Nidhogg was a lovely indie gem from yesteryear. Seemingly out of nowhere, I was hooked on this hectic, side scrolling brawler. Now, 3 years later, we have the sequel, and it’s bigger and badder than ever before.
The original Nidhogg was one of those couch co-op titles that was easy to pick up and impossible to master, and the same can be said for the sequel. Much like Gang Beasts and other titles of a similar nature, the controls are clever and ensure that you’re always making mistakes when fighting foes, so nobody can fully steamroll without ardent training.
This allows for a seriously fun multiplayer experience that goes unmatched. Your opponent could push you all the way to the final screen only for you to cut them down where they stand thanks to weapon variability and constant tension building into a mindset that makes you foolhardy.
After playing for a number of hours, I found that the combat really struggles to get boring, especially if you’re playing against a human foe. The single-player arcade mode is fun, don’t get me wrong, but beyond the time limit there isn’t much to come back to. Much like its predecessor, you’ll get the most fun out of Nidhogg 2 if you have buddies to play with.
Where the game innovates on its forebear is mainly in the visual style. Nidhogg was charming, sure, but Nidhogg 2 knocks it out of the park with a 2D pixel art style that bursts with colour and atmosphere. Your characters lift off the screen with excellent animations, and there are secret details packed into each map. Whilst the game is often too fast to really soak them in, they’re fun to look at whilst you’re preparing your next strike.
Further, there are some awesome musical tracks in this game. Little bops that’ll stick in your head for days after playing, inviting many theme-based genres. The developers obviously know that the core experience just needed to be built upon with clever iterations instead of reinventing the wheel, so everything in Nidhogg 2 feels complimentary but very welcome.
Further to the core experience you also have the option of modifying the frequency of the new weapons. You have a greatsword, a bow, and a dagger on top of the usual rapier, which adds a surprising amount of diversity to the gameplay. However, I don’t think the balancing is all there yet, as often there are situations where you may always lose due to the random nature of weapon acquisition.
Purely because of how hilarious and dumb playing this game is, that really won’t matter unless you’re looking to go pro. There are also a selection of cheats on display which switch the game up in meaningful ways. You wanna crawl around on the floor like a baby? Or boomerang your sword about the shop with no regard for public safety? Nidhogg 2 allows you to mix it up just incase the original combat isn’t enthralling enough for you.
In the future, it would be nice to see some more maps in the game, or an extra weapon or two, but as is there is more than enough content to keep it fresh as you play with friends of different skill levels. A worthwhile successor to an inimitable game, Nidhogg 2 should take pride of place in your couch co-op library.
This copy of Nidhogg 2 was provided through Evolve PR. Our Editor-In-Chief Jordan Oloman spent 5 hours losing and then kicking our other Editor-In-Chief Jared Liam Moore’s ass, and then swiftly getting swallowed by a worm.