Little Nightmares, developed by Tarsier, has had an interesting marketing campaign. It’s been one of those games that has crept in and out of the media focus. Each time we saw it, it was that same scene. The horrific troll – like chef, looming over his desk dicing up god knows what to add to his broth. As a tiny raincoat-wearing victim of this nightmare, we must sneak our way through the room. Or else become part of this broth ourselves.
Aside From Trailer Snippets, Tarsier Aren’t Giving Much Away Until Release Day
Despite seeing the same scene showcased time and again at event after event, Little Nightmares maintains an air of curiosity. A kind of Tim Burton fairytale for kids that are a little tougher skinned than most. Or the deceptive kind of surreal world seen in Pan’s Labyrinth. It is something that presents itself as cartoonish and playful but carries itself as something truly adult and dark. Playing this same sequence at EGX, the level starts with our little raincoat wearing lass, Six, curled up on the floor, crying. Dark.
Other trailers for Little Nightmares showcase a variety of weird and creepy lost souls to avoid. They all live in this nightmare-scape housed in a mysterious vessel at sea, called The Maw. As the top pokes out, it looks like something rummaged from a steampunk drawer mixed with the art deco influences of Bioshock. It was time to find the developer and have a chat about this…
Sadly, Tarsia was not present at the game stand in EGX. The game’s publishers, Bandai Namco, were there looking after proceedings. Speaking to them revealed Tarsia and its staff were over in Sweden. With that, it was time for a hands on with Little Nightmares to see exactly how it handled.
The Little Nightmares Control Scheme Will Not Spoonfeed You The Game
This day and age, it has become unusual not to have an “auto-grab” function in platformers. In the case of this one, brain must be engaged for starters, to simply grab ledges. This is obviously a button mapping whose primary purpose is to grab and move things for puzzles. Certainly not a bad thing as, having to grab things manually immediately shows the player this is not a hand-holding game. If you’re tired of those kinds of mechanics in games, Little Nightmares could be for you.
Unlike my first interview at EGX, Forgotton Anne, Little Nightmares will not have light puzzle elements with a heavy story focus. So much as the other way around. This game will have you figuring out puzzles without hints and tips messages popping up on the screen. Save for the occasional tutorial that may give something away.
Puzzles Are Intelligently Crafted And Have Their Place Within The Game World
The puzzle at the demo involved grinding meat into sausages in order to create a swing over to the next area. Thematically fitting these puzzles into the game reminded me of Inside or Limbo. Indeed the dark indie puzzler seems to be taking off in full swing now. According to Bandai Namco, Little Nightmares is a triple I game, not a triple A… (the I referencing “indie”). A new phrase to bear in mind.
After having played a little segment, it was clear to see that Little Nightmares is not messing around. It is surprisingly dark, disturbing, unsettling and in equal parts charming. That makes for one intriguing game and is likely the aesthetic that has kept me curious all along. Little Nightmares releases for PS4 at lower than normal asking price on April 28th. You can check out their home page right here.