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REVIEW: Little Nightmares — ‘A Pleasant Little Nightmare’


Published by: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developed by: Tarsier Studios
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows PlayStation 4 Xbox One
Genre(s): Puzzle-platformer
Mode(s): Single-player
Game Type: , , , , ,
90/ 100

User Rating
2 total ratings



Charming Atmosphere. Compelling Narrative. Simple and Fluid Gameplay Mechanics.


Infuriatingly Short. Underwhelming Puzzles

Posted May 17, 2017 by

Ever had a pleasant nightmare? A dream that’s creepy or disturbing but strangely also puts you into a state of utter tranquility? That’s how best I can describe my experience with Little Nightmares; Bandai Namco’s adventure horror puzzle-platformer. Developed by Tarsier Studios(Little Big Planet, Tearaway), Little Nightmares strives to deliver a unique experience that lingers between soothing and disturbing. 

STORY — It’s a bad dream, but one of the good kinds’

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You play as Six, a hunger stricken young girl who somehow wound up in the depths of The Maw – a surreal place riddled with grotesque creatures that look like they crawled right out of a creepy painting. Besides these facts, I have absolutely no idea what the hell is happening. With not so much as a waypoint or a well-defined objective, I began my journey to nowhere. As I make my way around The Maw, things slowly begin to unfold, and despite being stricken with a perpetual state of fear, I never hesitated to move forward, curious as to what this all means. Little Nightmares possesses an interesting narrative. Though certain elements like The Maw are well defined and straightforward, much of its story is vague, left for us to interpret ourselves, but what is a nightmare if not a horrifyingly amorphous dream that leaves us wondering when we wake?

By the time I beat the game, I realize the irony on the title’s accuracy. The game is, indeed, a little nightmare. Being abruptly woken up in the middle of a dream that just started to get interesting. The game’s narrative is still a pretty worthwhile experience, and considering the game’s price point, it’s an incredible short story. I would’ve preferred a lengthier game at full price, but maybe it’s for the best.

GAMEPLAY — Like having a lucid nightmare…’


Little Nightmares is a light puzzle-platformer, emphasizing more on the player’s overall experience as opposed to providing challenging puzzles. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of challenge to be had in Little Nightmares and a good amount of dying, too. Fatal hazards await you in every corner of The Maw, making you wish for better checkpoints when your inches from completing an entire section only to die and start back at frustratingly inconvenient points.

Besides sprinting, ducking and jumping around, Six can also grip various objects, allowing you to push, pull, climb and shimmy into things; handy for solving puzzles or escaping a pursuit. The game makes for some very clever use of Six’s limited move sets, often demanding creative thinking when dealing with the games various encounters.

Visuals & Performance — ‘Dream theater…’

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Little Nightmares looks and feels like a nightmare you could actually have at night. The dark visuals and eerie soundtrack generate a surreal atmosphere that charms players into exploration despite the foreboding vibe invoked in every area. There aren’t a lot of varying set pieces throughout the game, but the dark atmospheric undertones remain consistent throughout the whole game. As I’ve said, the game doesn’t really focus on the puzzle-platforming and instead keeps you focused in absorbing the world of Little Nightmares and the mysteries surrounding its narrative. Little Nightmares beseeches you to experience its story, investing a remarkable amount of detail and charm in its visuals to get you to do so.

Verdict — It’s time to wake up!

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People don’t usually associate disturbing imagery and creepy music with ‘charming’, but charming is exactly the word to describe the disturbingly creepy Little Nightmares. It’s alluring grim atmosphere impels you to see it through despite the subpar puzzles and nuiance checkpoint system. Little Nightmares is one you wouldn’t want to wake from but unfortunately you will, sooner than you’d like. Despite it’s literal shortcoming, it’s still well worth the play. It’s relatively low pricepoint can’t hurt either.

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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