Little Nightmares

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Little Nightmares
Little Nightmares Box Art.png
Developer(s)Tarsier Studios
Engine Software (Switch)
Publisher(s)Bandai Namco Entertainment
Producer(s)Henrik Larsson
Oscar Wemmert
Emma Mellander
Designer(s)Dennis Talajic
Dave Mervik
Hilda Liden
Asger Kristiansen
Matthew Compher
Andreas Palmgren
Michael Thulin
Programmer(s)Niklas Hansson
Mattias Ottvall
Richard Meredith
Artist(s)Per Bergman
Marcus Ottvall
Gustaf Heinerwall
Christer Johansson
Sebastian Bastian
Patrik Johansson
Composer(s)Tobias Lilja
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
Release
  • Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • 28 April 2017[1]
  • Nintendo Switch
  • 18 May 2018
Genre(s)Puzzle-platformer, survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player

Little Nightmares is a puzzle-platformer horror adventure game developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. The game received positive reviews upon release with critics praising the atmosphere, graphics, and sound. Criticism was aimed at the game's checkpoint system and short length.

A sequel, Little Nightmares 2, has been announced for a 2020 release, featuring Six and a new character called Mono.[2]

Plot[edit]

A hungry little girl dressed in a yellow raincoat named Six is trapped in the Maw, a mysterious vessel catering to the whims of sick and powerful creatures. After waking up in the lower depths of the Maw, Six moves through the Maw's harsh confines while having regular moments of excruciating, primal-like hunger. At one point, one of the other imprisoned children gives her a piece of bread to eat. Whenever she eats anything, a dark version of her appears nearby while the surrounding area flickers. While attempting to escape the Prison, she is soon pursued by the long-armed blind Janitor of the Maw, who has been capturing the runaway children, wrapping them in paper, and placing them on a conveyor belt that sends them to a large kitchen. She also encounters Leeches, black worm-like creatures. At one point, the Janitor captures Six by luring her into a cage with food and brings her to the Lair, where the other captured children are held. She eventually escapes, but refuses to help the other children. While traveling through the Lair, she makes her way through a large pile of shoes, narrowly avoiding a monster that lives in it. She also discovers a large viewing machine in the shape of a giant eye that allows her to see other parts of the Maw. After neutralizing the Janitor by cutting off his arms with a door, Six follows the conveyor belt upwards to the Kitchen (where the captured children are being sent) 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 escape from them, she finds a way out of the Kitchen, leading her to the outside of the Maw.

Six observes a boat ferrying large, obese, suited Guests, who lumber to the Japanese-style dining area of the Maw to feast on the food offered to them there, overseen by the Lady, the masked Geisha-like leader of the Maw. After wading through the feast and its Guests, Six has another bout of hunger. When one of the Nomes, the recurring harmless inhabitants of the Maw, offers her a sausage, Six eats the Nome instead.

Six makes her way further upwards, entering the Lady's Quarters, covered with many broken mirrors throughout the rooms. Chased by the Lady, who displays magical powers, Six finds a non-broken mirror that she uses against the Lady in a battle. Defeating her, Six approaches the now-weakened Lady and bites her neck, killing her and gaining her magical powers.

Going downstairs to the dining area, Six walks along the tables with black particles swirling around her. As the Guests notice her presence, they attempt to eat her, but are instantly killed by Six's newfound powers as she walks on. Six approaches a large door with an eye encrusted upon it, which suddenly opens, revealing a large staircase leading to the outside world. As she leaves the Maw behind, a few Nomes approach the door.

After the end credits, Six is seen sitting by the entrance of the Maw, presumably awaiting rescue. Meanwhile, in the background, a foghorn from an approaching ship can be heard.

Secrets of the Maw[edit]

A trio of DLC levels that offer a "different perspective on Six’s adventures" were planned. The first one was released in July 2017,[3] the second in November 2017 and the last in February 2018.[4][5]

The Depths[edit]

A young boy, known as the Runaway Kid (Nintendo Switch version, “The Kid”), wakes up from a nightmare involving him swimming in darkness before being dragged underwater. After leaving the Nursery, he spots the Janitor chasing one of the escaping children. The Kid follows a girl who is also fleeing, but she disappears and leaves her flashlight behind, which the Kid takes.

The Kid finds himself in the Depths of the Maw, which are heavily flooded and he has to avoid Leeches and make his way across by hopping on floating platforms. The Depths turn out to be the home of the Granny, who swims underwater and attempts to grab the Kid either by bumping and destroying the platforms he stands on or snatching him if he is in the water for too long. After pushing a television set into the water to electrocute and kill the Granny, the Kid makes his way to a tall wooden staircase with light coming through the top. He then reaches a ladder and climbs it, pushing through a grate. However, the light turns out to be a flashlight and he is caught by the Janitor and dragged into the darkness. The final scene shows the Kid in a cage next to other cages with children, including Six. The Janitor's long arms reach out and grab the Kid's cage and pull it off screen, paralleling Six's campaign just before she wakes up in the cage.

The Hideaway[edit]

The second DLC chapter is titled "The Hideaway" and features the Kid and the Nomes.[6] It starts with the Kid escaping from the paper he is wrapped in, which is ascending on a hook towards the Kitchen, and he falls to a new level of the Maw. With the help of the Nomes that he finds along the way, he finds an engine room where the Nomes are brought to throw coal in the furnace. One of the rooms in the area has a similar viewing machine as in the Lair, where the Kid can see places where Six has been, and he even witnesses Six herself treading through the sea of shoes. During this campaign, the Kid also encounters the Janitor. After finding all the Nomes and bringing them to the engine room to help power up the furnace, the large bucket elevator in the back of the engine room becomes fully functional, ultimately lifting the Kid up to where the Nomes are gathered, presumably the "Hideaway". The shadows indicate that the Nomes actually are or have been children. Then, after leaving through a crack in the wall, the Kid eventually finds himself on a rising platform, which is the top of an elevator where the Lady is standing.

The Residence[edit]

The chapter starts at the top of the elevator where the Lady was at the end of the Hideaway. In this campaign, the Kid finds himself in the Lady's Residence, eventually finding a room with several statues of the Lady. After solving puzzles to find three missing statues, while fighting off the Shadow Children, he finds the Lady looking at herself in a mirror. The Lady is revealed to have a gruesome face, possibly explaining why she wears a mask. In the last room of the Residence, the Lady captures the Kid and transforms him into a Nome. He then finds his way to the Guest Area and then to the room with the sausage in Six's campaign. The chapter ends with the Kid standing by the sausage, indicating that it is him who Six eats. When the credits for the Secrets of the Maw roll, they are eventually shown on a television set, after which the screen shows a figure reminiscent of the Hanging Man.

Very Little Nightmares[edit]

A mobile app titled Very Little Nightmares was announced in April 2019 and was released in May 2019 on iOS. The story acts as a prequel to Little Nightmares.[7]

Plot[edit]

A young girl, known as “The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat”, wakes up in the Nest, a large mansion that resides on a tall, narrow island, and attempts to find a way out. Along the way, she encounters Six from the original game; Nomes (the same inhabitants from the Maw); the long-armed, wheelchair-bonded Craftsman; the crunching, handcuffed Butler, who has telekinetic powers; an unseen monster that lives under a large sea of garbage; and the Pretender (also called the Mistress), a young gray-haired girl, who is the owner of the Nest. Upon reaching the first floor, the Girl accidentally breaks one of the Pretender's dolls made from the bodies of the captured children, leading the Pretender to yell for the Butler as she runs out of the Nest. The Girl is then chased out of the Nest by the Butler and with Six's help, escapes into a shed on the other side of the island, but unknowingly locks Six out, mistaking her for the Butler. The Girl finds the Pretender crying over the doll that the Girl broke, who, upon seeing the Girl, gives chase. At one point, the Girl saves Six from falling down a cliff. The Girl is then cornered by the Pretender, but is saved when Six drops a boulder on her pursuer. The Pretender, who was unharmed by the boulder's impact, leaps at the Girl, causing them both to fall into the ocean where they presumably drown. The story ends with the Girl's raincoat emerging from the ocean and Six climbing down the island to escape. It is implied that Six recovered the Girl's raincoat, which she later wears in Little Nightmares.

Development[edit]

The game was originally announced by Tarsier Studios in May 2014 under the title Hunger, with no known publisher for release on PlayStation 4. After a teaser trailer in February 2015, nothing was heard of the project until August 2016, when Bandai Namco Entertainment announced that they had entered into a worldwide publishing agreement with Tarsier for the project, which was now re-titled Little Nightmares.[8]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
MetacriticPC: 81/100[9]
PS4: 78/100[10]
XONE: 83/100[11]
NS: 79/100[12]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid8.5/10[13]
Game Informer9/10[14]
Game Revolution3.5/5 stars[15]
GameSpot8/10[16]
GamesRadar+4/5 stars[17]
IGN8.8/10[18]
PC Gamer (US)78/100[19]
Polygon8.5/10[20]
VideoGamer.com9/10[21]

Little Nightmares received "generally positive" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[9][10][11][12]

Cory Arnold said on Destructoid "Little Nightmares hypnotized me with ever-present suspense," and awarded it a score of 8.5/10.[13]

Jonathan Leack from Game Revolution gave the game a score of 3 out of 5 stars saying that "Little Nightmares appears to have a double meaning. On one hand, the gameplay is a nightmare, regularly testing your patience and will to push forward. On the other, the atmosphere and audio design prove terrifying in a way that horror fiends will admire. There's an equal amount of qualities to like and dislike, but when it comes down to it Little Nightmares succeeds at delivering on its promise of being an interesting horror game unlike anything else."[15]

Sam Prell of GamesRadar+ awarded it 4 out of 5 stars stating that "At times mechanically clumsy, but artistically sound, Little Nightmares might get on your nerves every once in awhile, but its imagery will burrow into your brain and never leave."[17]

Joe Skrebels's score of 8.8/10 on IGN said that "gleefully strange, unceasingly grim, and quietly smart, Little Nightmares is a very welcome fresh take on horror."[18]

"An okay platformer but a deeply imaginative horror game, Little Nightmares is worth playing for its array of disturbing imagery," was Samuel's Roberts's conclusion on PC Gamer with a score of 78/100.[19]

Whitney Reynolds gave Little Nightmares an 8.5/10 score on Polygon with the consensus: "Little Nightmares worked its way into my dreams because it's just bright enough, just safe enough to make me let my guard down. The game isn’t always successful at balancing some game design fundamentals. But when the lights went out, it left me remembering that, really, I'm just a small thing in a dangerous world myself. Also, that monsters with big long grabby arms are really, really creepy."[20]

Alice Bell's 9/10 score on VideoGamer.com stated that "Little Nightmares is frightening, in a way that gets under your skin. A way that whispers in your ear that you won't sleep well tonight. Little Nightmares takes things you were afraid of when you were a kid, and reminds you you're still afraid now."[21]

The company "obviously had many ideas on things we'd still like to explore".[22]

Eurogamer ranked the game 28th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017",[23] and GamesRadar+ ranked it 20th on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017,[24] while Polygon ranked it 27th on their list of the 50 best games of 2017.[25] It was nominated for "Best Platformer" and "Best Art Direction" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards.[26][27]

Sales[edit]

The game debuted at #4 on the UK all-format sales chart in its first week.[28] The Complete Edition sold 12,817 copies within its first week in Japan, placing it at #15 on the all-format sales chart.[29] As of August 2018, the game has sold over one million copies across all platforms.[30]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2016 Gamescom 2016 Indie Award Won [31]
2017 Develop Awards New Games IP Nominated [32]
Golden Joystick Awards Best Visual Design Nominated [33]
Best Audio Nominated
2018 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Nominated [34][35]
Emotional Games Awards 2018 Best Emotional Music Nominated [36]
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Animation, Artistic Nominated [37][38]
Art Direction, Contemporary Nominated
Game Design, New IP Nominated
Lighting/Texturing Nominated
Original Dramatic Score, New IP Nominated
Use of Sound, New IP Nominated

Other media[edit]

Television series[edit]

Dmitri M. Johnson and Stephan Bugaj of DJ2 Entertainment announced that they will be producing a television adaptation of Little Nightmares. The series will also involve Anthony and Joe Russo and the pilot will be directed by Henry Selick.[39]

Comic books[edit]

Little Nightmares had a four issue tie-in comic,[40] written by John Shackleford and penciled by Aaron Alexovitch, and published by Titan Comics.[41] Two issues were released both in hard and digital copies. A hardcover graphic novel of the first two issues was released at the end of October 2017.[42][43] The third and fourth issues have been cancelled.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Copeland, Wesley (18 January 2017). "Creepy Platformer Little Nightmares Gets a Release Date". IGN. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  2. ^ Goslin, Austen. "Little Nightmares 2 announced at Gamescom 2019". Polygon. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  3. ^ Torfe, Pat (July 10, 2017). "Return To 'Little Nightmares' In "The Depths" DLC!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  4. ^ Donnelly, Joe (July 10, 2017). "Little Nightmares The Hideaway DLC out now, next chapter out February". PC Gamer. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  5. ^ @LittleNights (February 5, 2018). "The next chapter will be released on February 23. It's less than 20 days away, now..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ @LittleNights (November 4, 2017). "The Hideaway – Chapter 2 from Secrets of The Maw, the expansion pass of #littlenightmares. Available next week!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Wales, Matt (2019-04-10). "Darkly adorable horror platformer Little Nightmares is getting a prequel on iOS". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  8. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (11 August 2016). "Bandai Namco picks up evocative horror game Hunger, rebrands it Little Nightmares". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Little Nightmares: Complete Edition for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b Arnold, Cory (21 April 2017). "Review: Little Nightmares". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  14. ^ Cork, Jeff (25 April 2017). "A Grotesque Tale That Plays Off The Familiar - Little Nightmares - PC". Game Informer. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  15. ^ a b Leack, Jonathan (26 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  16. ^ Espineli, Matt (28 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  17. ^ a b Prell, Sam (27 April 2017). "Little Nightmares review: 'Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away, if Spirited Away was grotesque and horrifying.'". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  18. ^ a b Skrebels, Joe (26 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". IGN. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  19. ^ a b Robert, Samuel (24 April 2017). "Little Nightmares review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  20. ^ a b Reynolds, Whitney (21 April 2017). "Little Nightmares review". Polygon. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  21. ^ a b Bell, Alice (21 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  22. ^ THR staff (30 May 2017). "'Little Nightmares' Lead Designers on Studio Ghibli Influence and a Possible Sequel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  23. ^ Eurogamer staff (28 December 2017). "Eurogamer's Top 50 Games of 2017: 30-21". Eurogamer. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  24. ^ GamesRadar staff (22 December 2017). "The best games of 2017". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  25. ^ Polygon staff (18 December 2017). "The 50 best games of 2017". Polygon. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best Platformer". IGN. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best Art Direction". IGN. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  28. ^ Dring, Christopher (30 April 2017). "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is Nintendo's first UK No.1 since 2011". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  29. ^ Romano, Sal (June 13, 2018). "Media Create Sales: 6/4/18 – 6/10/18". Gematsu. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  30. ^ Arif, Shabana (August 16, 2018). "Little Nightmares Sells 1 Million Copies". IGN. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  31. ^ "Best of Gamescom 2016 Winners Selected by Gamescom Committee". The Video Game Librarian. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  32. ^ Cleaver, Sean (12 May 2017). "Develop Awards 2017: The Finalists". MCV. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  33. ^ Gaito, Eri (13 November 2017). "Golden Joystick Awards 2017 Nominees". Best in Slot. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  34. ^ Makuch, Eddie (14 January 2018). "Game Of The Year Nominees Announced for DICE Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  35. ^ Makuch, Eddie (22 February 2018). "Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Wins Game Of The Year At DICE Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  36. ^ "Emotional Games Awards 2018". Emotional Games Awards. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  37. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  38. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  39. ^ Kit, Borys (12 June 2017). "The Russo Brothers Adapting Video Game 'Little Nightmares' for TV (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  40. ^ Bell, Alice (February 15, 2017). "Little Nightmares is getting a comic mini-series". Video Gamer. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  41. ^ Mueller, Matthew (April 11, 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: Little Nightmares #1 Reveals First Interior Art". Comic Book.com. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  42. ^ "Little Nightmares Vol.1". titan-comics.com. October 31, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  43. ^ "Little Nightmares Hardcover – October 31, 2017". Amazon.com. October 31, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.

External links[edit]