OK OK, I know I’m late to the party with this review as Little Nightmares was released in April 2017 but I’ve somehow only recently discovered it. I’m gutted that I haven’t known about it for longer as it truly is a stunning game. It is full of character, it’s scary and suspenseful, it can be challenging at times and never before have I been made to feel so vulnerable in a game.
Little Nightmares, developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco, puts you in control of Six who wakes up onboard a floating structure called the Maw. The Maw it appears is a floating restaurant / hotel where the ‘guests’ come to sample some very special foodstuffs. To be clear these grotesque ogre like beings eat people, and if she doesn’t escape Six is going to be on the menu before long.
You can check out the Little Nightmares trailer below:
The dark and dingy atmosphere adds to the dread of the whole situation and the score is nigh on perfect for delivering that bit of adrenaline whether it be a jump scare moment or an insane dash for your life. The art style is beautiful and horrible at the same time and the animations for Six are just sublime. They really make her look and feel feeble and delicate, after all she is a young child being chased by giants who want to eat her, yet with a strong heart and infinite will to survive. At the end of the game we see Six transformed somewhat from the scared little girl at the start but I won’t spoil that for you.
The gameplay itself is pretty straightforward, you can run, jump, duck, climb, carry and throw stuff to traverse the game world. Each room has a unique challenge whether that be solving a puzzle to escape and move onto the next room or using your platforming skills in order to move on. Puzzles range from moving items so that you can climb on them to reach higher up places or throwing items at certain things in order to activate them (I’m trying so hard not to give anything away!) There is a certain sense of satisfaction in solving each of the rooms especially those that require a near perfect run, jump, run, climb display in order to escape your pursuer.
I’ve pulled a few clips of gameplay together in the video below:
Periodically there are rooms that simply require you to walk across them. Whilst at first this might sound boring they actually do a fantastic job of pacing the game. Often there is a moment of calm after a frantic chase across a kitchen with everyone in there trying to catch you. These moments of respite are gratefully received as and when they appear. It is in these moments that the camera often pans out too, this clever trick only emphasises how small Six is compared to the inner workings of the Maw.
There are a couple of what could be called boss battles throughout the game but they require brains over brawn and will likely take you plenty of attempts before you succeed, and then you’ll be begging for a moment of peace as described above, they are truly heart thumping affairs. There are quite a few collectibles in the form of small dolls which need to be dropped onto the floor in order to collect them, you will also encounter several creatures who inhabit the Maw called Nomes who seem just as terrified as Six. If you manage to find and hug them all you can earn yourself an achievement.
I literally have nothing bad to say about Little Nightmares, for me it ticks all of the boxes a game should. It’s exciting, challenging, beautiful to look at and forces me to have an emotional connection to what I’m doing. If you do decide to play Little Nightmares I recommend you do so with the lights off and with a headset to really ramp up the atmosphere. I urge you to go and buy it immediately!
You can check out some Little Nightmares screenshots in our gallery below:
Publisher: Bandai Namco Developer: Tarsier Studios Release Date: April 28th, 2017 Reviewed On: PC/Steam Also Available On: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch