A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Little Nightmares II is an adventure game for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The adventure is designed to be scary, with some elements that could surprise or frighten some players. You must sneak around environments, filled with huge, creepy-looking characters that go about their business. If they catch you, they could eat you, shoot you, trap you, and more. The music and sound effects (like squeaking floors) and dark visuals may also be frightening for kids. Some scenes include piles of dead bodies, with flies around them, meat grinders, and implied suicide with people falling off buildings. There are two versions of the game, including a Deluxe version that includes extra content, and it's expected to offer downloadable content (DLC) like the previous game in the series.
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What's it about?
LITTLE NIGHTMARES II merges an adventure game, a platformer, and survival horror into one package. It takes place a while after Six -- the hapless young female protagonist in the yellow raincoat from the first game -- escapes from the Maw. Six meets a small boy named Mono, who wears a paper bag as a mask. But this isn't her story. Instead, Mono is the controllable character in Little Nightmares II, with Six as his artificial intelligence (AI)-controlled companion as the player navigates through a decaying city and countryside. These locations are inhabited by creepy-looking human-like characters that go about their business (such as watching TV, sitting at a dinner table or toiling on a bench in a workshop). Your goal is to remain undetected, solve various environmental puzzles, escape these frightening locations unscathed, and reach the Signal Tower, where the mysterious Thin Man is controlling the population through television transmissions. You'll move through scary locations -- like a forest (with crazy hunters), school (filled with haunting bullies), and hospital (with demonic surgeons inside) -- making Mono perform actions like sneaking, hiding, smashing objects, and jumping out of danger. You can summon Six so that she can help perform actions like hoisting you up to a high ledge or grabbing onto your dangling legs when you need extra weight to pull down a trap.
Is it any good?
You don't need to know anything about the first game -- though you may be inspired to track it down when you finish this one -- but this atmospheric adventure is well worth your time. Successfully blending puzzles, platforming, and fear, Little Nightmares II starts off with Mono and Six learning to work together to solve puzzles. Most of these puzzles are environmental, such as standing on each other's shoulders to reach an attic drawstring, tossing objects to snap bear traps, or ducking under tall reeds to avoid detection. There's no dialogue in the game, but it doesn't mean you don't develop a bond with the protagonists. Between the atmospheric (and frightful) images, fluid animation, crisp sound effects, and a wonderfully haunting musical score, you'll find Little Nightmares II a game that's hard to put down. Along with platforming tasks, there are also some timing-based challenges, like evading gunfire or a rolling log while being chased. If you die, you'll start the level only a little earlier than when you perished, so you're not forced to play through chunks of a level all over again as punishment. The pacing of the game is perfect.
Little Nightmares II does have a couple of small technical issues, which breaks the suspension of disbelief. Some of these game bugs could even force you to restart levels to solve puzzles. As fun as the game is, it's also not very replayable, since all the items and enemies are in the same place each time, and there aren't any additional modes or multiplayer support. For instance, online co-op, with one person controlling Mono and the other Six, would have been great. Despite its few shortcomings, Little Nightmares II is a wonderfully crafted adventure game with a ton of character, smart puzzles, and high-production values that's a real treat for gamers who like spooky tales.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes media "scary." Is it the fear of the unknown? Images of death and destruction? Dark environments and creepy music? When does a parent know if their kids are ready to consume media that could frighten them?
Do you like facing your fears? What's something that you can take away from confronting something that you find scary? Should you do this all the time, or only during certain circumstances?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Release date: February 11, 2021
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Violence
- Last updated: April 28, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.