By Dean Moses
Game: Little Nightmares 2
Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One
Rating: T for Teen
Cost: $29.99 ($39.99 for the Nintendo Switch)
Nightmares have fascinated humans throughout our history. Many of us still Google what dreams could mean in terms of our subconscious while others believe they could be messages sent to provide us with insight. Whatever you choose to believe, there is no doubt that nightmares are fascinating albeit rather terrifying, often preying on our deep-rooted fears. It is these fears developers Tarsier Studios and Supermassive Games have utilized to bring us Little Nightmares 2.
Little characters, big nightmares
The narrative of Little Nightmares 2 is rather covert. We take control of a small child-like being who traverses worlds much larger than the character and often quite warped. There is no dialogue or voice acting, instead the subjective plot unfolds through the sensations we feel as we progress. The game does a superb job of placing the player in tense situations that creep us out and unnerve us without being overly gruesome or bloody. Instead it makes us feel as if these are nightmares we may actually have had at one point or another in our lives.
Fast feet and fast mind
You will spend much of your time throughout Little Nightmares 2 solving puzzles and swiftly fleeing from dangerous situations. We always see our tiny protagonist from a side angle, much like old 2D side scrollers from the 1990s, but that does not mean this is a 2D game. You can walk your figure back and forth in a 3D plain. In fact you will be required to in order to solve puzzles, such as restoring power to an elevator or setting off traps to prevent your demise.
There is also a fair amount of platforming you will need to perform in order to progress. From jumping over large gaps to running from large, hulking monsters who will chase you through vents and push over obstacles to capture you. There are also team-based puzzles that you will need to determine the answers to with the help of a CPU ally.
A Vivid Nightmare
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the game is the visuals and the way in which it makes you feel as the player. Something about being so tiny in an oversized landscape taking place in a distorted school, a haunting hospital, and more. Running from a teacher whose head elongates from the neck and slithers after you akin to a snake can bring true terror without ever feeling macabre. This combined with the creepy, yet charming graphical style works to fit all the pieces in place to create a horror experience that just works.
Little Nightmares 2 stirs something within our nature that, a horror that we want to look away from yet are still oddly attracted to. It makes us feel as though we may have dreamed these dreams long ago when we were children, shaking beneath the covers but as time went by and adulthood took us, those nightmares became married with puberty yet are still deep within us, somewhere. It is fun, haunting yet altogether a short adventure well worth experiencing.