Switch version tested
Review code provided
Nidhogg 2 as you might guess is the second game in the series from indie developer Messhof Games and now comes to the Nintendo Switch. It originally released back in 2017 on PlayStation 4 and the Steam Platform.
On my initial boot up I was slightly disappointed, not by the game as such but from a polite warning screen reminding me that I would need to subscribe to the Nintendo Online Service in order to access the online features of the game. Needless to say I am now signed up to yet another gaming subscription service but I digress. What you also notice on initial boot up is the shift in visuals from the first outing, it’s like the developers decided to turn everything up to 11. While the original was functional the improvements made this time help to make Nidhogg 2 a beautiful example of pixel perfection and a memorable one at that. The soundtrack is great and sound effects are beefy with some disturbingly squelchy kill sounds.
In a nutshell, Nidhogg 2 is the video game equivalent of the Highlander movie series – there can be only one! The basic premise of the game is to kill or be killed in a bid to reach the end goal and become the last man standing. Running from left to right you must traverse each level beating enemies that cross your path, fencing on steroids is fitting. There are a total of three different gameplay modes – Arcade, Local and Online multiplayer. Each start with a fun character customisation option. Pick a colour skin and away you go, everything from head to toe can be changed. Hitting Y and randomising can lead to some pretty amazing and obtuse characters being made.
The core mechanic is a beautifully basic concept matched by the 2-button control set up, which coming hot off the back of Red Dead Redemption 2 was a breath of fresh air for me. Each level starts with you facing off in a duel against an enemy. You can attack or jump and button pushes can be combined with the directional stick to add simple modifiers to the move set. Attacks can be aimed high or low and you can even throw weapons at an oncoming enemy. You don’t always need to be carrying a weapon as momentum, accuracy and timing are all key elements to success. As progression is made different weapons can be collected to sit alongside the trusty rapier – broadswords, daggers and a bow & arrow now feature. Each weapon type offers variety in attack and as such a shift in strategy as they also come with their own weaknesses.
During one of my many playthroughs, I spent what seemed like a good five minutes (30 seconds in reality) playing a sort of tennis deathmatch with an opponent. I fired my bow, which is the slowest of the new weapons, only for the arrow to be deflected back towards me. Naturally, I returned it and, you guessed, it was deflected again… and repeat. It really didn’t end well for me though and some of the deaths in the game are brutal. At the end of each level you race to the finish line and victory… well until you are wiped out by a giant flying worm. Praise the maker! The story mode is short, set over 10 stages and can be finished within half an hour or so depending on how you play and whether or not luck is on your side. Nidhogg 2 really starts to shine when in multiplayer and the more you have played the single player mode the more things start to pay off and make sense. The interaction between humans is a far more satisfying experience than against the AI controlled characters, especially if facing off locally – for that banter factor. Nobody wants to finish second.
Nidhogg 2 is short and basic on the surface but offers a fun and rewarding experience the more you play. Add multiplayer into the equation and you are set for many hours of entertainment. Visually bright and colourful with some absolutely fantastic pixel artwork in the form of both its main characters and backgrounds. The animation is smooth and the game feels like a lot of love has gone into making this a polished final product.
Beard Score: 8/10
Nintendo Switch Essentials:
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 22/11/2018 (Switch)
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Fighting, Action, Party
Download link: eShop