Impressions: Little Nightmares

I know there are a million reviews and op-eds about this game, however, as I did recently play/stream it I wanted to throw in my two cents. For those not in the know, Little Nightmares is a horror indie game by the studio best known for Little Big Planet. You play a young child named Six as they work their way through various obstacles.

The biggest thing that I, or anyone else, can say about Little Nightmares is that it is beautiful. It’s horrific, dark, challenging, but still beautiful. The art direction is completely solid from start to finish, and the game shines in this aesthetic. From the muted color palettes, to the horrific design of monsters, to the use of darkness, everything about this game is formulated to make an impact. On art alone, this game makes an impact. Adding to that is a minimalist soundtrack that sells the feeling completely. The music is haunting and impossible to ignore when it is used. Most of what will get you are the sounds the environment and various “enemies” make while working through the levels.

As far as gameplay is concerned the game is challenging and enjoyable. Puzzles are difficult enough to figure out that you won’t get bored, but simple enough to keep the game moving. There is a lot of dependence on timing and simply choosing the right moment to run. The enemies in the game will keep your heart racing, and I had more than my fair share of terrifying moments. I had one personal complaint about gameplay, and that is that you can move forward and backward on the field. I tend to struggle with games that appear 2D but then allow the forward and backward movements because it messes with my depth perception (I had the same issue with LBP). It wasn’t so challenging that I was unable to complete the game however and a pretty limited difficulty. Puzzles are fairly linear, you won’t find five different solutions to most problems, but this is not entirely unexpected nor a deal breaker.

If I had to make one complaint it would be less about the game itself and more a trend in the industry. Little Nightmares represents a trend by in which developers are making short but incredibly impactful games. Overall I like this, what I don’t like is that they are consistently given a $20 price tag. I would say that Little Nightmares itself stands out so much that it’s worth that price, but I am still not pleased that this is becoming the rule rather than the exception.

At the end of the day, this game just hits. It’s dark, gritty, scary, compelling, and just plain beautiful. It is a highlight and one that I would recommend to almost all gamers.

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