|Publisher(s)||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Genre(s)||Puzzle-platformer, survival horror|
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, but criticism was aimed at the game's checkpoint system, and short length.
A hungry little girl (whose name is 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 decides to escape the harsh confines, having regular moments of excruciating, primal-like hunger. 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 after they are killed. 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, obese, suited Guests, who lumber to the Japanese-style dining area of the Maw, overseen by the Lady, otherwise known as the Geisha, the supposed 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 inhabitants of the Maw, offers her a sausage, Six eats the Nome instead. Whenever Six eats anything, a shadow version of her appears, showing that there's something more sinister about her.
Six makes her way further upwards, entering the Lady's quarters. The Lady lives very lavishly in an elegant home with many broken mirrors throughout the rooms. Chased by the Lady, who displays magical powers, Six finds a mirror that she uses against the Lady in a battle. Defeating her, Six approaches the 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 suddenly convulse and die as Six walks on. Six approaches a large door with an eye encrusted upon it, 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
A trio of DLC levels that offer a "different perspective on Six’s adventures" were planned. The first one was released in July 2017, the second in November 2017 and the last in February 2018.
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 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 make his way 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 in the chapter The Lair when she wakes up in the cage.
The second DLC chapter is titled "The Hideaway" and features the Kid and the Nomes. 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 chapter 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, 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 the final platform, which is the top of an elevator in which the Lady is standing.
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 crying in a room, 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.
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.
Electronic Gaming Monthly's Ray Carsillo scored the game a 4/10 with the consensus "A stellar atmosphere is not enough to save such a puzzle-platformer that completely lacks any sort of challenge. While the story of Six is a sad one, it’s not for the fact that her adventure begins in a cage—but that the developer failed to find a way to make me care about it at all."
Jonathan Leack from Game Revolution gave the game a score of 3 out of 5 stars saying that "Little Nightmare 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."
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."
"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.
8.5/10 was Whitney Reynolds's 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."
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."
The company "obviously had many ideas on things we'd still like to explore."
Eurogamer ranked the game 28th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017", and GamesRadar+ ranked it 20th on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017, while Polygon ranked it 27th on their list of the 50 best games of 2017. It was nominated for "Best Platformer" and "Best Art Direction" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards.
The game debuted at #4 on the UK all-formats sales chart in its first week.
|2016||Gamescom 2016||Indie Award||Won|||
|2017||Golden Joystick Awards||Best Visual Design||Nominated|||
|2018||21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction||Nominated|||
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards||Animation, Artistic||Nominated|||
|Art Direction, Contemporary||Nominated|
|Game Design, New IP||Nominated|
|Original Dramatic Score, New IP||Nominated|
|Use of Sound, New IP||Nominated|
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.
Little Nightmares had a four issue tie-in comic, written by John Shackleford and penciled by Aaron Alexovitch, and published by Titan Comics. 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. The third and fourth issues are pending.
- Copeland, Wesley (18 January 2017). "Creepy Platformer Little Nightmares Gets a Release Date". IGN. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
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- @LittleNights (February 5, 2018). "The next chapter will be released on February 23. It's less than 20 days away, now..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- @LittleNights (November 4, 2017). "The Hideaway – Chapter 2 from Secrets of The Maw, the expansion pass of #littlenightmares. Available next week!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- Kit, Borys (12 June 2017). "The Russo Brothers Adapting Video Game 'Little Nightmares' for TV (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
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- "Little Nightmares Vol.1". titan-comics.com. October 31, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
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