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Review | Little Nightmares

 

From the moment you start up Little Nightmares, you will be uneasy. The haunting visuals of it’s world will pull you in, the background noises The Maw will put you on edge and the sense of scale will keep you feeling off balance. There is a lot to be said for gameplay over story telling, and Little Nightmares embraces this idea wholeheartedly, even if it does stumble occasionally.

 

You play as Six, a little girl that must escape The Maw, a strange underwater resort filled with twisted inhabitants and nightmarish locations. You are never told that you must escape, or even why but the game communicates the message clearly without traditional story telling devices. There is no explicitly delivered narrative in Little Nightmares, instead you are left to intuit vague narrative snippits from locations, events and individuals that you encounter. Who is Six? What is happening in the Maw? These questions will follow you through the somewhat brief campaign, and you will probably be left with even more questions after the game’s thought provoking ending.

 

 

 

In terms of gameplay, Little Nightmares is a puzzle platformer at heart. Indeed, many of it’s ideas are nothing new. Instead, it’s the visual style and the ever shifting sense of scale in the game that make it special. Early on you will encounter the Janitor, a twisted creature with tiny legs but incredibly long arms who hunts you via sound and smell. Encounters with him take on a stealth element as you carefully creep around, then toss a cymbal banging toy bear to distract him as you make a mad dash for safety. Later on, you will have to run for your life in escape platforming sequences as you try to get away from The Twins – hideous chefs who wear the skin of other people’s faces as masks.

 

The macabre, unsettling setting of Little Nightmares is on of it’s strongest points, and I was constantly impressed at how well it ran. I rarely ever experienced any slowdown or graphical issues. The sound design is truly wonderful, with bangs and clanks from the background activities of The Maw keeping you always uneasy. The grunts and squeals that pass for voice acting are nowhere near as overbearing as the much maligned Yooka Laylee gibberish speak, and do an admirable job of conveying emotion into the few scenes where they are present. The anguishes cry of one of the Twins as you dash through a small hole and out of it’s reach is satisfying and simultaneously terrifying.

 

I enjoyed my time with Little Nightmares immensely. While it doesn’t set any new standards for innovation in gameplay, and it does occasionally punish you in a trial and error sort of way; the game is incredibly striking visually and will have you saying “What in the f**** is going on?!” from the start to finish of it’s story. Just be warned, the game is quite short, easily being beaten in one or two sittings. Still, it’s worth the experience if you have a PC or PS4.

 

Little Nightmares: 8.5/10


May 10th, 2017 by Digmbot
This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 4:39 pm and is filed under Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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