While I found Little Nightmares' lack of variety and some technical issues a bit more annoying than Bengt did in his review, the first trailer and details we'd received about Little Nightmares 2 definitely caught my interest. That's why I was more than willing to jump on the opportunity when offered a chance to play a short demo of the now delayed game. The only disappointing thing about my time with the demo is that it made the long wait harder. Let me give you three short and quick reasons why.
Despite only taking me approximately forty minutes to finish, the demo definitely gave me the impression that the Swedish developer has taken the feedback about repetition in the first game to heart. We won't be spending most of our time on a ship this time around, as the demo planted me in the middle of a dark and gloomy forest. The visual change on its own was more than enough to raise my expectations because each area really felt unique and distinct, whereas the original has a tendency to be a bit samey at times.
Being in a forest also brings ample opportunities to explore and try different things in more natural ways. Environments didn't feel as constructed, which also helped when my brain had to do some work. Let's face it, visual variety alone wouldn't be enough to justify a sequel, so we're also getting some new mechanics to play around with. I got to pick up an axe and use it to bash through a door, throw pine cones at bear-traps to disarm those nasty looking things just waiting for me beneath the leaves, and pretend to be Tarzan while using the rope from a snare trap to jump across a gap. All of these actions felt more natural, as well as diverse. If only I'd thought about why they felt more natural...
These things weren't just thrown into the forest because they would be neat puzzles, they were placed there by one of the bad guys: the appropriately-named Hunter. Some of the characters in Little Nightmares still haunt me, and this guy is no different. His weirdly shaped body, the hood over his head and you know... his shotgun made it absolutely clear that I didn't want to draw his attention when I crawled into his cabin.
The original's astonishing atmosphere is without a doubt back this time around, and I could almost hear my heart pumping as I tried to sneak past him as he was working on something horrendous with his back turned to me. It didn't help that I had to make some noise to get out, which of course drew both his and his shotgun's interest, forcing me to run for my life while taking cover behind some very conveniently placed boxes that turned into toothpicks after every shot fired. Fortunately, I had someone to calm my nerves after escaping through a fox hole.
Partners in Crime
Unlike last time, you won't spend pretty much the entire journey on your own. You'll come across companions including, Six, the main protagonist of the first game. Sure, she still isn't exactly chatty, but she can without a doubt be helpful and bring even more depth to the gameplay. My little friend helped me push a heavy briefcase up to a cabinet so that we could climb on top of it, boosted me up to ledges and raised the rope I was clinging to so that I could reach a key nailed high on a wall. All of this while rarely getting in the way or goofing around. Having a partner definitely opens the door for more complex puzzles and interesting storytelling.
There you have it. Three short and quick things that have me excited to play Little Nightmares 2 when it launches in February.
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