I woke up in the middle of the night yesterday in a cold sweat. I had dreamt I was the size of a LEGO man and I had been carried away by monsters to be chopped up and eaten. As the blade struck down on my beaten and bruised food I woke up with Little Nightmares to blame.
Little Nightmares is really good, like better than Inside good. It has some issues but otherwise, it’s an absolute must play that is actually quite frightening. Think Tim Burton if he dropped Depp and went back to the 80s and brought his early creepy gothic art to life.
Little Nightmares has you playing as Six, a bare-footed young girl in a yellow coat who wakes up in a suitcase in a jail cell. I can not confirm or deny that she got her coat from Curious George. You’re not given much detail other than your goal is to move from room to room, presumably in an effort to escape this hellhole. For most players, the story will remain a mystery, but for those who take their time and examine everything around them, they can start to figure out what is really going on. It takes a pair of eagle eyes but the payoff is worth it. It’s a mysterious story that certainly could go a few different ways.
You’ll quickly find you are trapped in a disturbing underwater resort filled with gluttonous inhabitants called The Maw. With the first few minutes, you’ll come across a man hanging from a noose that will either scare you away or reel you right in. From this moment on I was hooked.
Think of yourself as a baby mouse stuck in a maze armed only with a few items laying around to help you and your quick feet. You’ll have to act fast to survive. The first half of the 4-5 hour game will see you sneaking around where the final few portions will have you running for your life. The game is broken into 5 chapters with the fourth being one of my favorite gaming moments of the year. I was literally at the edge of my seat, heart racing, jaw dropped as I raced to the finish line avoiding trouble. It’s a shame that the follow-up and final chapter is so short.
The length of the game will certainly turn people off. I found myself dying a lot and the game took me about 5 hours. I was, of course, scrounging for clues and collectibles. Much of which I found on my first playthrough. There is an achievement for beating it under an hour that I might just try one night. The game is certainly worth a repeat visit. It inflicts genuine tension and fear and had me yelling, “Holy shit” repeatedly.
There is lingering creepiness here and some serious WTF moments. There are zero cheap scares. I applaud the game for this. Pictures don’t do it justice. Watching these monsters attack you in motion with headphones on in the dark is a truly unique experience.
The puzzles are easy to figure out, and you won’t need much hand holding. I found myself really in the groove within an hour. The puzzles are all different and you won’t find yourself repeating the same type of missions twice which is the benefit of such a short game. Quality over quantity.
I have to knock the platform mechanics here as there are some extremely frustrating moments and the checkpoint system doesn’t always work in your favor. Navigating small planks like a trapeze artist can be incredibly difficult as its really hard to pinpoint exactly where to step resulting in an unnecessary amount of deaths. Chapter 2 had a number of these moments. Limbo and Inside (Which had to have been the source of inspiration for Little Nightmares) do platforming better, but it’s not as an intense as this. There are so many creative enemies and environmental hazards to experiment with here that I want to go back and play again right now.
From the art style to the total originality of the project I can’t wait to see what developer Tarsier Studios release next. There’s Little Nightmares DLC on the way that will have you in control of a little boy this time around on different parts of the ship that I’ll be playing Day 1. Bring on the nightmares!