I thought it sounded slightly racist at first too…
Hailing all the way from Los Angeles and known for other indie titles such as Flywrench, Mark Essen (a.k.a. Messhof) brings the sequel to his breakout 2014 hit Nidhogg, titled Nidhogg 2 which plays very similar to the first title with it being hilariously over the top with its violence. Having released last week on Tuesday 15th August, I’m going to be giving the rundown on whether Nidhogg 2 is worth your time, as well as the £11.99 asking price.

If my most recent articles haven’t made it clear already, I’m a big fan of violent video games. From ripping off heads in Mortal Kombat, to suffocating gang members with plastic bags in Manhunt; whether realistic or cartoonistic (we all loved Happy Tree Friends right?) violence in video games has always been something of a guilty pleasure of mine. Nidhogg 2 is the hilariously vile sequel to the 2014 2-D sword-duelling side-scroller Nighogg, coming from LA based indie dev Messhof llc. Being the brainchild of a small development crew, the Nidhogg series primarily focuses on its fast paced platformer gameplay, mixing in melee combat with what can only be described as a game of tug of war. While the first game was exceedingly basic in its presentation, it generated quite the following when it released in 2014, leading Messhof to begin work on its sequel, building upon the foundations found in the first game, while leaving the fan-favourite gameplay and experience intact.

Nidhogg 2 lends itself to the 2D platformer style of indie game, only throwing a metric tonne of violence into the mix to boot. The game styles itself after the ever popular ‘pixel’ art style,  looking like something reminiscent of a 90’s mega drive game such as Splatterhouse or Streets of Rage. The game begins with you choosing what your sprite looks like, which acts as a sort of randomised character creator, offering very little in the way of customisation. As aforementioned the game plays like a game of tug of war, with your sprite facing numerous enemies on a linear 2D path. If you die, the game is reversed, with it being down to you to stop the enemy sprite from making progress in the opposite direction. While the gameplay is pretty limited, it’s best to remember that Nidhogg 2 was designed as an arcade-esque game, and with it being only being roughly about an hour long, it definitely lives up to its namesake.

Game Hype - Nidhogg 2

Nidhogg 2: I challenge you to a duel! inside the small intestine of a large flying worm…

Nidhogg 2 features 4 distinct weapon types: fencing swords, which offer extended reach and quick stabs, broadswords which can disarm opponents, daggers which throw fast and bows, which offer ranged combat opposed to the close quarters carnage. Quite possibly the most fun part about the gameplay is how quick and brutal the combat is, as it is played on an even playing field; It only takes one swing or stab to make your enemies explode in glorious fashion, but simultaneously it’s all that it takes for you to die as well. When you die, the game respawns you almost instantly with a random weapon (no weapon selections here bucko) which is great for keeping you on your toes, but feels more frustrating than innovative when you keep dying over and over due to only spawning with a dagger, especially so when your enemies get all Leichtenauer on your ass should they be in possession of a fencing sword.

Alongside the violently fun gameplay are a number of different environments that the game throws at you to keep it from getting too samey. One stage you’ll be traversing a winterised forest, the next you’ll be (quite literally) running through shit. At the end of each stage the titular monster (inspired by the Níðhöggr from Norse mythology) comes along and swallows you whole, leaving you wondering exactly what’s going on, but not taking away from the humour one bit. Polar to the single player campaign is it’s multiplayer, offering local and ranked online matches. The game plays exactly the same, but with the added tension of playing against another player which is surprisingly effective, albeit simple in design.

Game Hype - Nidhogg 2

The Nidhogg: the titular monster turns up at the end of every stage to swallow you whole.

Overall I enjoyed the 43 minutes that I spent playing the arcade mode of Nidhogg 2. While it was relatively short and easy, the gameplay and cartoonish violence gave me enough laughs to make me want to play through it again at some point.