Nidhogg 2 (stylized as Nidhogg II) is the sequel to the 2014 2D indie hit side scrolling game Nidhogg. After releasing last August for MacOS, PC, and PS4, Messhof has brought the hit party game to the XBOX One, releasing three days from today on July 19, 2018 for $15.99. The XBOX One version will feature the addition of two all-new XBOX exclusive levels: Messhoff Corporate HQ and the Elevated Train.
Similar to its predecessor, Nidhogg II is a game with a simple concept; get your character to the end of the level to the giant worm through the use of armed combat. Unlike its predecessor however, Nidhogg II isn’t just limited to just swords and adds three new weapons; the bow and arrow, greatsword, and dagger. Despite the occasional frustration that the new weapons lead to at times, the combat is just as smooth as it was in the original. Every strike carries weight and impact, making each encounter during a level nerve-wracking whether it be against a CPU or another player. While not vastly improved over its predecessor, the gameplay in Nidhogg II is very well done (but hey, don’t need to fix what’s not broken in the first place).
STORY / CHARACTERS
The game itself lacks a formal story, featuring a typical fighting game style Arcade mode where you just play against CPU opponents across the ten stages in the game, which takes away from the overall experience of the title. However, with an addition of a robust character creation suite, the player has the choice to make their player reflect them or just be a hilarious caricature with silly hairstyles and outfits which was a great change of pace over the first Nidhogg’s basic character models.
GRAPHICS / PERFORMANCE
Many people were quick to criticize the newer art style in Nidhogg II, dismissing it as “too cartoony”, but I quite enjoyed the new art assets despite being inclined towards the original’s pixel aesthetic. The new art style makes every character and level shine with charm and unique styles and in combination with the new character creation suite Nidhogg II is a vastly improved visual experience. Every level has been meticulously designed, featuring a fresh coat of all the original’s courses being redesigned. The title performs fairly well with no notable graphical glitches or performance issues, even during intense moments of combat. (reviewer’s note: played on the original model XBOX One)
SOUND / MUSIC / VOICE ACTING
Featuring an electronica-heavy soundtrack, Nidhogg II’s music fit the aesthetic of the haptic stress-inducing gameplay and enhances the experience when you play. I even found myself humming the tunes of the game when I wasn’t playing because of how easily it can get stuck in your head. Like the original game, the in-game sounds are simple but match the game whether it be clashing weapons, groan of pains, or victories screeches.
MULTIPLAYER / ONLINE CAPABILITIES
Where this game shines is in its multiplayer capabilities. The game features a drop-in style 1v1 and tournament mode in its local multiplayer modes, which is where I spent the most time playing with the companionship of my girlfriend, who absolutely had a blast playing with me. The game also features an online multiplayer, which while I played very little of, it was fairly stable and had no issues connecting to my opponents when I did play online.
With a lack of a deeper single player experience, this is a game best saved for when you have a group of people to play with (or at least a single other player) but with the ability to play online matches, the game can still be enjoyed solo. The game shines in a party setting and can provide hours of fun.
All in all, Nidhogg II is a fantastic game chock full of fun and is the perfect game for when you get a group of people together to play. Despite the flaws of an underwhelming single player experience, the multiplayer more than makes up for it. While some find this sequel to be inferior to the original, I have to disagree as the additions of the new weapons and character creation suite as well as the new coat of paint was very much welcomed. I highly recommend picking up Nidhogg II. If you are looking for a new game to play with your friends, and for fans of the original, I would still recommend the sequel over its predecessor.
RGN Rating: 8.5 / 10 (Silver Game)
Available On: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
Played On: Xbox One
Release Date: July 19, 2018 (Xbox One)
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RGN for free by the publisher for the purpose of this review.