Little Nightmares II (Preview)Platforms: PC | Sony PlayStation 4 | Sony PlayStation 5 | Microsoft Xbox One | Microsoft Xbox Series X | Nintendo Switch
Little Nightmares II is coming for you and, believe me, you are not prepared.
After playing a preview build of the game that showcases the first two levels of the game, I came away with an undeniable feeling of excitement for where the Little Nightmares series was heading along with an indescribable sense of dread for what will await us when it takes us there.
In this game, you play as Mono, a new character to the series. Mono is a young boy with a paper bag on his head. It is a striking character design and I felt immediately drawn to him in much the same way I was with Six and her yellow raincoat.
The first level is Wilderness, which will be familiar to fans who played the demo late last year, which seems Mono exploring a deep dark wood filled with gruesome traps, before coming across a cabin nestled in the heart of the woods. Here he finds a raincoat-less Six and rescues her from captivity, this is where the pair are chased down by a looking huntsman. The demo cut off part-way through the actual level, the full level is even more intense and terrifying. If you thought the huntsman was relentless and deadly before, you have no idea what is in store for you here. The guilt of seeing poor little Mono getting gunned down never went away.
From here, the pair set sail for a large ominous looking city. The buildings are massive, big enough to house the horrifying giants that terrorise our heroes, they buckle and bend under the sheer pressure of their size. Eventually Mono and Six find their way into a school and I say without hyperbole this is one of the scariest levels I have ever experienced in a game. This shames every previous level of Little Nightmares, honestly. Every adult has a certain level of anxiety leftover for their time at school and Little Nightmares II deftly plays on those fears and amplifies them. I will not spoil any of the new creatures that you encounter in the halls of this school, but I promise that they will shake you to the core. By the time I had helped Mono and Six escape, I feared my heart was going to pop.
These levels are a major departure from The Maw, where the majority of the original game and its DLC were set. These locations are on the mainland of whatever warped world Little Nightmares resides, expanding the world-building, and subtly hinting at a far bigger, scarier mythology than the bloodcurdlingly ambiguous original suggested. The mind races with possibilities, now that we can explore the world of Little Nightmares in more depth. There are so many spaces in our world that can be warped through this game's unique lens. I am both giddy and anxious about that.
Little Nightmares II has introduced some new gameplay tricks to help Mono's scrapes with a horrible, horrible death. The ability to defend yourself is a crucial addition to the game, whereas in the original when you held an item the use button would throw it, some items here can be swung as a weapon. This will come in handy at certain points in the game but do not fear because the ability to fight back does not rob the game of that powerless feeling that made the original Little Nightmares so scary. If anything the ability to fight only adds new layers of panic to your encounters.
The traversal and the puzzles are as challenging as ever, relying on good level design to make it feel intuitive without feeling blatant. Any failures I made along the way were entirely my fault, I was simply not thinking hard enough in any given situation. The solutions always feel unique and well thought out. This game already feels every bit as smart as it is utterly terrifying.
Little Nightmares was an instantly iconic slice of gaming horror, one without equal, and Little Nightmares II looks set to take the series even further than before. If you are brave enough to follow.