Little Nightmares shows that gaming is a changed entity, nowadays. No longer would you go and spend £45 on a game to keep you entertained for hours on end. It’s more likely that you visit your Playstation or Xbox store and spend under £20 for one that only lasts aroud four hours. Personally, I’m still finding it tricky to adapt to this. Saying that, just under a year ago I reviewed Inside (a 4-hour game which was only released digitally) and had a fantastic experience. However, after playing that game, I wasn’t too sure how much I wanted to play exactly the same one again. Little Nightmares is definitely one of those games which follows the same strategic plan as Inside, but that doesn’t make it the same game. It is noticeable, however, that you can also buy this game on disc.
Six follows the mould of a fair few indie games by revealing what is actually going on as you are playing instead of providing you with an intro explaining all. Therefore, I am going to give a SPOILER ALERT for my next paragraph for those of you who don’t want to know the storyline. You are a young girl named Six, wearing your beautiful yellow raincoat/dress onesie. You’re stuck in a surreal resort called the Maw, and are on an escape mission. You’re then captured and haunted throughout the game by the evil janitor who wants to stick you on some form on conveyor belt. Essentially, Little Nightmares is like a big game of hide and seek and who doesn’t like hide and seek?
It’s a puzzle platformer with a difference – you’re given different options at certain points. I’d say, the closest game I have played to Little Nightmares is Inside but, as mentioned earlier, it is not a direct match.
Visually, this game is pretty much faultless. Over the five different areas you run around, they are predominately dark with scenes where you’re crawling through absolute darkness. Of course, Six has a lighter in her possession – despite being only nine – so has the ability to light up any room. Her yellow coat stands out at a number of times and the close-to-binary opposite effect of the yellow coat connoting sun and warmth, and the dark depths of The Maw, are apparent throughout. When you are treated to colours they all seem to merge in well. There was one point where I had to stop moving just so I could try and work out the shade of blue on display. Of course, due to the nature of the game, the graphics are not going to knock you off your feet. Nor are they going to desperately rush out to buy a new TV so you can see what technology can show.
What they will do is entice you to pay close attention to detail and immerse you in a world of darkness – a world where weird things happen and make your pulse with thud with excitement as well as horror. The graphics suit the game – I find myself saying that a lot nowadays but not everything needs to look realistic. Being sharp, precise and detailed is much more important than trying to make your game look like real life. Boy, if this was real life then I’d probably have a heart attack 16 times over. Coming back to why it is only pretty much faultless, is due to the annoying glitches the game sadly has. Too many times I found Six’s head poking through a box and edging into a wall. I know this isn’t really a big deal but for me, but a game which uses relatively simple graphics should have resolved these issues in beta staging.
In a game which sets out to scare you – not so much in a horror way but more a terror way – sound is incredibly important. In fact, the more I review games, the more I notice just how much time and effort go into their soundtrack. Little Nightmares has one of the most terrifying I’ve ever heard. Interestingly, I was expecting many more silences in a terror game – sometimes hearing nothing is one of the most daunting things. LN pretty much always uses sound to accompany what is going on. There’s an array of freaky jingles, sharp and aggressive sounds and eerie noises throughout which will have you shaking nervously. Detail is closely taken into account, and the footsteps of poor little Six even freak me out! One of the best moments is when her stomach starts rumbling – it was so realistic that after it happened a second time, I was feeling hungry myself. It’ not often I say this, but there is absolutely nothing I would change with the sound of this game. That said, if it was a cold, dark and rainy night I would probably play this game with the sound off – you see my wife doesn’t take kindly to particular stains…
Gameplay is always an area where indie games fall a little short; mostly down to the lack of variety. Little Nightmares isn’t as simple as just running right to finish the game, and that adds a little something that certain titles of this genre have missed. Six has the ability to jump, crawl, climb (certain meshed surfaces), use a lighter, pick up things, throw and that is about it. This is a lot more than some similar games I have played. What is enjoyable about this game, is the design being 3D, meaning that it isn’t just forwards and backwards. The game is littered with puzzles which aren’t particularly too hard, but were about perfect for me, which definitely means some will find them far too easy. You won’t come up against anything you have to fight, which is good because you can’t throw particularly hard. As mentioned earlier, it is good to see the element of choice come into play in a game like this. I liked having to make an under-pressure choice about where to hide, but overall I did find the gameplay a little basic. Maybe if this was the first game the genre I wouldn’t be saying this, but it isn’t so, hey.
Sometimes, when you play a game like this, there’s thin line between enjoyment and sheer terror. I am not someone who would choose to watch a horror film but I am someone who likes playing a horror game. Probably because I am a control freak. The actual game took me over four hours and is full of collectibles, but I didn’t really find any. I wasn’t massively looking, though. Personally, I don’t feel compelled to play this title again, and it definitely won’t take me away from other games I have been playing. It is only single-player with no online, but I am clearly stating the obvious here. I wouldn’t expect any expansions to be released at all. So, the question is – is it worth just under £20 to buy a game which you will probably only play once. To me, the answer is yes. Like L’Oreal, it’s worth it.
Overall, I’d give this an 8/10, rounded down from 8.5, because this game just feels like an 8 to me. Well worth the money and a great experience, though.
Thanks to the Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Players: single-player
- HDTV options: up to 1080p
- Sound: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Narrative designer: Dave Mervik
Art Director: Per Bergman
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.