Little Nightmares was a fun little game. I feel like I can’t say that much more than that without spoiling anything: but it was a fun little afternoon romp and a great rainy day activity to have in your back pocket.
Based on our brief time with the sequel, I think it’s going to be a little more memorable this time around.
By way of a preview build, Destructoid was able to play roughly the first half hour or so of the game: which serves as an intro of sorts and introduces one of the key new mechanics of companionship into the mix.
If you’ve never delved into this (now) series before, Little Nightmares II is still a very environmental-heavy puzzle-platformer not unlike Limbo or any of its predecessors, but with elements of horror mixed in, all juxtaposed to a creepily cute art style. Everything is a little smoother and more detailed in the follow-up, though.
As is customary, Little Nightmares II forces you to keep track of everything on-screen, even objects that aren’t in your direct line of sight. Early puzzles muse with the idea of throwing errant objects on bear traps to spring them, for instance, with the option to avoid them with keen eyes. There’s a ton of very cool details like objects breaking off of the environment and triggering traps, too. It’s a heavily stylized game, which feeds into the horror angle. It’s still extremely atmospheric and cryptic, which I really dig.
Shortly into the game you’ll encounter the semi-spoilery and very significant AI character, which helps make the sequel feel less lonely; without sacrificing the innate horror feeling of it all. I immediately got some hard Ico vibes (you can even grab them by the end and signal/call them), and Little Nightmares II significantly benefits from leaning into it. In case you were wondering: yep, there are giant horrific creatures again, which are coupled with some stealth and chase sequences. Collectible/wearable masks also seem to be in, though details are scarce in the preview build.
Little Nightmares II is slated for release next year, and there’s still a bit more work to be done. I had an instance where the AI just stayed in place and was motionless: then joined me when I changed screens (so nothing gamebreaking). Then there was the minor annoyance of the AI jumping on top of a block instead of pushing it (the correction took around 10 seconds). Again, it’s nothing major.
I’m excited to see where Little Nightmares II goes, especially with the tease at the end that sees our heroes enter a looming and imposing cityscape. It’s out on February 11, 2021 on PC and current generation consoles: with a “later in 2021” window for PS5 and Xbox Series X.
[This preview is based on impressions of a pre-release build provided to Destructoid by Bandai Namco via the Shadow cloud service.]