Little Nightmares

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Little Nightmares
Little Nightmares Box Art.png
Developer(s)Tarsier Studios[a]
Publisher(s)Bandai Namco Entertainment
Producer(s)
  • Henrik Larsson
  • Oscar Wemmert
  • Emma Mellander
Designer(s)
  • Dennis Talajic
  • Asger Kristiansen
Programmer(s)Mattias Ottvall
Artist(s)
  • Per Bergman
  • Christer Johansson
  • Sebastian Bastian
Writer(s)Dave Mervik
Composer(s)Tobias Lilja
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)
Release
  • Win, PS4, Xbox One
  • 28 April 2017[1]
  • Nintendo Switch
  • 18 May 2018
  • Stadia
  • 1 June 2020[2]
Genre(s)Puzzle-platform, survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player

Little Nightmares is a puzzle-platform horror adventure game developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Stadia. Set in a mysterious world, Little Nightmares follows the journey of Six, a hungry little girl who must escape the Maw, an iron vessel inhabited by monstrous, twisted beings. The game received positive reviews upon release with critics praising its atmosphere, graphics, and sound, while criticizing its checkpoint system and short length. A prequel,[3] Little Nightmares II, was released in February 2021.

Gameplay[edit]

Little Nightmares takes place in a 2.5D world. The player traverses the world through various platformer elements, occasionally being blocked by puzzles that must be solved to proceed. The player is generally rendered helpless in their environment due to the lack of any combat abilities and must rely on stealth and the environment to hide from the various enemies. On a few occasions, the player is given tools that even the odds slightly and allow them to fight back.

Plot[edit]

Six, a nine-year-old girl in a yellow raincoat, awakens from a dream of a woman resembling a geisha. Armed with only a lighter, she sneaks through the bowels of the Maw, a massive, underwater iron vessel designed for much larger inhabitants. Throughout the Maw, she encounters several Nomes, small, skittish creatures that either flee from her or passively observe her efforts. She has the option to hug the Nomes, should she get close to one. In the Prison, where captured children are held, Six evades the carnivorous Leeches that infest its depths and artificial eyes that will turn her to stone if she is caught in their lights. Six also regularly experiences debilitating bouts of hunger; whenever she eats, a shadowy, flickering version of herself appears. After eating some bread offered by an imprisoned child, Six is captured by the blind, long-armed Janitor when he lures her into a cage with a piece of meat. She escapes but makes no effort to help the other captured children. She falls into a room filled with piles of shoes and evades the unseen monster burrowing underneath. The Janitor eventually corners Six, and she severs his arms with a collapsing door.

Caught by another bout of hunger, Six is forced to eat a live rat. She travels to the Kitchen, where children wrapped up in paper are being sent. Here, the grotesque Twin Chefs are preparing a large feast and pursue Six whenever they spot her. She makes her way outside to the hull of the Maw, above the ocean waves. Scaling the hull, Six witnesses a procession of obese, suited Guests marching into the Maw from their vessel. They lumber into the Japanese-style Guest Area, where they gorge themselves with food. The feast is overseen by the mysterious Lady, the masked, geisha-like proprietress of the Maw. Several Guests scramble after Six, but she outruns them. When she has another hunger attack, a Nome offers her a sausage. However, Six eats the Nome instead.

Six follows the Lady up into her Quarters, which are strewn with broken mirrors. Pursued by the Lady, Six finds an unbroken mirror, which she uses to repel the Lady when she tries to ambush her from the shadows. The sight of her own reflection causes the Lady pain and eventually subdues her. As the Lady lies defenseless and weakened, Six experiences a final hunger attack. She bites the Lady's neck, killing her and absorbing her magical powers. Six walks back through the Guest Area, surrounded by a dark aura. Some of the Guests try to eat her, but their lives are instantly drained by her new powers. She passes through a door and proceeds up a staircase and out into the sunlight, while all the Nomes she has hugged gather at the open doorway.

In a post-credits scene, Six waits by the entrance of the Maw while a foghorn is heard in the distance.

DLC plot[edit]

Secrets of the Maw[edit]

A trio of DLC levels that offer a "different perspective on Six’s adventures" was planned. The first one was released in July 2017,[4] the second in November 2017, and the last in February 2018.[5][6]

The Depths[edit]

A young boy, known as the Runaway Kid, wakes up from a nightmare involving him swimming in darkness before being dragged underwater. After leaving the Nursery, he follows a girl who is also fleeing, but she disappears, leaving only her flashlight behind, which the Runaway Kid takes.

The Runaway 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 Runaway 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 Runaway Kid leaves the Depths but is caught by the Janitor. The final scene shows the Runaway Kid in a cage next to other trapped children, including Six. The Janitor pulls the Runaway Kid's cage away, paralleling Six's story just before she wakes up in her cage.

The Hideaway[edit]

The Runaway Kid escapes 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. He finds an engine room where the Nomes are brought to throw coal in the furnace. After evading the Janitor and finding various Nomes, the Runaway Kid uses them to power up the furnace. The bucket elevator in the engine room becomes fully functional and lifts the Runaway Kid up to a furnace room where the Nomes are gathered, their shadows cast by the furnace's light resembling children. After leaving through a crack in the wall, the Runaway Kid finds himself on top of a rising elevator in which the Lady is standing.

The Residence[edit]

After leaving the elevator, the Runaway Kid enters the Lady's Residence. After solving a series of puzzles to find three missing statues while fighting off the Shadow Children, he finds the Lady looking at herself in a mirror, her unmasked face in the reflection revealed to be gruesome and deformed. The Lady is alerted to the Runaway Kid's presence and transforms him into a Nome. He then finds his way into the Guest Area and the room with the sausage in Six's story. The chapter ends with the Runaway Kid standing by the sausage, indicating that he is the Nome whom Six eats. When the credits for Secrets of the Maw roll, they are eventually shown to be on a television set, which shows a figure reminiscent of the Thin Man.

Development[edit]

With the game the team wanted to explore the "wild extremes" of childhood. The game's setting, the Maw, was created as a piece of concept art "where all the worst things in the world could be left to rot".[7] In keeping with the theme of childhood, the team opted against creating a powerful protagonist. While the gameplay has been described as stealth based, the team prefers to describe it as "hide and seek" feeling that even the term "stealth" gives the impression of an empowered character.[8]

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.[9] The team opted to change the name to differentiate it from The Hunger Games series thus making it easier to search for.[8]

Reception[edit]

Little Nightmares received "generally positive" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[10][11][12][13]

Cory Arnold said on Destructoid "Little Nightmares hypnotized me with ever-present suspense," and awarded it a score of 8.5/10.[14]

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."[16]

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."[18]

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."[19]

"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.[20]

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."[21]

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."[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] In May 2020, Bandai Namco announced that more than 2 million units have been sold.[31]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2016 Gamescom 2016 Indie Award Won [32]
2017 Develop Awards New Games IP Nominated [33]
Golden Joystick Awards Best Visual Design Nominated [34]
Best Audio Nominated
2018 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Nominated [35][36]
Emotional Games Awards 2018 Best Emotional Music Nominated [37]
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Animation, Artistic Nominated [38][39]
Art Direction, Contemporary Nominated
Game Design, New IP Nominated
Lighting/Texturing Nominated
Original Dramatic Score, New IP Nominated
Use of Sound, New IP Nominated

Legacy[edit]

Follow-up[edit]

In regards to a prequel, Tarsier Studios stated that they had many ideas on things they still like to explore.[40] At Gamescom 2019, Little Nightmares II was announced for a 2020 release. It features a new player character known as Mono, with Six returning as a computer-controlled character, and its story precedes the events of Little Nightmares. The prequel was released on February 11, 2021.[41]

Phone Application

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.[42]

Television series[edit]

In 2017, 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.[43]

Comic books[edit]

Little Nightmares had a four issue tie-in comic,[44] written by John Shackleford and penciled by Aaron Alexovitch, and published by Titan Comics.[45] Two issues were released both in hard and digital copies, with the last two being cancelled. A hardcover graphic novel of the first two issues was released at the end of October 2017.[46][47]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ported to Nintendo Switch by Engine Software.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Copeland, Wesley (18 January 2017). "Creepy Platformer Little Nightmares Gets a Release Date". IGN. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  2. ^ Aguilos, Pia (27 May 2020). "Little Nightmares is set to launch on Google Stadia this June".
  3. ^ Moore, Ewan. "'Little Nightmares 2' Writer Explains The Game's Horrifying Ending". gamingbible.co.uk. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  4. ^ Torfe, Pat (July 10, 2017). "Return To 'Little Nightmares' In "The Depths" DLC!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  5. ^ Donnelly, Joe (July 10, 2017). "Little Nightmares The Hideaway DLC out now, next chapter out February". PC Gamer. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  6. ^ @LittleNights (February 5, 2018). "The next chapter will be released on February 23. It's less than 20 days away, now..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Sinha, Ravi. "Little Nightmares Interview: Into The Maw". Gaming Bolt. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b Gmyrek, Roland. "Interview: Little Nightmares devs Andreas Johnsson and Dave Mervik at Gamescom 2016". Gematsu. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  9. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (11 August 2016). "Bandai Namco picks up evocative horror game Hunger, rebrands it Little Nightmares". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Little Nightmares: Complete Edition for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b Arnold, Cory (21 April 2017). "Review: Little Nightmares". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  15. ^ Cork, Jeff (25 April 2017). "A Grotesque Tale That Plays Off The Familiar - Little Nightmares - PC". Game Informer. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  16. ^ a b Leack, Jonathan (26 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  17. ^ Espineli, Matt (28 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ a b Skrebels, Joe (26 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". IGN. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  20. ^ a b Robert, Samuel (24 April 2017). "Little Nightmares review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  21. ^ a b Reynolds, Whitney (21 April 2017). "Little Nightmares review". Polygon. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  22. ^ a b Bell, Alice (21 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 21 April 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. ^ "Little Nightmares surpasses 2m units sold". Gameindustry.biz. May 27, 2020. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  32. ^ "Best of Gamescom 2016 Winners Selected by Gamescom Committee". The Video Game Librarian. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  33. ^ Cleaver, Sean (12 May 2017). "Develop Awards 2017: The Finalists". MCV. Retrieved 4 September 2018.[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ Gaito, Eri (13 November 2017). "Golden Joystick Awards 2017 Nominees". Best in Slot. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  35. ^ Makuch, Eddie (14 January 2018). "Game Of The Year Nominees Announced for DICE Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ "Emotional Games Awards 2018". Emotional Games Awards. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  38. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 9 February 2018. Archived from the original on 15 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  39. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 13 March 2018. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  40. ^ THR staff (30 May 2017). "'Little Nightmares' Lead Designers on Studio Ghibli Influence and a Possible Sequel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  41. ^ Goslin, Austen. "Little Nightmares 2 announced at Gamescom 2019". Polygon. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  42. ^ Wales, Matt (2019-04-10). "Darkly adorable horror platformer Little Nightmares is getting a prequel on iOS". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  43. ^ Kit, Borys (12 June 2017). "The Russo Brothers Adapting Video Game 'Little Nightmares' for TV (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  44. ^ Bell, Alice (February 15, 2017). "Little Nightmares is getting a comic mini-series". Video Gamer. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  45. ^ Mueller, Matthew (April 11, 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: Little Nightmares #1 Reveals First Interior Art". Comic Book.com. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  46. ^ "Little Nightmares Vol.1". titan-comics.com. October 31, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  47. ^ Shackleford, John (October 31, 2017). Little Nightmares Hardcover – October 31, 2017. ISBN 978-1785862854.

External links[edit]