Following in the footsteps of Playdead’s cinematic platformers, Little Nightmares 2 Mobile first of the name has managed to find its audience. With a singular universe, this experience, not without flaws, unfolded a classic adventure in its structure, but very effective. What about this second opus? Did he learn lessons from the past to make his grievances disappear and surpass his elder?
Little Nightmares 2 Mobile Storyline
From the very first moments, the legacy of the studio at the origin of Limbo and Inside becomes more obvious than ever. Little Nightmares 2 Mobile adventure opens on a gloomy forest from which our new hero, dressed in a paper bag to hide his face, must escape. Trunks tumbling down a slope threatening to flatten us, wolf traps, crows, a chase sequence where the hero will have to hide in shadowy areas… Familiar imagery and situations already encountered by anyone who has touched Playdead’s titles. From a strictly narrative point of view, we were disappointed by Little Nightmares 2 Mobile. Where the first episode succeeded in restoring a tortured world, where disturbing figures found themselves around the practice of cannibalism, the second episode was a succession of nightmare sequences, sometimes gratuitous. The progression of the previous opus responded to the need for real script development. As the player progresses, he obtains elements of answers allowing him to reconstruct a gloomy story. Here the structure that will be repeated 4 times during the adventure is the following: Discovery of a place, infiltration and enigmas, pursuit phase, end of the zone. Each section takes place in a disturbing environment and is inhabited by a distinct monster. The woods are haunted by a masked hunter, an orphanage by an authoritarian schoolteacher… We will be careful not to reveal the following to leave you the pleasure of discovery.
While it is not impossible that we may have misinterpreted certain narrative elements, these horror sequences do not seem to share any scriptural link. So much so that the last act seems completely uncorrelated from the rest of the adventure and rushes to bring the whole thing to a satisfactory conclusion. By splitting the experience into several bad dreams, not always very subtle, Little Nightmares 2 Mobile seems to lose sight of its narrative ambitions. Its conclusion put aside, we did not really grasp where the title wanted to take us. But we have the feeling that he didn’t either. In the midst of its horror evoking childish anxieties or fears straight out of folk tales, Little Nightmares 2 Mobile seems for a while to want to address alienation by the media, only to finally retract it with a frankly disappointing sleight of hand. When the credits run out after 5 hours of play, one has the impression of having dealt with a title whose ambition is to chain together strong and impactful visuals at all costs. This aspect is successful because the monsters encountered offer really striking sequences. The places crossed, which are unfortunately limited to horror clichés, offer particularly well-composed rooms and benefit from a careful artistic direction. It is a pity that this is to the detriment of any kind of statement or solid narrative construction.
Frustration In Perspective
In terms of gameplay, the main novelty of this episode is that our hero is now accompanied by another child who allows him to solve puzzles requiring four little hands. It’s up to us to use short ladders and leaps over larger chasms… If ever the player needs to carry several objects, our friend will be happy to help him out. Without drastically changing the progression, it also allows us to alternate between phases alone or accompanied and thus regularly reinforce the feeling of insecurity. The rhythm is therefore positively affected and this novelty is therefore welcome. If the puzzles at the beginning of the game are not very complex, they remain pleasant to solve. Obviously, the growing complexity and the new mechanics implemented throughout the adventure renew the whole. Basically, these environmental puzzles are quite satisfying. However, it is regrettable that many of them have little dietary logic. If finding fragments of keys in sticky stuffed animals makes sense in the universe of Little Nightmares, not all the puzzles seem to be so well integrated. Thus one wonders which monster would place a key on a hook 3 meters high to connect it to a pulley system.
Unfortunately, Little Nightmares 2 Mobile finds its old demons and the main defect of the first episode is here even more disabling. Little Nightmares 2 Mobile differs from Playdead’s games by the management of the depth. The problem is that, coupled with the relative imprecision of the controls, some sequences become terribly frustrating. Overall, each phase of the gameplay requiring some semblance of precision becomes potentially laborious. We no longer count the number of missed jumps because we weren’t perfectly aligned. Going up a corridor, seen from the front, slaloming between the enemies becomes a real ordeal as we can hardly estimate their position in relation to ours. It is the same for the phases of combat, messy, which will have made us swear more than once. This global imprecision is all the more problematic during the pursuit phases. The player has only a small margin of error before being caught. He or she must identify the road to take and not miss it at the risk of death. However, it is easy to get stuck in a piece of scenery or to bump into a fellow player at the least opportune moment. This regularly spoils the experience, as one is sometimes more busy railing against rough controls than enjoying the very good staging.
Because on this side Little Nightmares 2 Mobile does not disappoint the least. Without sinking into the easy jumpscare, it manages to set up a heavy and sticky atmosphere, but also to create oppressive chase scenes. If the choice of three-dimensionality poses a problem in terms of gameplay, the chosen field of vision allows for some striking framing. The camera never stops moving to support the staging and takes distance when necessary to support the gigantic nature of the locations or the monsters encountered. There are also nice depth-of-field effects that sometimes weakly mask our opponents, which makes their nature even more ambiguous and creates anxiety. These formal choices are naturally at the service of an efficient artistic direction. If one regrets a selection of places and antagonists rather agreed upon, their visual treatment has enough personality to overcome this grievance. Tortured and deformed, monsters inspire as much fear as discomfort. One notes however originality below the first episode which was much more refreshing in its last act. In short, the whole is still as aesthetically successful as ever, but the inspirations of this second opus perhaps lack the madness to make a lasting impression. Technically, apart from rare framerate falls on the Fat console when a new zone is loaded, we have no reproaches to make against Little Nightmares 2 Mobile. The lighting effects are successful, the models are detailed and the title never seems to be pulled back by its technique. We appreciate this DA all the more thanks to its impeccable audio production. The heavy and disturbing noises emanating from the places crossed allow an anxiety-provoking atmosphere to settle in. The screams and rales of the antagonists are not to be outdone, while the soundtrack with music box motifs supports the apparent innocence of the protagonists.
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