Little Nightmares

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Little Nightmares
Little Nightmares Box Art.png
Developer(s) Tarsier Studios
Publisher(s) Bandai Namco Entertainment
Producer(s) Henrik Larsson
Oscar Wemmert
Emma Mellander
Designer(s) Dennis Talajic=
Programmer(s) Niklas Hansson
Mattias Ottvall
Artist(s) Per Bergman
Composer(s) Tobias Lilja
Engine Unreal 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, but criticism was aimed at the game's checkpoint system and short length.

Synopsis[edit]

Launch trailer

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 the runaway children. 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 is 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[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[2], the second in November 2017 and the last in February 2018.[3][4]

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 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 Hideaway[edit]

The second DLC chapter is titled "The Hideaway" and features the Kid and the Nomes.[5] 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 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 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.

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.[6]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(PC) 81/100[7]
(PS4) 78/100[8]
(XONE) 83/100[9]
(NS) 79/100[10]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid8.5/10[11]
Game Informer9/10[12]
Game Revolution3.5/5 stars[13]
GameSpot8/10[14]
GamesRadar+4/5 stars[15]
IGN8.8/10[16]
PC Gamer (US)78/100[17]
Polygon8.5/10[18]
VideoGamer.com9/10[19]

Little Nightmares received "generally positive" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[7][8][9][20]

Cory Arnold said on Destructoid "Little Nightmares hypnotized me with ever-present suspense," and awarded it a score of 8.5/10.[11]

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."[13]

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."[15]

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."[16]

"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.[17]

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."[18]

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."[19]

The company "obviously had many ideas on things we'd still like to explore."[21]

Eurogamer ranked the game 28th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017",[22] and GamesRadar+ ranked it 20th on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017,[23] while Polygon ranked it 27th on their list of the 50 best games of 2017.[24] It was nominated for "Best Platformer" and "Best Art Direction" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards.[25][26]

Sales[edit]

The game debuted at #4 on the UK all-format sales chart in its first week.[27] The Complete Edition sold 12,817 copies within its first week in Japan, placing it at #15 on the all-format sales chart.[28] As of August 2018, the game has sold over one million copies across all platforms. [29]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2016 Gamescom 2016 Indie Award Won [30]
2017 Develop Awards New Games IP Nominated [31]
Golden Joystick Awards Best Visual Design Nominated [32]
Best Audio Nominated
2018 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Nominated [33][34]
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Animation, Artistic Nominated [35][36]
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.[37]

Comic books[edit]

Little Nightmares had a four issue tie-in comic,[38] written by John Shackleford and penciled by Aaron Alexovitch, and published by Titan Comics.[39] 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.[40][41] The third and fourth issues are pending.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Copeland, Wesley (18 January 2017). "Creepy Platformer Little Nightmares Gets a Release Date". IGN. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Torfe, Pat (July 10, 2017). "Return To 'Little Nightmares' In "The Depths" DLC!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  3. ^ Donnelly, Joe (July 10, 2017). "Little Nightmares The Hideaway DLC out now, next chapter out February". PC Gamer. Retrieved November 10, 2017. 
  4. ^ @LittleNights (February 5, 2018). "The next chapter will be released on February 23. It's less than 20 days away, now..." (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  5. ^ @LittleNights (November 4, 2017). "The Hideaway – Chapter 2 from Secrets of The Maw, the expansion pass of #littlenightmares. Available next week!" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  6. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (11 August 2016). "Bandai Namco picks up evocative horror game Hunger, rebrands it Little Nightmares". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacriticdate=28 April 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Little Nightmares for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  10. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/game/switch/little-nightmares-complete-edition
  11. ^ a b Arnold, Cory (21 April 2017). "Review: Little Nightmares". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  12. ^ Cork, Jeff (25 April 2017). "A Grotesque Tale That Plays Off The Familiar - Little Nightmares - PC". Game Informer. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Leack, Jonathan (26 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  14. ^ Espineli, Matt (28 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ a b Skrebels, Joe (26 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". IGN. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Robert, Samuel (24 April 2017). "Little Nightmares review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Reynolds, Whitney (21 April 2017). "Little Nightmares review". Polygon. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Bell, Alice (21 April 2017). "Little Nightmares Review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  20. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/game/switch/little-nightmares-complete-edition
  21. ^ THR staff (30 May 2017). "'Little Nightmares' Lead Designers on Studio Ghibli Influence and a Possible Sequel". The Hollywood Reports. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  22. ^ Eurogamer staff (28 December 2017). "Eurogamer's Top 50 Games of 2017: 30-21". Eurogamer. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  23. ^ GamesRadar staff (22 December 2017). "The best games of 2017". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  24. ^ Polygon staff (18 December 2017). "The 50 best games of 2017". Polygon. Retrieved 12 February 2018. 
  25. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best Platformer". IGN. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  26. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best Art Direction". IGN. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  27. ^ Dring, Christopher (30 April 2017). "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is Nintendo's first UK No.1 since 2011". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  28. ^ Romano, Sal (June 13, 2018). "Media Create Sales: 6/4/18 – 6/10/18". Gematsu. Retrieved July 29, 2018. 
  29. ^ http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/08/16/little-nightmares-sells-1-million-copies
  30. ^ "Best of Gamescom 2016 Winners Selected by Gamescom Committee". The Video Game Librarian. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  31. ^ Cleaver, Sean (12 May 2017). "Develop Awards 2017: The Finalists". The Market for Computer & Video Games. Retrieved 4 September 2018. 
  32. ^ Gaito, Eri (13 November 2017). "Golden Joystick Awards 2017 Nominees". Best in Slot. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  33. ^ Makuch, Eddie (14 January 2018). "Game Of The Year Nominees Announced for DICE Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  34. ^ 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. 
  35. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  36. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  37. ^ Kit, Borys (12 June 2017). "The Russo Brothers Adapting Video Game 'Little Nightmares' for TV (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  38. ^ Bell, Alice (February 15, 2017). "Little Nightmares is getting a comic mini-series". Video Gamer. Retrieved July 2, 2017. 
  39. ^ Mueller, Matthew (April 11, 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: Little Nightmares #1 Reveals First Interior Art". Comic Book.com. Retrieved July 2, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Little Nightmares Vol.1". titan-comics.com. October 31, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Little Nightmares Hardcover – October 31, 2017". Amazon.com. October 31, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]