The first thing that is prevalent upon loading the game is the exquisite sound design coupled with an art style that combines the best elements of 16-bit graphics and a faux 3-d design; creating a beautiful entrance to the game. This 16-bit art style is on par with other modern games such as Stardew Valley and Shovel Knight, showcasing beautiful backdrops that bring life to each combat. The coursing bass and rising synths give an induced feeling of the intensity that the game holds ahead. Nidhogg 2 contains both an arcade mode, serving as the games story mode, as well as a local multiplayer mode, which serves up to eight players in tournament style combat with two combatants entering at a time. Upon selecting your preferred game mode, the game prompts you with a character customization screen attuned with options for changing your character’s color, as well as your accessories and hairstyle.
When playing the arcade mode you are then brought to the center hub of the game which is affixed around a small island and its surroundings. Here you compete in one-on-one combat in a ladder type form of progression through the games ten levels, beginning in the castle and working your way around various other features on the island serving as both a means of representing your progression, as well as serving as the backgrounds for your fights. The vibrant color design stands out from many of today’s games, fighting games especially, as the game favors a heavily neon design with each scene lighting the screen with an exuberant rainbow of color in comparison to some of the darker schemes more commonly utilized today.
Nidhogg 2 does not follow the traditional tropes that other fighting games have become synonymous with, such as intricate combo systems, instead it follows a fast paced, quirky, scene focused form of combat reminiscent of the design of Lethal League where the combat relies heavily on timing rather than combo execution. The combat pits two opponents across from each other both wielding swords, fists, daggers, and other weaponry. It is here that the game differs itself from the crowd by enabling four major ways of attack; a high attack aimed for the opponents head, a low attack targeting the opponents midsection, a throw attack that allows the player to hurl their weapon at their opponent, and a pummel attack should the player lose their weapon. Coupled with these four lethal forms of combat are disarming attacks such as a high kick and a slide kick that can disarm the opponent, creating an interesting balance between the lethal and nonlethal forms of combat.
The controls handle perfectly for the type of combat with simple combinations used for each of the four forms of attack. These attacks can be combined in order to transgress from scene to scene, however, it is important to note that should one want to instead dodge the opponent and run past them toward the next scene, so long as they get a kill on the first scene, they will be able to simply run toward the end serving as an alternative form of progression should the player observe more of a pacifist role. Throughout the various levels hazards present themselves in the form of doors, holes in the ground, and ledges, providing a means of strategy around your movement to insure that you do not give your opponent an opening by getting caught on the scenery. A bar across the top of the screen documents your progress toward the end scene that will complete the level by your character being consumed by the now iconic wurm, progressing you to the next level.
While Nidhogg 2 lacks in the story department aside from the storytelling provided within the end scenes of each level and their respective backgrounds, it is made up for by the gameplay which I have found extremely addicting. The multiplayer aspect of the game is incredibly fun serving a similar role to the Super Smash Brothers series; being that it is fast paced, fun and easy to pick up if you are new to the game while still maintaining a relatively high skill cap for those who become more masterful. The base difficulty can prove difficult for those not accustomed to the genre, however, it becomes manageable quickly as the player settles into the controls.
Overall, it is a game that I highly recommend for get together’s with your friends as the multiplayer portion is truly the highlight of the game, however, the arcade mode serves as both a great way to work on controls and experience a game that is unlike many others on the market today. The small nuances will keep you focused on the background and each time you progress through a level, whether winning or losing, you will notice something else obscured in the backdrop. The neon blood that accumulates across the battlefield provides just another layer to the intensity of the battles as you begin to realize the struggle you’ve undergone progressing from scene to scene pushing you increasingly further as you push toward victory.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nidhogg 2 Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Nidhogg 2 does not follow the traditional tropes that other fighting games have become synonymous with, making it a unique experience.