En Gored! Nidhogg 2 Is Bringing Axes To A Swordfight

And not just axes. Bows and arrows, throwing knives and good old-fashioned fisticuffs will all feature in the sequel to the hectic fencing and neck-snapping game Nidhogg [official site]. Messhof’s original foray into poking people with sharp objects first appeared in the dark ages of 2010 and then vanished for approximately one thousand years before finally being released to euphoric applause. Now, Nidhogg 2 [same official site] is in the works, the developer has announced. It looks both wildly different and comfortably familiar. Come watch the trailer.

What a ripping good time. The game is set to include at least 10 levels, including the classic castle level seen here, as well as new weapons like the aforementioned axes and knives. Meanwhile, the developers have enlisted the help of Toby Dixon, creator of pixel grotesqueries, to give the world a makeover. He has done a good job on the world-eating worm of the title. Look at these yellowed, rotten teeth.

What’s more, if you happen to be at TwitchCon in San Diego this weekend, there’ll be a playable demo in the expo’s ‘Indie District’. If you aren’t there, never mind. Here’s some of the things promised for the final release:

● Completely overhauled detailed environments and animations
● 10+ levels of fencing goodness
● Local and online multiplayer and tournament mode
● Play single-player against a series of AI opponents with occasional special challenge rounds
● New soundtrack featuring music by Mux Mool, Dose One, Daedelus and more!
● Even more stuff we’ll talk about soon…

I’ve long been a fan of Nidhogg. I shuffled in dark corners of the Eurogamer Expo to play an illicit copy on a friend’s laptop. My flatmates and I once held a tournament of the game. I wrote a sci-fi novel about orphaned children who form an underground videogame collective called “the Nidhogg”, named after a “long-lost and legendary fencing game”. The novel remains unpublished.

So I’m excited to see how the sequel feels. Will the new weapons detract from the purity of the dueling? Will the strange new art style simply distract or will it make fights more grubby and satisfying? Stick around for our interview with Messhof, where we’ll get some teasing about features which may make it into the game.

It’s expected to release in 2017, so possibly we’ll have a review of it by 3017.


  1. Jalan says:

    I have to admit, when I gave a glance at the difference in style, part of me was hoping it was now done in Claymation.

  2. MrFinnishDude says:

    My inner designer weeps.
    Sure Nidhogg had barebones graphics, but that made it feel stylish, you could really feel the finesse of the fighters, raw movement, the elegance of the human body. That was one of my favourite points about that game.
    Now this? I don’t even know what to say. It’s like they replaced olympic fencers with muppets.

    • TeePee says:

      I would totally watch that.

    • AtomTheSmasher says:

      The character design is odd, but it is still early.
      Looks to me like the move from NES to SNES. I’m pretty much sold no matter what, I love the gameplay of the original and this looks like a nice evolution.

      • Spacewalk says:

        I was thinking it was more Spectrum to Amiga.

        I love how divisive the graphical style is turning out to be. Ain’t no sitting on the fence with this one.

    • jaronimoe says:

      haha, I think it looks more like a naked Simpsons swordfight :)

    • deadlybydsgn says:

      At least it appears Messhof is going “full derp” in terms of deviating from the 2D characters. I’m not sold on the combatants yet, but the worm actually looks pretty good.

    • KevinLew says:

      In my opinion, the stylized graphics of the first game made it really unique. I liked how everything looked like a 1980’s video game but it had incredibly smooth animation. I also think the one-color palette to the characters made it very easy to track which player was which regardless of how frantic the combat became.

      But I think the oddest change is to implement a huge death scream when a player gets killed. That’s got to become super-annoying since players get killed all the time in Nidhogg.

    • Baines says:

      Muppets? That first picture is an ape version of Homer Simpson preparing to swing/throw an axe at a shell-less Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      I can understand why they did the graphical overhaul, but like others, I find it a terrible choice to make. The first game was simplistic and stark, and the simplistic art made it easy to see exactly what was happening. The new design doesn’t fit at all. It is distracting, sets the wrong tone, and makes the whole project look like some bargain basement knock-off.

      • Jeremy says:

        I was more than half expecting a resounding “D’oh!” whenever one of the Homers was stabbed or pummeled. It feels like such an odd and unnecessary change. It feels so far removed that it almost seems like a joke.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      The original art was very effective, and I’ll miss it. This art is, I think, potentially just as effective in a different way.

      I dunno, Nidhogg was pretty complete unto itself. If you want to make Nidhogg 2–and Messhof apparently did–it seems like taking it in a completely different direction is the choice with integrity, rather than making unneeded incremental changes for a quick, cynical cash-in.

      Maybe they should have changed the name–this seems more like a new game inspired by Nidhogg, rather than what we usually think of as a sequel. I’m fine with that.

  3. heavyweather says:

    Nidhogg was beautiful, this is… what is this? Graphical overhaul was not one of the tick marks on my wishlist for a Nidhogg 2.

  4. MikoSquiz says:

    The original had two things: The stripped-down, gracefully streamlined gameplay and the striking, minimal visual style.

    They’re just straight up ditching both. This doesn’t look good in any sense.

    • Monggerel says:

      It also had a delightfully deranged atmosphere, enforced by the ridiculous and brutal fighting, the blood, the screaming, the demented music and the liberal use of eye-melting colors.

      It was “precious”, sure, but Nidhogg knew exactly what it was. But I concur, this second round doesn’t seem nearly as remarkable.

      I actually hoped they’d maybe include pistols too, this time.

  5. Dorga says:

    wot?? This looks like an april fool

  6. Muzman says:

    The comments everywhere are the same. But they must have done this for me because I thought the original looked nauseating.
    Sure it was occasionally “clever” in what it did with the design. Still virtually unwatchable though.

  7. Quixote says:

    NIDHOGG! Gngh!

  8. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    This is heinous.

  9. Reapy says:

    I think they can save it if they ditch those character models all the way. They also appear to be going in a different direction with it toward ‘lunacy’, and, while I personally don’t like it it actually may be a good idea on their part if they are targeting the twitch crowd / party game genera. I think just have to reign it in a bit.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      Was Nidhogg ever not squarely targeted at the party game genre? IIRC, there was a long time when you could only play it at cons/game jams/etc, with no suggestion that they were ever going to release it publicly.

  10. Kelvin says:

    That’s the most beautifully animated, pixelated, muppetmurder spree I’ve ever seen. It gets a solid 2nd place behind Dan LuVisi on ability to make cutesy Veggie-Tale characters with into blood-soaked psychotics.

    I think I would absolutely love to (watch someone else) play this game, at least until the goofiness wore off and it became regular Nidhogg with axes.

  11. TakeItEasyMon says:

    That’s really too bad, as the original was completely beautiful to watch and quite original.

    I appreciate games taking artistic risks but they had -such- a great style for the 1st, it seems something they could have expanded upon and kept the same.

  12. RobF says:

    I love just about everything with this new look but especially the facial expressions. The stomping makes me crack up giggling already so it’s halfway there as is.

  13. Niko says:

    The new visual style is unexpected, but I guess I can get used to it. Although sometimes it feels too cluttery.

  14. DantronLesotho says:

    I sure hope that they include non-muppet characters to be so these haterz will actually give it a chance without bouncing for nitpicky reasons. One thing I’ve learned over these indie years is to trust in Messhof. I like the world art style a lot; the characters I couldn’t care less about because they are just vehicles for mayhem. As long as the bleeding effect and physics are intact I am satisfied.