverse an obstacle or prise open a door are genuinely excellent, which is where those ICO comparisons hold some water. Leaping a huge gap and being caught while falling brings back fond memories of that game, as does holding Six's hand and scampering through oversized, looming scenery, or receiving a boost to hang from a door handle.

Wind your neck in…

Little Nightmares II certainly has its moments, despite its frequent annoyances. And there's no disputing the efficacy with which Tarsier creates a distinct, foreboding mood throughout, once again transforming the seemingly ordinary and everyday into the bizarre. Yet, I would be lying if I told you that I got much enjoyment out of LN2 – in spite of the excellent art style and memorable images it conjures, the game is at turns infuriating and deliberately obtuse. Where the first Little Nightmares was a much tighter, leaner experience, the follow-up is not only lengthier, but feels far flabbier than its predecessor. As for the story and its ending, that's something that even David Lynch would have trouble unpicking.

The original Little Nightmares was an easy recommendation, blending distinctive and disturbing visuals with elegant gameplay that, despite its imperfections, succeeded in being an unforgettable journey. Tarsier's sequel is similarly vivid and will live on in the mind long after you've finished it, but Little Nightmares II is, regrettably, a nightmare for all of the wrong reasons.

Little Nightmares 2

Despite contriving its fair share of unsettling moments, Little Nightmares II is a disappointing follow-up to one of 2017's most pleasant surprises. It might be a bigger game than its forebear, but it certainly isn't better.

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A fittingly eerie soundtrack lends itself well to the atmosphere that Tarsier has created, while the fitful movements of the game's puppet-like monsters sound suitably nasty, all cracking limbs and stretching skin. Icky.


An impressive-looking game that makes the world a frightening place with its grotesque denizens, contorted buildings, abandoned clothes and shoes, and vibe of general weirdness. Little Nightmares II conjures more uniquely bizarre imagery that you won't forget in a hurry.


This is much the same deal as the previous game, albeit with environments boasting expanded depth that can lead to all sorts of annoying little grievances. Trial and error platforming and chase sequences can be a real headache, too.


While boasting slightly longer runtime than the first game, Little Nightmares II is nonetheless relatively bloated, outstaying its welcome just a little too much. There are flashes of brilliance during its five chapters, but the numerous moments of frustration will stick with you.


A good, solid list with some enjoyable riddles to figure out and collectible hats for Mono to keep your eyes peeled for. Inevitably, you'll miss some of the glitched children and special actions on your first go, so this will likely encourage a second playthrough, if you dare.

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