|Publisher||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|release date||April 2017|
Fairy tales are different. These are not only simple bright stories designed for children’s perception. They can be dark and strange, with an unpleasant chill of creepy secrets. This is the story Little Nightmares tells us.
A little girl named Six woke up in a strange place. She is in a dark labyrinth inside the ship “Mamb”, filled with strange things and no less strange creatures. Moving through the intricacies of the interior, she moves towards terrible revelations and dangers.
The story is revealed through a journey presented in a platformer format. The sixth makes her way through the gloomy corridors and holes, weakly dispersing the darkness with the light of her lighter. Overcoming simple obstacles, opening doors and interacting with objects, we simultaneously move forward along the story line, getting to know the “Womb” and its inhabitants.
The first difficulties are simple – dodge the slugs, move the suitcase to jump up and climb into the passage, press the lever. Somewhere the solution is obvious, somewhere you need to carefully examine the available premises. Sometimes a quick reaction is needed to navigate a time-limited situation. Our journey may be interrupted by falls from a great height, and in the worst case, we will be incinerated by an eye looking for a victim. Up to a certain point, everything resembles a gloomy lonely journey, where someone’s eerie presence is only noticeable.
But encountering monsters is inevitable. Watching the hunter’s traps, we will invariably stumble upon the hunter himself, as a result of which an intense game of cat and mouse will begin. Further there will be new meetings and new troubles. Humanoid grotesque creatures with all their appearance evoke disgust and an unpleasant sensation from their mere presence in the background. They will look for a tiny girl, and she, like a mouse, will scour in search of loopholes and hide in secluded places.
Little Nightmares builds on classic 2D platforming mechanics, but with the ability to move in 3D. Thanks to this, the heroine can move freely within the allocated “corridor”, go around the hunters and find quiet places to sit out. To do this, you will have to climb shelves and furniture, hide under tables and use other interior elements. If the pursuer is alert, then you need to wait for a good moment to move from one cover to another without getting into the field of view. As a trick, you can use a distracting throw of an item to create extra noise.
The level design does a good job of hinting at what items you can climb. Only sometimes it takes trial and error to find the way. An extra deviation from the obvious route will lead to some secret room with a collectible figurine, which will only make the journey through the Maw more interesting.
A game of hide and seek can be combined with a search from an important element. In one place it is a handle for a mechanism, in another situation it is the key to the next room. All this without unnecessary long searches, within the framework of a single adventure. Even if the situation develops in such a way that you need to operate in several rooms and move between floors, then finding a solution will not be burdensome and difficult.
Different actions logically complement each other and line up in one narrative thread. The story is revealed through visual images without any dialogue. The world of the “Womb” is known through observation of how and by what its abodes live. A little girl in a yellow cloak finds herself in a strange world with creepy giants. This world is like a single whole mechanism, the purpose of which is revealed as the game progresses. Making her way through a living colossus of steel and abomination, the girl finds something new in herself. And this new inner feeling is not filled with the warmth and light of a happy ending, it is a gloomy reflection of the local reality, which leads to an unexpected denouement.
The oppressive visual atmosphere is complemented by appropriate music and background noises. Thanks to the Unreal Engine 4, the picture looks pretty and pleasant, despite the low lighting of many locations.
You can complain about intensive post-processing, because of which the clarity of perception of dark scenes suffers. Also, when changing the resolution, the game does not scale the image, simply expanding the visible area, and playing with a small heroine in 2560×1440 or 3840×2160 mode is not so convenient.
Within its genre, the game can be compared to Inside and Limbo, but this is a completely original story. Little Nightmares is a great dark adventure that is a breeze to play. The game is constantly evolving, building new situations and surprising us all the way. The gameplay is organically integrated into the narrative narrative, and the story is revealed through interaction with the game world and through its visual perception. This is a dark fairy tale with frightening grotesque images and a terrible meaning, because our whole journey turns into an unexpected ending. If you haven’t played Little Nightmares yet, be sure to take the time to play.