ESPORTSREPORTER.COM / MADELYN KNECHT – STAFF WRITER / APRIL 13TH, 2021 /
Like its predecessor, Little Nightmares 2 left us asking more questions than we have answers to. This atmospheric duology of games follow a variety of children through a nightmarish world of ghoulish ladies, long-armed murderers, shrieking chefs and gluttonous adults.
This article will be primarily discussing the second game, so if you haven’t played the first, I highly recommend playing it or at least watching one of the several playthroughs on YouTube.
In the first game, you play as Six, a little girl with violent tendencies and a hunger that can’t seem to be sated. As with many of these atmospheric games, the first and second Little Nightmares dump you out without explanation, leaving you to garner what you can about the story throughout your gameplay. At the end of Little Nightmares, Six consumes the Lady onboard of the ship and gains her powers, consuming the humans trying to eat her simply by walking past them.
However, Little Nightmares 2, it seems, serves as a prequel to Little Nightmares. We can garner this from the fact that Six doesn’t have her raincoat until she finds it while traveling with Mono, the protagonist of Little Nightmares 2, and the fact that she doesn’t seem to have the Lady’s powers or the crippling hunger she had in the first game.
In Little Nightmares 2, you play a boy named Mono with a bag over his head who stumbles out of the face of a television. He has visions of a long hallway with a door at the end. It seems like a warning or a message and Mono is drawn to television screens, where he has some sort of ability to view the same hallway and later on teleport. Mono comes across a little girl, who you later discover is Six, trapped in a room and playing with a music box. Mono breaks her out and Six takes off before she realizes that working with Mono will be a lot easier than trying to escape on her own.
Together you work toward a terrifying landscape similar to that of the first game with oversized adults hungry to punish any child that appears. It seems that Mono and Six quickly build a bond as you have the ability to hold Six’s hand and she helps you up over steep jumps. You can also call out to each other in whispers. On the surface, it looks like you may be friends, at least for now.
The Morally Gray Character of Six
Six’s violent tendencies seen in the first game have carried over to the second game. You see it in places such as if you choose to burn the Doctor alive and Six sits to warm her hands by the fire while he dies. She also smashes in the head of a wooden child in the school with no remorse and is seen gleefully breaking fingers of a manikin hand.
You could argue that this is a byproduct of the world she has grown up in. When you find her, she’s trapped in a room with nothing but her music box. She obviously doesn’t trust easily, as she runs right by Mono after he frees her until he proves that he can be useful to her. In the first game, you also see her make no attempt to help the other kids trapped in cages on the Maw, the boat where the first game takes place.
So is she truly heartless? Or is she traumatized by the world and whatever unknown horrors she has faced before you meet her?
It’s all up for interpretation, but there are theories (including mine) that the entire duology is about the trauma you obtain when you are a child and how it can morph your personality. We only know Six in the eyes of Mono and what happens afterward. We have very little view into her past, but based on the horrors in both games, we can deduce that she’s had her fair share of horrors and close calls. And as we’ve seen in the Little Nightmares DLCs, you don’t make it far in the Little Nightmares world by being kind.
So it is very possible that Six has adapted to her surroundings in order to survive. It is also possible that her surroundings have brought out an already-dark part of her personality, which is her ruthless selfishness and attraction to violence.
All of this is important to keep in mind when considering how Little Nightmares 2 ends.
The Ending of Little Nightmares 2
As Mono in Little Nightmares 2, the one consistent nemesis is the Thin Man, whom many relate to Slender Man because he’s a tall, thin, faceless creature in a suit who follows you around. The world slowly unravels as the Thin Man follows you and Six through the Pale City to the Signal Tower. This Signal Tower is shown to be the source of many disfigured adults who stare listlessly at static screens issued by the tower, so much so until they simply die or are absorbed into the signal completely. This is why you can find many sets of clothes around the city, the humans that owned them having vanished. It is implied that they have been sucked into the tower, especially when you reach the tower at the end.
The entire time you are going through the city, Mono is trying to look through televisions to find the truth about the mysterious door at the end of a hallway–his vision that seems to be a warning. Each time, you catch a glimpse of Six pulling Mono out of the television.
What does she do this for? Is it because she senses danger? If so, is she trying to protect Mono or only herself?
After all of their adventures, it’s not unreasonable to think that Six somewhat cares for Mono. There are other times where she could have dumped him and moved on by herself, as we’ve seen that she can take care of herself pretty damn well. Instead, she consistently catches him when he’s about to fall and, in return, he saves her from situations like when she’s kidnapped by the wooden children in the school.
No matter what her motivations, it’s easy to imagine that Six grows frustrated with Mono constantly putting himself–and her–in danger by jumping into televisions and practically calling the Thin Man to their location. It comes to a head when she is finally snatched by the Thin Man and taken to the Signal Tower.
Mono goes to rescue her and discovers that the Signal Tower is a maze that seems to re-form itself over and over. There he finds a disfigured Six who has been mangled by the Signal Tower, clutching a giant version of the music box she was playing when you first find her.
The music box is presented as Six’s comfort item. Instead of being obsessed with a television screen like the adults, she is enraptured with this music box, protective of it. She seems to recognize Mono to some extent and even lets him draw close to the music box.
Unfortunately, it is this very music box–a creation of the Signal Tower–that is keeping her contorted. To free Six, you must break the music box. Six grows increasingly angry and betrayed as you destroy her music box. When it finally breaks, she is herself again–a small girl rather than the contorted adult-like creature she was before.
But things have changed.
While Mono saved Six, he has also betrayed her. Not only did Mono get her captured by the Thin Man, but he broke the one thing that brought her comfort–even if it was the thing controlling her. This also signifies Mono destroying the last of her childhood, ridding Six of any ties she has to being a child. Now, Six feels betrayed and no longer has any attachment to being a child–such as having friends.
Which brings us to the end of the game and Six’s betrayal.
As they escape the tower, Six catches Mono after a long leap as always. They stare at each other for a moment before Six lets go, damning Mono to a life within the tower. Some would ask why she caught him in the first place. It could have been that she hadn’t made up her mind until she saw his face. It also could have been that she wanted to see his face as she betrayed him.
No matter her personal reasoning, there is a much more important reason.
As we saw in Little Nightmares, Six has the ability to absorb the power of those she consumes. Even before the Lady, she has a hunger that drives her to eat rats and gnomes along her path. Some theories say that Six caught Mono to take some of his power so that she could go through the television screen and escape the tower. She could have eaten him, but instead, she takes just enough to escape and leaves him. Was this a tactical choice or did she have a lasting connection with Mono?
Either way, she abandons Mono to live life in the Tower, which he discovers is a living, breathing thing that he can control. As the player, we watch him grow up into the Thin Man. This implies that Mono is trapped in an endless time cycle, chasing after himself and Six to prevent her betrayal. But since Six took powers from Mono, the younger Mono will always be stronger than the Thin Man, meaning the cycle will always continue.
Little Nightmares 2: Secret Ending
If you view the true ending, you will see Six pop out of a television screen. She now has an insatiable hunger, perhaps from the trip or taking Mono’s powers. It’s unclear why she has this hunger now; perhaps she is searching for something she lost. Something to fill the void of innocence she has lost.
On the floor, you can see a pamphlet for the Maw–the ship where the first game takes place. This implies that Six wasn’t trapped on the ship by accident, but went to the pleasure cruiser on purpose in search of food.
The Little Nightmares franchise is full of symbolism and messages that can be interpreted in various different ways. One thing we know for sure is that Six and Mono have a complicated relationship filled with betrayal, and by the end of Little Nightmares, Six has lost all that once would have made her a child.