Here’s what you need to know about the creepy platformer.
Tarsier Studios’ long-awaited Little Nightmares 2 is out on February 11th and will return to the eerie, disturbing world that defined its predecessor in 2017. This time around, players will venture outside of The Maw and tackle new challenges. Let’s take a look at 15 things you should know before buying.
Little Nightmares 2 focuses on Six and new character Mono who must traverse the Pale City and its various, TV-drenched horrors. With the world being twisted and corrupted, their goal is to reach the Signal Tower run by the Thin Man and presumably stop his broadcast. Tarsier Studios hasn’t confirmed exactly where in the timeline the story fits but this is considered a sequel, so take that for what you will.
Theme of Escapism
While Little Nightmares was about greed, the theme of Little Nightmares 2 is escapism. As senior narrative designer Dave Mervik told Eurogamer at Gamescom 2019, this ties into what’s going on with the TVs. “We’d like to explore the rich details in what this theme means, and how far can we take it,” says Mervik. “What does it mean for the world when it wants to escape something, and then what does that mean when you take that to Little Nightmares and amplify it in the way we do?” The theme was chosen from the very start of development so it should be interesting to see how it influences everything.
As noted before, Little Nightmares 2 introduces a new character with Mono, a youth wearing a paper bag over his head and who has a “very cool coat” according to the developer. He’s also the protagonist this time around and must escape the now-twisted landscape. The previous game’s protagonist Six also returns, raincoat and all, but how she factors into all of this is still a mystery. Players will discover more about her personality though whether she’s still affected by the outcome of the first game remains to be seen.
The Pale City
Despite venturing into the outside world, locations are still going to be as claustrophobic and harrowing as The Maw. Players start out in The Wilderness before making their way to the Pale City proper. Areas there include a school with a less than endearing educational program and a hospital full of dismembered patients. Then there’s the Signal Tower where all of the corruption stems from and the Pale Man presumably waits.
Some of the new foes this time around include The Hunter who inhabits The Wilderness, utilizing traps and a hunting rifle to snare his prey. There’s also The Teacher who has the “unusual ability to detect troublemakers” which is a nice way of saying that she can twist and extend her neck to look around. Several other major foes await but you’ll also deal with minor threats like The Living Hands in the hospital.
A Fresh Experience
Given its placement in the timeline – which is ambiguous at best – it’s not entirely necessary to play the first game to enjoy the sequel. Sure, it will help provide some clarity on the characters and tie into the overall lore. But the new protagonist and theme should allow new fans to jump in without feeling too lost (story-wise, at least).
If you’ve played the previous game, then the sequel’s gameplay should look very familiar. Along with platforming, you’ll solve various environmental puzzles to progress, like locating and using objects, pushing and pulling things, sneaking past terrifying foes and so on. Mono and Six will cooperate to solve puzzles but only the former is playable. Six is controlled by the AI and will respond accordingly to different situations so you won’t have to manually guide. Players can also pick up certain items and thwack enemies, though you can’t go around hacking and slashing at will.
No Co-op Multiplayer
Having two characters on-screen at once would make you think that Little Nightmares 2 has co-op, either local or via online multiplayer. Alas, this is not the case. It’s still thoroughly a single-player only game and you can’t have a second player take control of Six at all.
Reason for AI Companion
But why make Six an AI companion? In the same interview with Eurogamer, Mervik said co-op was initially considered. However, that idea was quickly abandoned because “We know what we want to do with this game and the story and how we want people to feel, and co-op would just kill that.” Having co-op would “destroy the atmosphere we built up” while players would also be discouraged from playing the “wrong” way. On the bright side, this approach allows for maintaining Six’s character and having some interesting dynamics with Mono.
For its brilliant aesthetic and story-telling, one common complaint from the first game was the controls. The sequel remedies that by improving their responsiveness. So despite having to deal with situations that can instantly kill you, the player is more capable in their ability to respond this time around. Of course, you can still die by not paying attention – like when dealing with The Hunter’s traps – so keep that in mind.
Little Nightmares featured several different kinds of collectibles from Nomes and Statues to Flotsam. Whether the sequel has the same variety of collectibles or not is unknown but you can unlock different hats for Mono to wear. These can be switched out whenever the player desires. Given how Mono enjoys putting stuff on his head (the dev’s words, not ours), this seems like the perfect thing to pursue.
Deluxe Edition and TV Edition
Along with the standard version of the game, Little Nightmares 2 also has a Deluxe Edition with extra content. This includes the Mokujin Mask (which is available to everyone who pre-orders), digital soundtrack, a digital artbook, Mono and Six avatars, and wallpapers. Players also receive The Nome’s Attic DLC which is about solving a special puzzle in-game and receiving the Nomes’ hat in return. There’s also a Collector’s Edition called the TV Edition which includes all of the Deluxe Edition content, an escape diorama, collector’s TV box and the full soundtrack on CD. You also receive a physical art book, exclusive stickers, collectible steelbook and a figurine of Mono and Six.
Free Xbox Series X/S and PS5 Upgrades
Little Nightmares 2 will be releasing first for Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch with the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 versions coming later this year. Fortunately, those who purchase the game on Xbox One and PS4 can avail free upgrades to the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 versions when they become available. So if you’re keen on jumping in at launch, even if you own a current-gen console, then this provides some incentive to revisit the game later.
For all its gorgeously creepy aesthetics, Little Nightmares 2 is thankfully not that heavy in terms of requirements. According to Steam, PC players will need an Intel Core i5-2300 or AMD FX-4350 with 4 GB of RAM. Either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 with 1 GB of VRAM or an AMD Radeon HD 7850 with 2 GB VRAM are needed. For the recommended specs, an Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-8350, 4 GB of RAM and a GTX 760 with 2 GB VRAM or Radeon HD 7870 with 2 GB VRAM are required. Overall, nothing too crazy.
Those curious about the game can try out the free demo now. It’s available on all platforms and takes place in The Wilderness as the player starts with Mono and locates Six. The duo must sneak past The Hunter and find a way to escape. If you’re on the fence about the controls or just want to see if it maintains that same standard of horror, this is a good way to try before you buy.