Little Nightmares reminds us of a more colorful Limbo, but the visuals alone aren’t kindred, it’s also how the game reawakens all your childhood fears. “Help Six escape The Maw – a vast, mysterious vessel inhabited by corrupted souls looking for their next meal” is the basic summary of the story created by Swedish Developers Tarsier Studios and as you progress you’ll be greeted with a lot more depth in game-play and emotions, though the story is no more developed than that intro.
There are creatures to avoid in each chapter, some of the designs ranging from extremely mildly disturbing to extremely butchered, some evoking a semblance of fear, but most triggering revulsion. There’s a Janitor, Chef and the Lady that stand out and each one has a telltale reaction that is easy to figure out and helps you thwart them and flee. When it comes to finding out how to avoid these creepy ghoulies that aim to do you harm, difficulty is not high and this is also the same findings with the puzzles.
But this isn’t suppose to be a game about hard grinding or learning tricky moves to carry on with your trek and it’s never a bad thing when controls are precise and easy to learn.
The feeling of never-ending dread and just not being able to enjoy a moment of true safety is well presented in this game. Tarsier wants to remove any protection you might feel from other games that allow you to wield a weapon or hide easily whilst also giving you the belief that if you can just keep going, maybe the nightmare will finally end.
While linear in many ways, the developers have been successful in adding a sense of non-linearity, ensuring that the platforming mechanics are shaken up a little bit, offering sneaking, running and puzzle solving in fair dosages. What also stands out in Little Nightmares and that is being appreciated by many horror game fans is that they game doesn’t want you to feel anything due to jump scares, which can be an easy trick for films or video games, especially in the past 8 years. There’s a twisted organic, macabre tone in the enemies and surroundings that does the job quite well, on the scary side of things.
Little Nightmares is a short game that can leave you wanting more, which is more often than not, a good thing. Given it’s current price at £15.99 on Steam, this does hamper promoting is as a must buy right now. The game is delightfully put together, which is an odd statement given how grotesque it is and the mechanics and game-play are easy to sink into but given that the game hinges on it’s atmosphere more so than anything compelling and fresh in terms of playing, the price is a bit steep for a game that can be completed in 3 hours. Supporting indie games and good ones is no doubt important, but supporting customers and value for money is equally as vital.
If you’re looking for something spooky, something to sink into without zapping an entire day or weekend, then we would recommend Little Nightmares, but would also suggest you wait for a price drop.