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Nidhogg 2 Switch Review: A Match Made in Heaven

Nidhogg 2 is already a game that many have heaped praise onto, a worthy successor to the predecessor that was one of the surprise indie darlings of yesteryear. Developer Messhof Games knows this, as well, opting to create a port of the game that leaves almost everything unchanged in order to preserve what it must inevitably feel is Nidhogg 2 at its best. For the most part, the studio is right, too - Nidhogg 2 is still a joy, still easy to lose hours to in a party setting or minutes against the Arcade AI, and still the kind of oddity you have to experience rather than gawk at.

With that being said, there are a few pros and Joy-Cons that come with Nidhogg 2's odyssey onto the Nintendo Switch. The transition to the Switch hasn't been a flawless one, but it also comes with a few boons previous iterations of the game haven't enjoyed. At its core though, Nidhogg 2 is what it has always been since its initial launch, a fun multiplayer duel with way more nuance than one might expect at first glance, and whether or not fans are going to enjoy it will boil down to how they already felt about the series going into its Switch debut.

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For those unfamiliar with the concept, here's a brief attempt at capturing the madness that is Nidhogg 2 - two duelists enter, one dies, usually violently, and then they respawn to try and kill their opponent again while said opponent is making a beeline in one specific direction, left or right. A more complex explanation of the game is that it is refined madness wrapped in the frustrating shell of complexity and calm. It feels frenetic, but the better player often wins, or at least, the person who was able to stay calmer in a moment of controlled chaos. It is also a great way to lose friends, if one is so inclined.

The appeal of Nidhogg 2 is that the weapon arsenal has been expanded, which now features a dagger, a broadsword, and a bow and arrow. This carries over into the Switch version with predictably fun results, although using a single Joy-Con for combat is a little restrictive for anyone with adult-sized hands. Playing in handheld mode or with the Pro controller for the Switch is much more preferable, and allows players to fully embrace the variety of the combat that Nidhogg 2 offers, including angled sword duels, jumping madly around one of the game's many personable maps, or simply mashing buttons in a last ditch effort to slay an opponent pushing toward the end of the stage.

The best part of Nidhogg 2 on Switch is its portability. Once, when its predecessor was available on Steam, people would sometimes have to crowd around the same laptop screen to play Nidhogg on the go. Now, there's local LAN and online settings, as well as an Arcade Mode for those without any takers on multiplayer but still have a scratch to itch. The portability of Nidhogg 2 is sublime, and it really is the perfect sort of game for Switch fans, the kind that can be played in ten minute intervals during a long wait at an airport or a quick journey on public transit. Nidhogg 2's ability to bring people together and enjoy themselves really shines on the Switch.

The only glaring issue with the port is that it seems to have a little trouble with lag. The gameplay during Nidhogg 2 is mostly smooth, but on occasion, particularly in maps with a lot going on, the framerate would begin to chug a little. Nothing that would negatively impact most matches of Nidhogg 2, but certainly enough that diehard followers of the game would be concerned over - those precious few milliseconds can really matter. Other than that, it's what we've come to expect from ports in the modern era, although it really is absent any of the bells and whistles that would usually convince someone who already owns the game to give it another life somewhere else.

To be honest, that's probably because Messhof Games knows there doesn't need to be a big change to sell Nidhogg 2 on the Switch. It's already a perfect fit, and it feels like the definitive edition of the game just because the portability of the Switch is genuinely that big of a boon for a game like Nidhogg 2. Otherwise, this is the exact same game, complete with the strengths and flaws of its previous iteration, so if gamers have already given this one a look, they'll either love it even more on the Switch or be able to cart their misery around with them on a different platform if they so choose.

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Nidhogg 2 is available now on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Screen Rant was provided with a Nintendo Switch game code for the purposes of this review.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5 (Excellent)
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