Little Nightmares is hauntingly mysterious and enjoyable from start to end. I jumped in panic several times in my brief five hour playthrough in this creepy but oddly adorable game. While the short game length will leave some wanting to experience more, this feels acceptable as the game manages to stay fresh and exciting throughout.
Players take control of a young yellow hooded girl named Six as she tries to escape from a huge ship occupied by dangerous creatures and gigantic human-like beings. Everything else in the plot is kept ambiguous, making all the characters seem unnerving, including Six herself.
Each of the five chapters starts with Six simply exploring distinct areas of the ship. There’s enough breathing time in each chapter for players to fully chalk up the environment and learn what kind of deadly foe inhabits the area. While no one in the entirety of the game talks, there’s enough characterization that can be observed based on the areas they inhabit as well as the nuances in their behavior.
Finding the Right Balance
What makes Little Nightmares feel great is its pacing. The game has the right balance of puzzle solving bits, frantic chase sequences, and quiet moments to help players immerse themselves in the chilling atmosphere.
Navigating alone is enjoyable due to the varied areas as well as its great soundtrack and sound design. Additionally, you’ll always be on your toes as the game makes you feel vulnerable at all times.
Puzzles in this game is fairly simple and mostly involves trying to discover how to reach a far-away place. What makes the game interesting is that you’ll solve these puzzles while gigantic sized beings scour the area to capture you. Getting spotted doesn’t always result to your demise as you can outrun and hide from foes.
Creepy Nightmares and Puzzles
Each enemy also has a unique trait and behavior that forces you to adjust your playstyle accordingly. This makes each enemy encounter feel like a puzzle in itself. However, some encounters are difficult to solve on the first few tries without thoroughly examination. This inadvertently led to several trial-and-error attempts, making some of the game’s accompanying narrow escape sequences feel less satisfying.
Additionally, it’s odd that sneaking sequences, platforming, puzzles, and enemy encounters are more difficult in the game’s early stages. Like most horror games, the latter parts of Little Nightmares also has less puzzle aspects and puts more emphasis on action, which isn’t entirely a bad thing as it’s a great change of pace and doesn’t skimp out on its great characterization and atmosphere.
Movement in the game feels weightier than in Little Big Planet, but it feels less imprecise than in Limbo. Due to this, I found myself occasionally missing jumps and accidentally falling off ledges. The worst offender here is that the game requires players to hold down a button to carry items, which can get confusing at times and has caused my demise on several occasions.
Nonetheless, the game’s pros far outweigh the cons. Priced at $19.99 for its digital version or $34.99 for its limited edition, Little Nightmares is a great game for those seeking a short but memorable experience. Developer Tarsier Studios has done a great job in their first multiplatform game that fully deviates from the studio’s past cheery works such as Little Bit Planet and Tearaway: Unfolded.
Setting aside its short length and awkward controls, Little Nightmares is a brilliant and memorable game that that deserves to be played by horror and platformer fans.
- Unique and memorable chapters
- Mysterious Plot
- Disturbing violence despite the lack of gore
- Character Design
- No cheap jump scares
- Brilliantly created and thrilling enemy encounters
- No dull moment
- Sound Design
- Shocking Ending
- Controls and movement can be improved
- Some trial and error encounters
- Short length
Final Score: 8.8/10
Note: This game was reviewed on a standard PS4. The copy of the game was purchased by the reviewer.
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