Game Review: Little Nightmares (Xbox One)

Little Nightmares places you in control of a hungry nine-year-old girl named Six. You’re trapped aboard a dank, mysterious vessel called The Maw. However, you’re not alone. The ship is full of gluttonous, grotesque creatures that want nothing more than to violently end you. You must guide Six through a number of life threatening scenarios and environments until the bitter end. Along the way, Six is plagued by an excruciating, primal hunger and she will stop at nothing to feed.

Whilst ascending, she soon becomes stalked by the long-armed blind Janitor of the Maw, who has been capturing children and sending them on an overhead hook conveyor belt. She eventually becomes trapped by the Janitor after being lured by food, though she manages to escape. After evading the Janitor by cutting off his arms with a door, Six follows the conveyor belt upward, to a large kitchen operated by the grotesque Twin Chefs. After another bout of hunger, Six is forced to eat a live rat. The Chefs are preparing a large feast, and attempt to kill Six whenever she enters their line of sight. After managing to evade them, she finds a way out of the vessel.

Six observes a boat ferrying large and obese suited Guests, who lumber to the Japanese-style dining area of the Maw, overseen by the Lady, the supposed leader of the Maw. After wading through the feast and the Guests themselves, Six has another bout of hunger. When one of the Nome’s, the recurring inhabitants of the Maw, offers her a sausage, Six eats the Nome.

Will Six escape The Maw once and for all? Will she exact revenge on the Lady and the ships other inhabitants? Play Little Nightmares to find out.

Little Nightmares tells a dark, twisted tale that is hard to look away from. The world that it places you in is certainly not a nice one full of unicorns and rainbows. Each new section of The Maw is as grimy and nightmare inducing as the last, as is the horrible looking monstrosities that you encounter along the way. Each of them requires a different strategy that you will need to learn if you wish to escape their clutches and progress.

These types of games always enforce a trial and error system and Little Nightmares is no different. Unless you’re exceptional at it, get ready to die and then die again. It can be frustrating which may be off-putting for some. Little Nightmares is a challenging game that is for certain.

There are a few occasions in which you can exploit the enemies but for the most part they are very clever. At times, your best bet may just be sprinting through a room. You might get caught but then again you might get lucky. However, there are many occasions in which stealth is your only option. It’s these occasions when you should expect your heart rate to increase.

Still, that’s an aspect of these games that I love and hate. Sure, it can be infuriating to fail over and over. However, when you do finally succeed it is extremely satisfying. The ways in which you control Six can be a little bit finicky. There is a lot of platforming in the game so you’ll have to time your jumps and climbs to perfection. One of my biggest criticisms against the game is the overly long load times. In a game when you’ll be dying as much as you do, they must be shorter.  Also, the overall perspective used in the game can lead to confusion at times.

Little Nightmares doesn’t give you much information about the narrative. Still, it’s compelling to witness certain developments that happen with Six. There is an overall creepy atmosphere to the game; it got my palms sweaty on more than one occasion. Also, I’m a huge fan of the aesthetic as a whole. I really liked the way in which Six’s bright yellow raincoat contrasted with the rest of the environment.

Overall, Little Nightmares is an absorbing horror experience. It’s likely that it will frustrate you with its somewhat clumsy mechanics but it rewards you with a feeling of accomplishment for pressing on. It’s a little too short and far too dependent on trial and error to extend the experience. However, it does a fantastic job of delivering some highly memorable moments and imagery. I certainly see the game being one that I look back on fondly.

  • - 8/10
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