2014’s Nidhogg stood out for many because of its unique visuals and fighting mechanics. The core values that made the original so beloved remain for its sequel, the appropriately-titled Nidhogg 2, which just debuted on the Nintendo Switch. The two-player, fencing-based gameplay is still here for this go-round, but everything is raised a level.
Nidhogg 2 has an added layer of depth that builds upon everything featured in the original. Everything from the weapons to the gameplay is upgraded this time around (depending on your outlook on what “upgraded” is). Nidhogg 2 is a superior multiplayer experience than its predecssor in almost every way, though its single-player content leaves a little to be desired.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
Undoubtedly, the most noteworthy change in Nidhogg 2 is the completely overhauled visuals. The aesthetic of Nidhogg 2 is, for lack of a better term, distinctive. It’s garish, it’s ugly, but there’s also something to be said about a game that knows what it sets out to do and completely sticks to it.
Other times, however, there were times when the look of Nidhogg 2 didn’t completely vibe with me. As opposed to the relatively minimalist visuals of the original, Nidhogg 2 is much more detailed. Unfortunately, the characters in it can be quite unappealing, and are one instance where the aesthetic didn’t work. Though they still bleed their characteristic candy-colored blood, they are nowhere near as charming as the Atari-esque fighters in the original.
On the other hand, the animation of Nidhogg 2 is much more fluid than its predecessor, which certainly did not chug performance-wise. However, the backgrounds are one instance where the sequel is an improvement. While the original had its charm, I can’t say I missed the jagged, single-bit platforms while working my way through the arenas of Nidhogg 2.
Tools of the Trade
If you have yet to play Nidhogg, it is a two person brawler that takes inspiration from classic beat ’em ups. Utilizing your weapons, you try to defeat your opponent in order to get the go-ahead to move to the next screen. Nidhogg 2 retains the fencing-centric gameplay of the first Nidhogg, though with some enhancements. Players of the original can slip into this game with ease, though there is more for veterans of the series to learn.
In addition to the standard fencing foils, Nidhogg 2 features an all-new set of weapons to utilize. These weapons add a set of variety that even well-familiarized players will have to learn. Each weapon is different from the others, and each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. When using a weapon, you can choose one of three stances. These stances determines both you will use your weapon, but can also be used to defend yourself. Not only is their strategy in what weapon you use, but there’s strategy in how you use it, as well.
The added variety also factors in the arena selection, as well. Compared to the relatively paltry selection of the first game Nidhogg 2 features an expanded crop of stages to choose from. The overall goal for Nidhogg 2 seems to be an expansion of the original, and in many ways, it succeeds.
Not a Solo Effort
Where Nidhogg 2 truly shines is its multiplayer efforts. Featuring both online and local multiplayer, the added variety of Nidhogg 2 creates a high replayability factor. Nidhogg 2 is a great game if you regularly entertain friends and family. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for its single-player content.
Simply put, Nidhogg 2 is lacking in its solo efforts. The arena mode, while fun, is lackluster. This is where the beat ’em up influences truly shine. It’s your classic case of getting rid of an enemy on each screen, and moving on to the next. It’s a fun mode, and certainly action-packed, but it also can be beaten in the span of 20 minutes. Of course, most people aren’t going to buy Nidhogg 2 for its single-player. The draw here is no doubt its multiplayer modes. While the online multiplayer is strong, Nidhogg 2 definitely excels with fighting with friends in couch co-op. If you’re not someone who tends to game with friends, Nidhogg 2 may not be the most sensible option.
A Fencing Good Time
The Nintendo Switch is quietly becoming a prime destination for fighting games. Of all of them on there, Nidhogg 2 definitely stands out. It’s a game that doesn’t completely innovate on the formula of the original, yet expands upon it in key ways.
The added weapons and arenas give Nidhogg 2 even more to sink your teeth into. There is a strategy, both in what weapons you use and how you use them in each fight. Unfortunately, the tacky visuals can be a distraction, especially in a genre where seeing is everything.
As a multiplayer game, Nidhogg 2 excels with fast-paced and fluid action. The amount of content makes sure every match with friends is fresh and varied. Unfortunately, with single-player lacking, Nidhogg 2 may not be the best purchase if you regularly play solo. But if you’re a sucker for party games, Nidhogg 2 is certainly a worthwhile one.
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- THE GOOD
- Accessible gameplay for newcomers & veterans
- Added depth from the original
- More variety in weapons and stages
- Great multiplayer
- THE BAD
- Lackluster single-player
- Hit-or-miss visuals
Nidhogg 2 is an improvement on its predecessor in almost every way. While the core gameplay is still the same, there is an added depth that gives the sequel even great variety. The single-player is not as noteworthy as its multiplayer, but if you regularly host guests, Nidhogg 2 is a great time.