I’ll start off by saying that if you enjoyed Nidhogg 1 and are looking for more of the same, then Nidhogg 2 is that game, only better.
Although it brings new weapons, maps and customization options, the game doesn’t feel that different. Which can be a good or bad thing depending on your opinion.
I feel like if they messed with the original formula too much, the tight gameplay we loved about the first game would be lost.
Let me now elaborate on the mechanics for new comers, and the differences for veterans.
In Nidhogg, you and one other opponent face off. By default, it’s with a Rapier sword. A long, thin stabby sword. You can jump, press the attack button to poke forward, or move up and down to adjust the height at which your sword is held. If you move up or down while above or below your enemy’s sword, you will disarm them. You also have the option to throw your sword at the enemy, which might pay off as they could not expect it. However, if they do, they can effortlessly deflect it and leave you unarmed.
That’s what makes the combat in Nidhogg so great. There’s high risk, high reward, mind games and reflex based combat constantly. It’s so satisfying to beat your opponent. Even if you are unarmed, you can still beat your opponents if you are clever and skilled enough
What Nidhogg 2 brings to the table, is more weapons. They all MOSTLY play the same as the default Rapier, but there are a few minor changes.
The broadsword is a bit thicker, and instead of poking forward when you press the attack button, your character will slash upwards or downwards. This means you have less range, however, it is great at disarming your opponents if you get close enough.
There’s also a dagger, which allows you to make short, but very frequent stabs.
Lastly, there’s a bow and arrow. This allows you to attack from a range multiple times, as opposed to a sword where you’d lose it after throwing it. The arrows shot can easily be deflected, however. If your opponent sees it coming, positioning their sword and having the arrow fly right back at you shouldn’t be too hard.
So although the new weapons add a little bit of variety to the combat, I feel that ultimately the Rapier and Broadsword are the overall winners.
Fortunately, you can turn on and off specific weapons in multiplayer matches, as well as turn on certain mutators like “low gravity” and “no throwing”.
Onto the aesthetic. This is a completely subjective matter, but I think the graphics look wonderful. When the game was initially revealed, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the way the characters looked. Nidhogg 1 was eerie. You couldn’t see any of the facial features of characters, levels were simplistic and the music was quite drone-y.
In Nidhogg 2, characters look like they’re out of the Simpsons. They look goofy, their animations are silly, but they’re drawn very well. The background art and maps are brought to life through attention to detail. Objects are animated, and there’s a large number of maps, and they all differ to eachother, as well as have their own unique “gimmicks”.
One map has you fight ontop of a bridge at some point. If any of you are knocked onto the ground, your weapon will fall BELOW the bridge, so that you are unable to pick it back up.
Another map has you fight through tall grass, that if crouched in, will completely conceal you, allowing for some funny hide and seek fights.
You can also customize your characters quite nicely. It’s not The Sims level, but it’s nice enough to allow you to feel a little bit unique.
Now, one problem that comes with the lovely visuals, is sometimes they can be distracting. I’ve only had this issue once. In the Castle level, on the last screen before you win, are giant flames in the background. They’re everywhere. On top of that, as soon as you enter the screen, big text that says “FINAL SCREEN” will pop up. It’s behind your character, but it still disoriented me a bit. It didn’t help that I was a yellow character on top of yellow flames. This didn’t happen often, but it’s something that definitely happened more than it did in the original game.
Nidhogg 2 also allows for online play, which is great. In Nidhogg 1 you were restricted to playing locally only. This will allow more people to get into the game with their friends.
A quick note, graphical options are quite limited. You can switch between windowed, fullscreen. As well as low, med, or high graphics.
You can rebind keys if you’d like to customize controls.
Also, the music is quite strange, but in a good way. All maps have their own unique music that add to the atmosphere they’re trying to portray.
Overall, I really love the game. I wouldn’t say I love it anymore than I did the 1st game, though.
If you have NOT played Nidhogg 1, I would suggest you grab this game. Although the visual distractions can be annoying, I think overall this game just gives you a few more options that the 1st game didn’t (With the option to disable them all and just play old-school-style).