Little Nightmares Review

Richard Walker

As a kid, chances are you probably played games where you pretended you were running away from some sort of hidden danger, like an imaginary monster, the boogeyman or whatever. You've also likely had dreams where you're trying to escape from something shadowy and unseen, your legs turning to jelly as your feet grow heavy, making being caught an inevitability. Until you wake up, that is.

Little Nightmares is a tangible manifestation of these things, its mysterious realm of The Maw a skewed, warped world; its inhabitants bizarre, stretched creatures that go about their repetitive, strange routines. A creature with long, gangly arms that can reach through vents and up onto high shelves that makes weird, heavy breathing noises is the first you'll encounter, and as protagonist Six, Little Nightmares ensures you always feel vulnerable, and you'll always need to find a place to hide where the nasty monsters can't reach you.

Playing upon childhood fears, Little Nightmares will crawl its way beneath your skin, reawakening memories of things that seemed terrifying when you were young, like adults that seemed to be such a towering presence when you were small. Little Nightmares takes this idea and expands it to unreal, fantastical proportions, Six an almost insect-sized character compared to the freakish creatures that scuttle around what developer Tarsier perfectly describes as “the disturbing dollhouse” of The Maw.

It's the oddest dollhouse imaginable, in fact, every piece of furniture stretching right to the ceiling, all slightly off-kilter, seemingly always at an angle, akin to something from a German Expressionist film, like Nosferatu or The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This slanted camera, while lending to Little Nightmares' surreal quality, can sometimes cause you to misjudge perspective, which can mean missing some jumps by incorrectly lining them up, or accidentally veering off a narrow walkway to plummet to your death. Still, these instances are few and far between, especially once you adjust to the view, but you'll still wince when Six falls to the ground in a delicate yellow heap.

Six's floaty jump can occasionally be annoying too, particularly when you're trying to outrun some lumbering nasty by climbing a set of shelves or a chest of drawers. Still, she's an endearing character, despite having her face shrouded by her eye-catching yellow hooded raincoat, her little barefoot matchstick legs sticking out of the bottom. There's not a word of dialogue in the game either, the pitter-patter slapping of Six's shoeless feet on the floor among the only audio you'll hear much of the time. She's strangely endearing, standing out like a little yellow beacon amid the game's grey and brown backdrops.

Weird and unsettling in a similar way to the likes of Limbo and Inside, Little Nightmares isn't scary in the same way that a survival horror like Resident Evil might be with its jump scares and such, but it does succeed in making you feel constantly on-edge and uncomfortable. Its puzzles and platforming are Six's only way of escaping the grotesque nightmare people constantly on the prowl, sniffing and grabbing in the darkness, looking for a tasty morsel to swallow whole. She's so small, puzzles primarily involve reaching up high for levers, door handles or keys.

Clambering up vertiginous furniture, scaling teetering towers of books, dishes and crates playing as Six, you can't help but want to protect her, illuminating the way ahead through The Maw's gloomy corners with only the tiny flickering flame of her lighter. From writhing jet black leeches to flabby chefs with vast, sagging faces, Little Nightmares conjures up some freaky imagery that'll stay with you, while the deft design behind the puzzles and platforming make for an enjoyable experience. Little Nightmares is surreal, supernatural and odd, but it's great too, its ending equally weird and disturbing, the whole thing will leave an indelible mark on your brain. And that's exactly why you should get it bought.

Little Nightmares

Creepy, surreal and sublime, Little Nightmares will get under your skin, curl up and stay there. Let it in...

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Little Nightmares conveys a lot with a little, the entire atmosphere effectively generated only by sound effects, the subtlest of music and absolutely no dialogue whatsoever.


The imaginings that could only come from fevered dreams, Little Nightmares' visual design is fantastic. Everything has a tangible quality to it, but is always skewed and exaggerated. The stuff of nightmares, indeed.


It has its little foibles, for sure, but overall, this is a well-crafted puzzle platformer that plays remarkably well, Six easy to control for the most part. The monsters' AI isn't great, but it seems intentionally so.


Clocking in at about 3-4 hours, Little Nightmares isn't a massive game, but it's one that you'll be enraptured by for the entirety of its duration. You'll likely feel compelled to go back again for a second nightmare, as it's so well put together.


An odd list with some cryptic descriptions, there are some achievements in Little Nightmares that I'm not even sure about, apart from the obvious collectibles. Then I guess that's part of the fun: deciphering what you need to do for the full 1000G.

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