Nidhogg is a game lauded for its simplicity. You play a mess o’ pixels, run to one side of the screen, fight another stack of pixels in a fencing duel, and that’s about it. It doesn’t seem like there’s much to add, or maybe there’s a lot that needs to be added, depending on your perspective. Developer Messhof seems to fall into the latter category, as Nidhogg 2 is a drastic departure for its predecessor.

From Hogs to Hoggs

In a medium that tends to place it safe when it comes to sequels, what Messhof is doing should be congratulated. Whether Nidhogg 2 is any good or not is irrelevant in this particular discussion. Just look at how incredibly different Nidhogg 2 looks. If it weren’t for the same colors of the protagonist and enemies, you wouldn’t recognize it. These developers are so lucky Bert and Ernie fits that color scheme, and that Sesame Street was willing to give them the rights.

The most obvious difference is that the original game’s minimalism has been thrown out the window. It still features the overused pixel art style, but there’s now an several extra layers of detail to everything. Your character is actually a character and not an orange square. There are giant dragons to fight, a moon in the background, artistic environments, and blood everywhere.

The gameplay has also received new features. You’re not just running left or right to fence with somebody. Combat now feels like a fight to the death, as the enemy can fire projectiles and throw weapons at you. You’ve got literal pitfalls to deal with, and did I mention the dragon and giant worm-like creatures? The game has evolved so much it’s practically a traditional 2D side-scrolling platformer now.

Everyone’s a Critic

There will no doubt be plenty of fans of the original who hate these changes. “Not liking the character designs… At all,” says Steam user Offensive Mouse. “I mean… Wow. Before, It looked like an edgy teenager thing. Now, it looks like Spongebob mixed with extreme violence,” says The Best Nerd, who is equally unsure as to whether that’s meant to be a compliment or an insult as the rest of us.

“This is just disturbing.
I like the art, but…
the characters bother me.
They looks so…
wrongfully cartoonish.”

Waxes user {(A)}, before sneering at fans of Bioshock: Infinite in a Medum post.

To this kind of criticism, there’s only one thing Messhof can do: ignore it. Ignoring your audience may not sound like the best piece of advice. It may even sound downright hostile. But there comes a point where every creator reaches a level of exposure when they just have to start ignoring feedback, good and bad alike. It’s important to remember you got where you are on your own merits, not listening to some rando complaining on Steam, or even a guy on some website telling you what to do.

Messhof needs to keep doing what they’re doing, and their fans need to give them a chance. The first Nidhogg was a great game, and while its sequel looks like everything the first wasn’t, they’ve proven themselves capable in the past. We’ll get a chance to see more of it in action at E3 this year thanks to Indie Megabooth, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the reception was positive overall.

For more coverage on this game, and complete coverage of all things indie gaming at E3 2017, keep your eyes on Cliqist.

About the Author

Josh Griffiths

Josh Griffiths is a writer and amateur historian. He has a passion for 3D platformers, narrative-driven games, and books. Josh is also Cliqist’s video producer. He’s currently working on his first novel, and will be doing so on and off for the next decade.

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