All the most effective horror tales pack creepiness into even the smallest particulars, ensuring that you just at all times really feel a bit uneasy of their worlds. And if Polygon’s preview of the primary two chapters of Little Nightmares 2 is any indication, this sport is all about these particulars.
Little Nightmares 2 is developer Tarsier Studios’ follow-up to 2017’s Little Nightmares. Like the primary sport, Little Nightmares 2 places you answerable for a really tiny character, this time named Mono, who should sneak by means of a world full of giant (from their perspective) monsters. Whereas the primary sport was set largely in The Maw, a large ship at sea, Little Nightmares 2 is ready within the haunting metropolis of Pale Metropolis, which is stuffed with large buildings with terrifying monsters ready inside.
Little Nightmares 2 provides a mixture of gentle platforming, intelligent puzzles, and loads of stealthily hiding from enemies (identical to the primary sport), together with a sure part within the second chapter, which concerned a monster enjoying the piano, that was one among my favourite stealth sections in any current sport.
Each element feels fastidiously crafted to maximise the sense of dread. The atmosphere is scattered with unsettling scenes of inhabitants of Pale Metropolis who’ve suffered tragic, unexplained fates. Then there’s the sport’s myriad of unusual sounds. In nearly each space, some new sound comes from one thing lurking simply off-screen, just like the lumbering of big footsteps, a mysterious creature’s clicking, or the sound of a rope getting tighter and tighter.
All these cautious particulars feed into the sport’s final scare: demise. Identical to the primary sport, when you fail a puzzle or make the improper transfer in a stealth part, you’re most likely going to get caught by one of many monsters and endure a horrific destiny. And Little Nightmares 2 spares no expense on simply how dangerous these deaths can get.
Getting caught once you’re sneaking round causes a pointy and stunning burst of music to chop into the sport’s moody rating, because the monster you’re hiding from rushes towards you in a single inhuman method or one other. You’ll normally have a second or two to run, but it surely’s nearly at all times futile because the monster snatches you as much as eat you, or shoots you, or leaves you to another horrible finish.
Sadly, these scares turn out to be a bit bit much less efficient if it’s important to retry a bit greater than as soon as — one thing that occurred to me a number of occasions, due to the sport’s often unclear digicam and barely finicky controls. In a single case, a stealth part led me to retry a bit 4 completely different occasions, making the once-horrific demise scene little greater than an annoyance by the top. However these uncommon inconveniences are nicely price it for a way creepy every of the deaths is the primary time round.
A part of what makes every demise so memorable is how a lot care went into designing every of the sport’s enemies. The second chapter specifically exhibits off how robust these designs might be. The chapter’s most important monster is a schoolteacher from hell with monstrous eyes, plasticky pores and skin, a terrifying grin, and a neck that twists and extends endlessly — which the sport makes use of to nice impact in a number of of its stealth puzzles.
The instructor’s design is an enormous step up from the burlap-sack monsters of the primary Little Nightmares and exhibits simply how far Tarsier Studios has come within the few years since its launch. The instructor seems to be like a flesh-and-blood abomination, and each little look and sneer from her is uniquely creepy.
Virtually as scary because the instructor is her class of porcelain doll-like college students. They rove across the college like ravenous zombies that assault you when you transfer or make noise of their neighborhood. However every of those college students is about the identical dimension as our most important character, and meaning we’ve obtained the possibility to battle again as long as there’s a pipe, or hammer, or different blunt object round to make use of as a weapon. Whereas it’s clear these poor college students have misplaced no matter minds they as soon as had, the way in which they shatter into items when the boring thud of a melee assault hits them is nearly as unsettling as any demise Mono himself can endure.
Whereas all the enemies in Little Nightmares 2 can be lots terrifying when standing nonetheless, their animations add a complete new dimension to the sport’s unsettling ambiance. The bigger enemies just like the instructor stroll in a stilted jittery animation, like claymation monsters designed to look improper. In the meantime the scholars transfer with all of the grace and smoothness of the primary character, making them really feel like acquainted, alternate-world variations of Mono.
All these particulars permit even the quietest moments of Little Nightmares 2 to include a tiny little bit of dread, and thru the primary two chapters, I couldn’t wait to see what new terror awaited me. If the remainder of the sport is half as unsettling as the primary two chapters, Little Nightmares 2 is likely to be an early contender for one of many scariest video games of the 12 months.
Little Nightmares 2 is scheduled to be launched on Feb. 11, and can be obtainable on Nintendo Swap, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Home windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Sequence X.