When Nidhogg first came out In 2014, it was a fun indie game where 2 players dueled to the death(s) using swords. Nidhogg 2 is again a duel between 2 players, with a new look, new stages and new weapons, But it is enough to keep the series moving forward?

Nidhogg 2 keeps the exact same formula from the first game: players try to kill each other with weapons, and the one to get the kill must run to the end of the stage in order to sacrifice themselves to a giant worm-dragon (probably the titular Nidhogg). When a player dies, they will spawn back after a few seconds and get another chance to kill the other player and become the runner. However, they now need to reach to the opposite side of the stage.

This goes back and forth until one player manages to reach their goal, and the match is over. Depending on the skill of the players involved, a match can range between a couple of minutes to 15 or even 30 minutes.

Nidhogg 2 review gameplay

The first game had one fencing sword to help the players defeat each other, but Nidhogg 2 offers a selection of new weapons. The fencing sword is back and gives the player more range and different stances; the slower broadsword can slice upwards against jumping players, and also disarm the other player; the knife is a short but quick weapon that allows the player to launch forward in a surprise move; and the bow crazy hard to manage up close, but is great for long range.

Each weapon has it pros and cons. For example, the bow’s arrows can be deflected back, and kill the attacker. Each time the player dies, they will spawn with a different weapon in hand making the game even more random.

Nidhogg 2 has a single-player experience, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s just a simple match against the AI, which isn’t smart enough to offer any real challenge. Or even an imaginary one. The game’s strength lies in its multiplayer. Playing against friends, or even random strangers is extremely fun and funny. The game shines in local multiplayer. The trash talking, crazy acrobatics on screen and funny deaths make the game a very entertaining activity with other people.

Nidhogg 2 review levels

The new colorful stages keep things more interesting. There are even a couple of stages from the first game that were redesigned to match the new looks of the sequel. Each stage is made out of a few adjacent screens that offer different type of platforming challenges.

There is a new customization system for the characters to make them look more unique for each player. Unfortunately, no matter what combination I tried, I couldn’t make something that I liked. That said, I do think that the new design works for the sequel. It is not my cup of tea but the game is more colorful and each stage looks unique.

On the technical side, things also look different – for the better. It’s all about the little details. Things like fire, fog and  reflections in the water are all pretty great, but the more grotesque elements look nice. The splatters of blood that remain in the spot a character dies are oddly colorful, and almost tell a story. Animations, especially the stomping animation you get when killing another player without a weapon, feel really brutal, are a nice contradiction to the new visual design.

Nidhogg 2 review colorful

Nidhogg 2 is not a huge step forward. It relies on what made the first game a lot of fun and adds another layer above it. As I played the game it made me feel like the first Nidhogg was just the alpha version for what Nidhogg 2 turned out to be. Also, I’m not a big fan of the art style, but that’s just a matter of personal taste.

If you are looking to get this game to play by yourself, then I can’t recommend Nidhogg 2. However, if you are looking for a really fun game to play with friends from time to time – Nidhogg 2 is one of the best games to fill that need.

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