By Kimari Rennis
Here it comes! The award-winning pixelated fencing game called Nidhogg returns years later with a more violent and rather entertaining sequel. Nidhogg 2 is a gruesome, colorful 2-D fighting game. Its “Rock-Paper-Scissors” format provides simple controls and technical movements that test your reaction speed with parrying and getting the final blow on your pixelated enemy. With the addition of new weapons you’ll have to worry about more than just the original rapier. In Nidhogg 2, daggers, bows, and two-handed swords will be up for grabs.
The rules of Nidhogg are very simple. You and your opponent duel until one dies in order to start progressing through the scene. Reache the final scene of the stage and gets eaten by the Nidhogg and you’ve won. Your enemy does respawn throughout each scene in the hopes of killing you and gaining direction in order to reach the final scene on your side.
The controls are very easy to grasp, quick, and responsive. But how you use the controls in battle takes time to fully comprehend. The positioning of your rapier or swords can knock a weapon out of your opponents’ hands, block throws and even deflect arrows back towards the opponent. Each of these beneficial tactics takes practice to master while focus and fast reaction times are important so you’ll find openings to strike.
Compared to the original Nidhogg game, the graphics have drastically improved. Pristine and sharp pixelated graphics enhance details. Instead of a bland colored background, you get to see clouds, the shape of individual illuminated bricks in a castle, and even the snow-covered trees in the background. Characters have also been given facial expressions which emphasize the emotions going through their heads. For example, the fighters display a determined look when holding a heavy two-handed sword, showing that they are prepared to use all their strength to swing it and take down their enemy. And an angered expression is shown after fighting without a weapon and finding an opening to trip the target and stomp them to death. That’s actually quite brutal but shows your character’s need to win.
But Nidhogg 2 seems more like a remake of the original Nidhogg rather than a sequel. Despite the addition of new weapons, customization options, and improved graphics, not much has truly changed. However, keeping the exact same format doesn’t make Nidhogg 2 any less of a rather fun game. The play style of Nidhogg is what makes the game unique compared to other fighting games.
All in all, Nidhogg 2 is a satisfying party game to play with others to add a bit of competition between one another. A nice quick game of Nidhogg will surely keep players on their toes. Rematches will be asked for and victory will be claimed – in the most grisly way possible.
Kimari Rennis is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our ongoing partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.