Nidhogg 2 — Review

Nidhogg returns with another exciting installment of tug-of-war duels that provide great unpredictability and frantic swordplay that made the first game so good to play.

Nidhogg 2 has a few new additions to the game this time. New weapons enhance the gameplay in interesting and challenging ways. There’s also new level selection, which adds a variety that was sometimes missed in the first game.

These are but a few of the welcomed changes to the Nidhogg series. However I am unconvinced as to the changes in the art style of the game, but that doesn’t make it a bad game, right?

All the close calls and the tense standoff moments you loved in Nidhogg have returned in Nidhogg 2. The split second moments of actions that can prove fatal are just as fun and engaging as they were the first time round. Tight head to head duels that are settled with pure luck or moments of pinpoint precision still feels as great and rewarding as ever.

Nidhogg 2 is a game built on simple mechanics, which there is absolutely nothing wrong with. As with the first game, the relatively simple mechanics are nailed down and it’s the players that add the depth to them.

The game really shines when two players face off against each other in a stalemate like fashion. It’s a standoff where you’re waiting for someone to make a mistake and slip up or for an opening to unleash your stabs of fury. There’s nothing better than hailing a bunch of quick blows and slashes at a friend, only to march across his corpse gaining some ground on them.

There’s a great level of depth to the weapon play in Nidhogg 2 as the addition of new weapons opens up the possibilities. Players will respawn with a random weapon. This could be a heavy broadsword, powerful, slow swinging weapon that can actually disarm an opponent. A Dagger, which is fast and nimble and can also be thrown at your enemies and the Bow, which is pretty much useless in all honesty. Players can easily dodge the arrows fired, which was a disappointment for me, as I tend to navigate towards the bow and arrows in games.

This new weapon mechanic when respawning can change the entire game in some instances. It’s a really great addition, adding another layer of tactical play. Cries of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are heard throughout as players respawn with their favourite and most hated weapons.

Unarmed executions also return, which helps players who have thrown away their useless bow and arrow. Dive kicking your opponent in the face only to perform a stomping animation, once again, on their face.

Melee is fun, but it seems to have lost the punch it once had in the original Nidhogg game. It’s nice to stomp your opponents to death, but somehow the original Nidhogg’s melee felt so much better. I’m not sure if this is down to the new look of the Nidhogg 2, or it’s down to the animations themselves.

I dare say that the visual differences between Nidhogg 1 and Nidhogg 2 will be the talking point of most people criticism. Gone is the minimalistic pixel look that charmed most people, including myself, in the first game. It’s now in favour of a somewhat more colourful and cartoonish look, that wasn’t always as appealing to a returning player like myself.

The simplicity in Nidhogg 1 was one of the reasons I was drawn to the game and I feel that overall it worked better for the game. That being said there are some major improvements to the backgrounds of each level. Backgrounds now look great, becoming much more vibrant and animated. It’s one of the more please aesthetics of the game and it’s a marked improvement from the first game.

The character design on the other is not as pleasing to look at. The developers have gone for an odd cartoonish look that takes away from the appeal of the original nameless warriors of the first game. They are still simple in design but don’t have the same charm as the original blank-faced sword swingers.

Despite my lack of personal interest in the character design, it has to be said that even though I’m not as fond of the look, it doesn’t go so far to spoil the game in any way. That’s one of the major points to take away from Nidhogg 2.

The amount of action and carnage that can occur in just a split second is what makes Nidhogg 2 one of the most fun and intense games you can play. You’re bound to have some of the funniest moments you can possibly have in a 2 player combat game.

The visual taste might not be to everyone’s liking (me included) but the smart and chaotic dueling that we all loved from the first game is still ever present. There is endless competition to be had amongst friends and moments of pure laughter that remain true to the style of Nidhogg.

Nidhogg 2 is a great couch game and this above anything else is its greatest appeal. It’s great to watch, but it’s even better to play and has plenty of laugh out loud moments that make it one of the best party games. So put away your Cards Against Humanity set and prepare for some Nidhogg face stomping action.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.