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Review: Little Nightmares

We all got our fears. Most of those fears appeared during your childhood for the first time. Maybe you were afraid of heights, maybe you were afraid of the monsters hiding under your bed. Fear isn’t something you should be ashamed of, it’s something everybody has, especially at a younger age. Little Nightmares focuses on those fears and tries to bring them back in the best way possible. This isn’t a game for the faint hearted, the game confronts you with fears you thought were long gone.

Wake up little canary

Little Nightmares starts off strong. You awaken in a dark gloomy place called The Maw. You don’t understand what kind of place this is. It’s dark, shaky and filled with creatures you can’t even imagine. Your name is Six, a small hungry girl who just loves to run around in her yellow raincoat. It’s her favorite thing in the world, besides the sunshine perhaps. It’s been such a long time since she witnessed a sunset. Six wants to escape The Maw, wants to leave the place at any costs. All other kids would have given up already but not Six, she’s dreaming of a better place, a better future.

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The thing about the game is that it never tells you this story at the start. To be honest, I had to search on the official site to learn more about the backstory but that’s nothing negative. Little Nightmares doesn’t care about telling its story using strong dialogues or narrators. The game speaks for itself thanks to the strong visuals and audio. Both those aspects create such a powerful atmosphere and environment you’ll automatically feel the isolation and hunger that Six is feeling. You’re a small doll in a wicked house filled with monsters, that’s exactly what makes it so scary.

Connect with your inner child and run away as fast as you can

Atmosphere is everything in Little Nightmares and I must admit, it surprised me a lot. The game is created using the Unreal Engine 4 but I’ve never seen a game in its genre worked out to this level of perfection. Light and dark really play a role and shining your little light in the darkness reveals the dark secrets its hiding. There’s danger lurking around every corner and toys scrambled around on the floor at the same time.

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Little Nightmare forces you to reconnect with your inner child to solve the problems you’re facing. Six is very small and needs to jump on top of other items to open simple doors. She understands her size and tries to deal with it in the best way possible. Trying to survive with the tools the game hands you is a strong aspect of the game and opens up lot of room for exploration.

Escape the room

The concept of the game is trying to survive the several rooms you’re forced to enter. Little Nightmares puts you in full control so you’ll need to solve things the way that seems best. Everything you need is placed in the room so it’s a matter of connecting the dots in order to reach the next one. Sounds easy but it’s not that easy. The controls of the game aren’t that easy to master but that’s done with purpose I’m assuming. For example, if you want to jump and reach for the doorknob, you’ll need to push your control stick, push and release the A-button and hold on your shoulder-button to grab the knob. It’s a little more complicated than similar games but it also works in the benefit of the horror.

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Due to the controls, you’ll often struggle to get away as fast as you can. Just like in the real life, you’ll want to run away as fast as possible so you’ll get stressed. Believe me, stress is something you simply can’t have in Little Nightmares. If you’re stressed, you’ll die, simple as that. It reminded me of the old tank-controls of Resident Evil, not easy to use but it benefits the atmosphere in so many ways.

Face the monsters

Finding your way out of the rooms is just one aspect of the game, the other one is facing the giant monsters that are lurking around in the crazy world of Little Nightmares. There’s no reason to deny it, but these monsters truly are scary. The designs of the bigger monsters is just genius, combining different elements that will strike fear into your hearts. Some are short but have extremely long arms, able to reach you even on top of high shelves. It’s scary to see a hand creeping up on you when there’s no way to run. The game is filled with moments like this and the monsters you face all are scary in their own way. I won’t go into details about the other bigger monsters but let’s say you won’t be able to forget them soon.

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Besides the big monsters, you’ll also face smaller ones that are just as deadly. Trying to dodge them while taking the deadly environment into consideration isn’t always that easy and you’ll die a lot. Not always a problem, since games like Limbo often result in the same but having to start over again and again is actually the only major downside in Little Nightmares.

Wait until I load the room

The loading times in Little Nightmares are just way too long, taking over one minute to simply load the room after you died. Since you die a lot, you’ll often stare at the black screen, waiting for your game to finally restart. Of course, the game has a lot of things it needs to load, there are a lot of interative objects, amazing visual effects and extremly good animations. Too bad it takes this ling however since it really takes you out of the zone and you’ll eventually get frustrated when you die for the fifth time in a row. Hopefully this could be adressed with a patch in the future.

Conclusion:

Little Nightmares is a unique little game that’s filled with incredible moments. It offers a new kind of horror expierence, forcing you to face your childhood fears. The atmosphere is incredible and the enemies and their animations truly are from another level. It’s a shame it takes way too long to load once you died but aside from that, Little Nightmares is definitly worth every minute.

8/10

 

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.