Nidhogg 2's peculiar art style is a far cry from its pristine, pixelated predecessor, and I can't say I was a fan the first time it was revealed. Based on your comments from its announcement, it seems like most of you felt similarly. The series went from immaculate to revolting as disgusting Play-Doh creatures joust in a garish world of sentient trees and flying snakes with bulgy, bug-eyed faces serving as pure nightmare fuel.
But now that developer Messhof has shown off a robust 18-minute developer walkthrough, it's all starting to to come together.
Yes, it's gross, but it's also funny. The Homer Simpson-esque characters are whimsical and expressive as they emit hilarious scream of horrified shock as you somehow stab them to death through their knee, all the while their pastel viscera splatters about hypnotically with Splatoon-like gushy exuberance.
Suddenly it's like when Ubisoft debuted Mario + Rabbids. We all saw the leaked art and thought Rabbid Peach was an abomination, then we saw her in the game and instantly fell in love with her. It didn't hurt that that particular game looks like a lot of fun.
But Nidhogg 2 also looks like a lot of fun! While it's not hugely divergent from its predecessor (which was already fantastic), the new additions are appealing. Levels look more layered with multiple routes adding to the mindgames of impeding your opponent. There's also a more complex weapon system with bows and daggers adding more depth to its frenetic one-on-one combat. The level roster has also been boosted up to 10 maps, which is more than double what the first game had.
In short: it looks good - which is not something I thought I would ever say about this initially odious aesthetic.
Nidhogg 2 is due this summer on PS4, PC and Mac.