Little Nightmares was one of Bandai Namco’s more successful non-anime ventures as a publisher when released back in 2017. Playing out similarly to cinematic platformers such as Flashback and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee with horrifying twists, the game put you in the shoes of a little girl named Six. After awakening from a nightmare, Six makes her way through a giant iron vessel known as “The Maw.” She starts with only a lighter and recurring hunger pangs that continue to nag at her throughout gameplay. Like most top tier horror stories, more is gradually revealed to the player while still leaving enough to the imagination to eat at them during the wee hours of a sleepless morning.
The result was a game that received critical acclaim based on its atmosphere and grisly scenarios that shouldn’t be spoiled here. Polygon gave the game a score of 8.5/10, mentioning that “…when the lights went out, it left me remembering that, really, I’m just a small thing in a dangerous world myself”. Developer Tarsier Studios was genuinely able to show off their range with this new IP. They went from the endearing worlds presented in Little Big Planet to the dark and gritty imagery found here seamlessly. The best part? The long-awaited follow-up is creeping upon us, and it’s just around the corner.
Little Nightmares II sees you taking on the role of a young boy by the name of Mono this time. Trapped in a world that’s been unhinged by the humming of the distant Signal Tower, he sets off on a journey through rugged landscapes with Six as his guide. With new territory comes new threats, ranging from a “sadistic teacher” and a “bloodthirsty Hunter,” among others, as the journey takes the duo through locations such as woodlands and schools. Ultimately, you’ll make your way to the tower mentioned above and uncover the source of evil that’s been running rampant across the world’s TV sets. (Perhaps this is what Gex’s arch-nemesis has been hiding out for the past 20 odd years. Jokes aside, it’s an eerily similar setup!)
As a small child, your diminutive size will yet again prove useful in traversal and weaving around this new world’s denizens. Fresh to this game (aside from Six serving as a partner) are tools and weapons to fend off the baddies- something you don’t always see in this fusion of gameplay genres. Many puzzle/platformers demand that you think your way through each scenario and sometimes run like hell during tense situations. This was also true of The last Little Nightmares. It will be interesting to see what this will add to the original game’s already tried-and-true formula.
Little Nightmares II will be launching for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch on February 21, 2020. It will also be joining the likes of other late eight-generation releases and jumping ship to the PS5 and Xbox Series X at some point “later in 2021”.