Thanks to Messhof for the review code
Title: Nidhogg 2
System: Playstation 4
Release Date: 08/15/2017
Even as someone who had never played the original game before, I was well aware of the mixed reception this game received upon reveal due to the artstyle, which ditches the Atari 2600 inspired visuals for something more akin to a 16 Bit game. Sudden jump in artstyle aside though, there’s really nothing wrong with these visuals, and in fact it ends up looking like a really nice and detailed game. The level backgrounds and character sprites are well animated, and the ability to customize your character with all sorts of different colors and accessories really adds a lot of charm. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the music, which ends up being pretty forgettable and dull to listen to.
The main objective of a match in Nidhogg 2 is really simple, and it requires you to kill the other player in order to claim an arrow that points to one side of the map. Following the arrow without letting the other player claim it for themselves will lead you to the end of the stage, where you’ll be taken by a freaky worm monster that’s the titular Nidhogg. Outside of some customization options before entering a match, the game itself tends to be the same for each stage, with only certain hazards such as pits and certain platforms serving as environmental threats depending on the stage, as falling into these pits will give the arrow to the other player automatically.
In order to defeat your foe, you’ll be given the ability to use a wide assortment of weapons, from a Bow & Arrow combo, a knife, to a classic fencing sword, and even your own feet if you’re unarmed. You can raise these weapons up and down, Urban Champion style to block your opponent’s attack before swinging at an opening for the kill. Alternatively, you can toss your weapon by holding up on the D-Pad and using the attack button to throw it across the screen, either as a long-range attack or to replace your weapon with a new one. While it may sound a bit unfair that you can easily die from just beating up the other opponent non-stop, it’s not too bad for either side as the missing player will just respawn shortly after death, and even if you manage to jump over the other player and go off screen, he’ll spawn up ahead to block your path, which ensures that in multiplayer matches against real people there’s always a fierce fight going on that you’ll need to make sure to keep up with.
In the single-player Arcade mode things can get pretty dull really quickly, as some of the earlier CPU opponents tend to be rather dumb and don’t get aggressive until the later half of the Arcade mode, which is a natural difficulty balance for a game like this, but considering how the core game requires high intensity from both sides to be engaging, it ends up being a bit jarring when the early opponents only kill you and try to make it off screen when he has the chance. Luckily, that’s where the Multiplayer comes into play, and when I played it locally with a few friends of mine we had an amazing time, getting to grips with the tug-of-war gameplay as we would constantly push each other back to see who would be the one to succeed, and some matches would take quite a while as a result since you can stay on one screen for a very long time if you’re determined. Outside of that, a standard set of trophies and an Online mode however, there isn’t much depth to this game, so like Sportsball on the Wii U, your fun will solely come out of your fix on multiplayer, and the fact the game plays perfectly for the setting makes it all the more worthwhile.
In conclusion, Nidhogg 2 is still a fun game, despite the lack of single player content outside the trophy hunt. The solid mechanics work well and do lead to a ton of fun to be had with friends locally or online. With all that said however, it’s a bit hard to recommend Nidhogg 2 to anyone outside of multiplayer fanatics who want to find the next game to spend hours upon hours fighting others online on, since the price is rather steep for a game with little content outside of a basic arcade mode, a small list of trophies, (with the infamous Hogglike returning to give grandmasters something to shoot for) and multiplayer. Still, a game of this nature being so solid and so much fun in the multiplayer alone makes this a game that I can at least say is fun with friends, even if it’s not for everyone and the price may be a bit steep, but the game does accomplish what it sets out to do. This might actually be one of the few games that I feel would greatly benefit from a Switch port due to the multiplayer focus of the game, and I think the Joycons would be perfect for setting up quick, in-person matches, since it’s a bit harder to do so with a console like the PS4. Still, I give Nidhogg 2 a 6 out of 10, and strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fun multiplayer game with friends.