Dying in a video game used to mean game over. It meant you had to cough up more quarters, or let your sibling play for a bit. But for years now, dying hasn’t really meant the end. Sometimes you lose money thanks to a hospital bill. Other times you lose items. You start at an old save spot and you have to traverse the same old terrain, again and again. It’s generally just annoying; a small punishment.
And recently, games have found creative ways to deal with this. In The Dark Pictures Anthology games, a character dying merely garners a reaction from the other people you play as. Returnal will change the world around you every time you die, giving you new possibilities rather than a slap on the wrist.
The Case For Little Nightmares 2
In Little Nightmares 2, which came out in February (and has left a pit in our stomachs ever since), death is kind of helpful, and it definitely isn’t a punishment.
It’s gruesome sometimes. That much is true.
You die quickly in Little Nightmares 2; most enemies will end your life in one blow. And that’s how you learn. When a disembodied hand curls up then strikes you, you learn that the curling up is your golden ticket to bludgeoning them. When you think you’re safe, getting high above a classroom, only to learn that the teachers have those awful, disgusting, terrifyingly long necks, you learn to be quick to avoid them.
Part of what makes this enjoyable, in what is a rather short, simple game is that dying sends you to a checkpoint that’s close to where you met a cruel fate.
But if you got sent way back to an old save point on the other side of the building after learning these things, it wouldn’t be fun. It’d be tedious and frustrating. When you learn something from a death and instantly get to try out a new strategy using your newfound knowledge, that’s fun. It’s engaging. It keeps you playing.
You also get to really take in the world around you the second or third time you scamper through it. Seeing something as chill-inducing as walls full of eyes can make it feel like there’s nothing else in the room. But you might get a hint at a future enemy, or even find a hat when you’re not too scared to look around.
Little Nightmares 2 is scary, sure, but the truly horrible deaths aren’t your own. It’s the guy who gets incinerated, the kids whose skulls break like glass, and the people leaping out of windows.
Know what? Death should be scared of you
That’s all from me today
Have you played Little Nightmares 2? What do you think about dying in it?Let us know in the comments.