In a world filled with Nightmares you must face your fears and escape the depravity rife aboard the Maw. Armed with only a raincoat and lighter, Six must use all of her cunning and wiles to survive the journey outside. But with every step the hunger grows…
This content was reviewed playing a purchased copy.
Setting & Music
Through Little Nightmares you’ll encounter five different areas. Each of them are unique with their own sets of challenges. But each one maintains the eerie squalor that is a theme throughout your time on the Maw. You’ll work your way through kitchens, libraries, trash compactors amongst others. I won’t call the settings ‘nice’ because there’s nothing nice about them, which is kind of the point. They’re horrible, dank and dirty, but you’ll fight your way through them regardless.
The look of the levels is spot on, and how you interact with is mostly good. You’ll end up doubling back on yourself, going up and down through the levels. Allowing you to see the full depth of each area….before you end up running for your life. There were a few occasions when how to progress could have been made clearer and I spent too long finding the path, or had to look up a walkthrough. But most of the time the level design was good enough for this not to be the case.
The music and sound in Little Nightmares is very good. The music tracks are used very sparingly, most of the time you’re left with background noises. Which themselves add the the ominous and often eerie atmosphere. All of this tension building means that when the music does start up it draws your attention. I played with headphones on and the atmosphere it created was fantastic.
Six is tiny in a world of giants who want to eat her. So, the name of the game is largely stealth, with choice amounts of running for your life. In puzzle-platforming games such as this there is often a risk of just going from left to right. But Tarsier Studios have designed their levels well, and when you end up backtracking through previous areas, things will have changed, so you’ll always end up with a new puzzle to solve.
The enemies you’ll face are beautifully varied and mean you’ll end up combating them in different ways. From keeping quiet, to hiding under tables, to keeping just out of reach, theres a wide variety of mechanics put into place.
The only issues I encountered was not knowing where to go on occasions. Six will look at key items, which is a nice subtle hint, but maybe a bit too subtle. And if you were far enough away she wouldn’t do that. I also was on the correct path, but ended up dying so much I thought I was going the wrong way at one point leading to confusion. Finally, there were some issues with the camera being very zoomed out at certain points making it difficult to see what I was trying to maneuver around.
Characters & Story
Although there are few characters in Little Nightmares, they’re all very uniquely designed. Ultimately they all want to kill you and so there’s not many differences there. But you’ll interact with them in different ways. Avoiding the Janitor’s creeping arms, running from the glutenous guests, or avoiding the gaze of the mysterious Lady. Each, despite not talking, show traits which make the characters wholly bespoke and very interesting. Each time an antagonist was introduced I found myself un-nerved (and a bit disgusted) by them…..in a good way (if there is a good way?).
The story is to find a way to leave the Maw. Nice and simple. But what the Maw is gets shown as you progress through each level. Building out your idea of the world. Often these smaller games have weird endings (here’s looking at you Inside). But I liked the progression of Six and her growing hunger throughout the game and felt satisfied with the conclusion.
I started Little Nightmares not knowing what to expect, only knowing it was well regarded. I can honestly say its high praise is well deserved. It introduces some great characters and mechanics to a horrible world that I look forward to going back to. For those not put off due to a lack of interest in horror games, rest assured, although it is eerie, tense and horrible, it is not a horror game. I spent approximately 5 hours with Little Nightmares and recommend you do the same if you’re a fan of puzzle-platformers.
Want another great Puzzle-platfomer? Try out our Celeste Review!
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A horrifying trip through a child's nightmares that is a joy to play
- Overall - 9/109/10
+ Brilliant Character designs
+ Amazing setting
+ Chilling music and sounds
– Some less obvious ways to continue