Little Nightmares Review
At some point in our lives, we all experience something that engulfs us with such a dreaded feeling of fear. And this will almost always be more prominent in childhood. Be it the monster under the bed, the spider on the wall or the boogieman who wants to eat you up. Facing those fears can be no easy feat. But that’s exactly what you will need to do in Tarsier Games’ Little Nightmares. But is the journey worth it?
This is Tarsiers first venture onto the Xbox One. You may be familiar with their previous works in the guise of PlayStations’ highly acclaimed Little Big Planet series. And whilst Little Nightmares is a different entity entirely, similarities of certain game mechanics are shared.
Your journey begins in the depths under the ocean, or so it seems at times. Waking up in a daunting environment, you take control of a young girl, covered in a yellow anorak and hood up. Armed with nothing more than a lighter. The story itself is somewhat left to the imagination of the player. There’s no intro cutscenes, back story or text to aid your quest. And as you begin your journey through ever changing environments, the story itself opens itself to you through its own incongruous setting. It’s your own imagination that ultimately fleshes out just where you might be, and what you need to do to survive.
The mechanics to Little Nightmares gameplay are simple to get to grips with. You’re not bogged down with an array of different controls or buttons to press. This is a simplistic yet, extremely well designed setting. One thing that will strike you is the games inconsistency with its locations. A purposeful attempt to create a realistic dream world in which one area can soon turn into something else. You never know what lies ahead. One minute you could be in a nightmarish, dank sewer type setting, before the next where you stumble into a well-lit kitchen.
The largest gripe with the mechanics lay with its camera. Certain sections require more precision with control and jumping. Without a clear view you can easily end up making a mistake that more often than not leads to an untimely demise. Sometimes these issues occur with the puzzles you need to solve as you work your way through.
The environments within have been given a lot of attention to detail in their look, design and execution. Whilst it appears your adventure will be cast in darkness, you then find yourself in more vibrant areas. The graphical look of Little Nightmares could easily be mistaken for the works of Tim Burton. There’s a wealth of interactivity with your setting. Want to push a cage off a bridge? You can. Whilst this may not achieve anything, it’s the attention to detail that bring the world to life in a much more realistic and sinister way.
You will come across sections where the camera zooms out and pans with you. Opening up a much larger visual of the nightmare world you are trapped within. What makes such moments better is the outstanding use of sound to add emotive effects to the situation. Tarsier have gone above and beyond to implement an audio tone to match the locale. And this works wonders.
Whilst not the longest of games, Little Nightmares serves up a decent length campaign that may take you around 8 hours to complete. Let’s not forget, whilst a retail title as well as digital, coming in at its budget price you are getting a stellar adventure for your money. And whilst there may be little to return for, there’s a feel that this is one adventure you would quite happily go through again and again.
Right from the beginning of your adventure with Six, you can sense that you’re in for a unique journey. One that would quite comfortably sit alongside the likes of Limbo in terms of the helplessness feel Tarsier have conjured up with your character and situation. With some well-constructed and thought provoking puzzles, Little Nightmares offer a completely different take on the horror genre. This is no quick run and survive game. It doesn’t set out to be. But aside from a few gripes with the camera and lack of precision, what it does achieve is a unique take on the genre that will leave you facing up to those childhood fears, and laying them to rest. Again and again.
Little Nightmares is available to download now from the Amazon, priced at £15.99.
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