What is Little Nightmares?
Little Nightmares is a dark, brooding, horror-themed puzzle platforming game with some distinctly creepy overtones. Playing as a young girl in a yellow raincoat, it's up to you to make your way through a grim, sinister and oppressive building, solving physics based puzzles, performing some tricky platforming, and dodging the many monsters who'll try and kill you.
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How do you play Little Nightmares?
Never anything less than tense, Little Nightmares is a game strewn with puzzles, and traps that are waiting to trip you up. Whether you're rushing to get through a distant electrified door after tripping the circuit; hiding behind a dustbin as it trundles from one side of the room to another, in an attempt to stay out of sight of a petrifying eye that'll turn you to stone if it spots you for more than a split second; or pulling handles to make a crane's payload swing towards you for just long enough that you can jump on, before it starts to drift away again, this is a game that's more about puzzles than action, with a requirement for some hefty platforming skills.
With an emphasis on physics based puzzles, you'll need to keep your eyes open for things you can interact with in the environment, and use to your advantage. Whether it's chucking a cymbal playing teddy bear at a switch in a lift, pushing a block off a ledge to make a noose ride to the top of a pulley, or swinging from a chain to reach a previously out of reach platform, this is a game of survival that'll reward the observant.
How easy is Little Nightmares to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Little Nightmares is aimed squarely at the most experienced players. With an unusual control scheme (as an example, crouch is on the left trigger) and nothing in the way of a tutorial to tell you what to do, or how to get around the game's unusual world, Little Nightmares relies on you being able to pick everything up for yourself - and fast, as you'll usually learn by dying. As a dark game, both in tone and in terms of visuals, you'll need to keep your eyes thoroughly peeled for things you may be able to interact with, and experiment in each room until you figure out what you need to do, where you need to go, and how you can get there. As this is a horror game, making a mistake is often fatal, too - mistime a jump, and you'll find yourself falling to your doom; accidentally alert an enemy to your presence, and you're a goner. Enemies are also speedy, making them tricky to lose, with stealth often being your best bet. With nothing in the way of an adjustable difficulty level, no hint systems for the game's puzzles, and nothing that really flags up items that may be of interest in each room, you're on your own if you want to get out of Little Nightmares alive.
In terms of mature content, Little Nightmares contains nothing in the way of sexual content or bad language (as there's actually no dialogue here), but there is some moderate violence, and a distinctly oppressive atmosphere.
As the main character is a young girl, she's somewhat vulnerable to the game's unforgiving world. Many foes you'll encounter are ten times her size or more, and will simply grab her and squeeze her to death should you stray too close. While there's no overt gore here, the character's deaths are certainly disturbing - falling from a great height, you'll hear her bones crack as she flops to the ground; being electrocuted, she'll shake as she drops down dead, with the game doing its best to unnerve without being gory. While there is some mild blood use in the game, it's often questionable whether it's actually blood or not, often being either too dark (near black), or too light to look truly gory.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4