Having greatly appreciated the first episode, it is with some haste that I start this Little Nightmares II. Barely launched, here I am facing my first nightmare: a license agreement to go through before being able to move on. But nothing resists me, and I scroll through this obscure text, which no one will ever read, for a good ten seconds. Here I am, ready to embark on the adventure. So what is this sequel worth?
“Hey! HEY !!! THE HUNTER !!! THERE !!! “
Developed by the Swedes of Tarsier Studios, Little Nightmares II plunges us back into the tortured universe of the opus released in 2017. After having played there a little girl in a raincoat bearing the name of Six, this time we move on to a little boy, Mono, who has a paper bag on his head . I can’t wait to see which main character will be featured in the possible next episode, and what their outfit will be. Anyway. The story begins in the middle of a forest, television sets lying here and there. How did we get here? No idea, but it is often like that in a nightmare.
The universe of the title being built in a linear fashion, you will have no choice but to move forward. A succession of events will then follow which will take you to visit several environments, such as an elementary school or a mental asylum. But no matter where in the story we are, the atmosphere will necessarily be oppressive, and we will progress with the ball in the stomach. The work on the play of light and shadow was also very careful. The graphic touch is located halfway between a kind of realism mixed with cartoonish, very creepy, without falling into the gore. The distorted architecture of the place is also reminiscent of certain currents of painting, such as cubism or impressionism.
The studio has also worked a lot on the sound aspect of the game, although it is often very quiet, apart from the main theme which is particularly effective. This apparent ambient calm makes each sound disturbing: the sound of footsteps or broken glass, and your senses will be immediately alerted. Your eyes will go straight to find the nearest place to hide. Carpet in the shadows, praying not to be spotted, the vibrations of the controller will reproduce the heartbeats of our hero. The threat has its back turned? Now is the time to move as quietly as possible to the next shelter. You guessed it, it will usually be during the danger phases that dark and disturbing musical notes will be heard.
“You, basically, on the board! “
The camera moves intelligently and knows how to put the player in the mood: it draws attention to what we might perceive as a threat, but also subtly tells us where to go. Each entry into a new room makes me put the controller down for a few moments, both to overcome apprehension, but also to admire this incredibly macabre artistic direction. Any everyday object (clothes, chess pieces, etc.) is made particularly scary. Inanimate beings are often much more frightening than visible enemies. We always have this hint of concern, this fear that a model will start to move when our character is nearby.
Little Nightmares II alternates between passages of infiltration and action, all embellished with some rather accessible puzzles. Quite often, like a “die & retry”, you will make mistakes that will bring you back to the previous checkpoint, luckily never too far away. Far from being punitive, these errors make it possible to understand how to approach the infiltration phase, or to know what traps to avoid during the next attempt.
Tarsier Studios also tried to renew the formula of the first opus, by offering cooperative play phases (with a character controlled by the AI). Often well built and calling on the associated skills of the two characters, some passages will be sometimes frustrating, especially those requiring to be in rhythm with your playing partner. I regret, however, that these actions mainly boil down to making “short scales” and other pushing actions. And I would also have appreciated that another player could take control of the second character. But this novelty is also a double-edged sword. Because certainly, it brings a welcome variety, but the two phases greatly weaken certain moments of tension (not all, because a certain passage in air ducts will mark me for life, I believe).
«NFS, chimie, iono»
After praising the qualities of the game, let’s talk about what annoys. The main problem encountered in Little Nightmares IIis depth management. As in the previous episode, it is often difficult to perform the jumps and other movements well. I did not take into account the “suicides” caused by this poor evaluation of distances, but it is all the same a rather irritating point that must be underlined. Add to that sometimes awkward controls and a few rare collision bugs, you have to repeat it often several times to perform an action. In particular during the few phases of combat where you have to handle a weapon. Last gameplay concern, but not the least: the title will sometimes require the precise use of the flashlight. But the aim turns out to be catastrophic to say the least, making some passages far too frustrating for what they are.
As for the story, I found it a bit behind the first episode, but it only bothered me that that. I have the impression that the developer wanted to focus on the thrills linked to the sequence of striking scenes, even if it means neglecting the fact of linking them together using a thicker scenario arc. By the way, a piece of advice that I will give to those who have read me so far: do not neglect the items to collect, these will allow you to access a bonus end cutscene.
Regarding the lifespan: the game is divided into five chapters of varying duration (between 30 and 90 minutes). But all in all, count a good handful of hours to see the end of it, and maybe an hour or two more if you are looking for 100%. It is not enough, knowing that the development studio had communicated on the double, especially for a title sold 30 euros. For successful hunters, we forget the time trial run and without dying in the first episode, everything is much more accessible. The list also allows you to discover lots of little additional things that are quite accessory but pleasant, such as winks or other funny scenes.
Little Nightmares II improves the strengths of the previous opus, but retains the same flaws, which are sometimes even more disabling here. However, the thrills of the five big hours of the story make up for these negatives. I will retain from this landmark adventure a breathtaking artistic direction, the care taken in the animations and the characters, but above all this macabre and disturbing atmosphere.
|Visual impairment||Hearing impairment|
|✘ High contrast (aiming reticle)||✘ Subtitles with ambience indications|
|✘ Font color size||✘ Identification of the person speaking|
|✘ Marking enemies||✘ Customizable font|
|✘ Customizable interface||✘ Customizable font color|
|✘ Customizable mini-card color||✘ Alternative alert options (vibration, flash, etc.)|
|✘ Option daltonisme||✘ Ambient sounds signaled (informs about presence)|
|✘ Option Text to speech|
|✘ Slowing down of the game|
|TV details||4K||Game provided by the publisher||Yes|
|Console||Xbox Series X||Time spent on the game||7 hours|
|Difficulty level||x||Game over||Yes|
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