There are a lot of fighting games that try to diversify their style but Nidhogg 2 attempts to up the ante and uses death as a mechanic to a create a fun gameplay experience. The game is best played in co-op with a friend but even if you don’t like co-op, it can be a fun arcade experience that challenges your wits and features plenty of animated gore.
The basic gameplay loop of Nidhogg 2 revolves around killing your opponent and the running to his side of the screen to reach the end of the stage. It works like a traditional side-scrolling platformer with the addition of combat, but the combat plays a significant role in this game of tug of war. The person who manages to accomplish this task is deemed the winner of the stage although it isn’t really as easy as it sounds here. The real challenge of Nidhogg 2 comes from the opponent so if you are playing with a computer A.I, it will be hard to appreciate the real beauty of the game.
Nidhogg 2 features a variety of different weapons that will randomly spawn each time you die or kill the opponent. You can lose the weapon from your hand if you get kicked by the opponent and you can do the same to them. So the game basically results in a wacky chase between you and the opponent as you both try to kill the other player and then make the run for his side of the screen. The player that gets killed will keep resurrecting and respawn again and his objective is to stop his opponent from running away to the end of the stage. Meanwhile the other player will have the choice to either kill opponent again or try to avoid combat by dodging and running his way to the end of the stage. The trick here is that you will have to kill your opponent first before you are allowed to run across the screen.
The different weapons all work well in the game resulting in some hilarious deaths. The traditional rapier is always the best weapon if you want to make a quick run to victory as not only it is fast, but it is also tricky to block. There is also a sword that is heavy to swing but kills the opponent brutally if hit. The weakest weapon is arguably the knife while you can also use a bow and arrow to shoot your opponent, it can also result in your death if the opponent manages to deflect your arrow back at you.
There is not a lot to offer in term of the variety of modes in Nidhogg 2. You can play an Arcade mode which features 10 different stages. It starts off relatively easy but can become tricky as you unlock more levels. You have to complete all 10 stages to end it but getting to the end can be a frustrating experience. It can take somewhere between 20 to 30 minutes for the main Arcade mode and there are online leaderboards for those who prefer to keep a record of it. If you manage to finish it under 20 minutes, you can get a trophy as well.
Aside from the Arcade mode, the meat of the game lies in the multiplayer mode offering either Tournament or a standard versus mode with a friend. You will be able to set your own rules here like selecting the weapons that will spawn in the battle or changing and tweaking some game specific features like adding gravity and disabling melee or low kicks. These can be tweaked to create a stage that you see fit and they can help diversify the traditional gameplay experience by offering more options.
The visuals feature a very distinct ‘ugly’ art style that attempts to mask the animated violence and gore effectively. It actually works very well for the game and for the type of look it is attempting here. The models are all animated neatly while the backgrounds are often highly detailed which makes it a great visual experience coming off from the retro look of the original Nidhogg. There is also an online multiplayer mode that features a ranking mode so you can spend a good amount of time online attempting to build your rank, although the lower player population doesn’t make it easier to find opponents online.
Nidhogg 2 Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Nidhogg 2 is a fighting game and sequel to Nidhogg by indie developer Messhof.
A charming fighting game that offers a great experience in co-op. It might be short in length but you will be able to enjoy a good amount of replay value in a party or with friends.