Little Nightmares: PS4 Review
Developed by Tarsier Studios
There's something extremely ghoulish about this little platformer that has a terrifying habit of getting under your skin.
And it all starts off so cutely, with Six, a girl in a yellow raincoat waking up in what appears to be the bowels of a ship. With no real clue of how to escape, it's up to you to try and progress through the various oblique puzzles and settings and avoid the rather macabre creatures that want to grab and eat you.
Disturbing is Little Nightmares prime MO. From a grey mattress where you begin to crawling through service ducts to creatures clawing at you, this is a Tim Burton-esque treat that really rewards your patience.
With scattered directions from the AI over how to move things and how to progress, the game's very occasionally an exercise in patience more than anything else. Partly because it's never initially clear what you have to do to keep on moving and while you're stalking through the shadows, you're never quite clear what exactly you will be bumping into.
Armed with only a light whose flame flickers, Six is a cute proposition that finds herself slap-bang in a nightmare. There are little facials on show, but somehow the inherent plight of her captivity comes to the fore.
Also coming to the fore are the more horrific elements of the game. One room early on sees you finding a pair of legs dangling from the top of the screen, with a chair under them. Clearly, there's been a suicide here, but the game doesn't allow you to dwell on that. Instead you perversely have to drag the chair across the room so that you can clamber up it and swing on a door handle to keep on moving.
It's this kind of nightmarish vision that helps Little Nightmares through some of its darker edges.
It does take a great deal of patience here and there, to allow a degree of lateral thinking to help you solve what needs to be done. But sometimes the fact you simply get up, walk away and have a Eureka moment is to the game's strength.
But at times, that moment takes a lot to come, and how much you're willing to sacrifice to get there, is entirely upto you. It can be rewarding in among the dark and the game's to be commended for somehow managing to convey that horror that something is stalking you and breathing on your neck via its imagery rather than via its outright obviousness.
At the end of the day, the fact a game like Little Nightmares from Tarsier Studios even exists to haunt us is great news - creativity can be clever and Little Nightmares will invade both your waking and sleeping hours in ways you may never expect.