Little Nightmares is a short and bizarre journey of a young hooded girl named Six who must escape from The Maw: an underwater facility that caters for the twisted and hugely obese populace. Like something straight out of a Tim Burton film, this latest game by Tarsier Studios is designed to tap into your childhood nightmares and exploit them.
The game begins as Six wakes up in darkness. Your only possession is a lighter that aids you to see in the dark. You can jump, crawl and grab objects to progress throughout the game and unearth the secrets of this underworld. Venturing forth into the darkness you are greeted with a range of simple puzzles, from dragging objects to reach higher ground, to swinging on chains. There are plenty of quick puzzles in Little Nightmares that don’t require too much thought but are still fun nonetheless. If you are familiar with other titles like Little Big Planet and Inside, the puzzles won’t cause you too much hassle.
Each of the five levels explores a different section of The Maw, complete with its own villains, puzzles and disturbing scenes. Sneak and hide from the Janitor, with his grotesque looks and super stretchy arms, and hide from the obese chefs who want to make you part of the dinner menu. All the inhabitants are out to get you in one way or another and your only way to survive is to not get caught. Not much is explained about each of these abominations; you are left to decide for yourself what menacing motivations these enemies harbour.
As you explore each of the areas on offer, an eerie soundtrack plays creating suspense where needed. You can feel Six’s heartbeat through the PS4 controller which adds even more tension to the games of hide and seek. Overall Little Nightmares creates great suspense but lacks scares, which is a shame. This can be forgiven though, as the scenes portrayed and environments explored are disgustingly beautiful.
Heading further in, you’ll notice tiny gnomes scuttle off into the darkness. These gnomes are scattered throughout each of the levels and are the first Little Nightmares collectibles. Keep an eye out for secret areas and you are sure to find them hiding away. Gas lanterns can also be found which serve as checkpoints and breakable statues make up the final set collectibles. Each secret found unlocks concept artwork in the main menu and rewards you with a few trophies along the way. Collecting them all is no small task, one which adds some replayability to this title.
Conclusively, Little Nightmares is another great addition to the ever expanding side-scrolling puzzle-platformer genre. Its puzzles are simple, and its environments disturbing, though the storyline is short lived with most of the secrets kept until the end. If you are fan of similar games, you are sure to lap up this suspenseful little nightmare.