A couple years ago I got Little Nightmares in a Humble Bundle and it never really interested me at first. It sat in my library for probably over a year until I finally decided to give it a try, and I was extremely surprised at how much I liked it.
For the people who don’t know, Little Nightmares is a horror platformer with a somewhat cute type of art style. I say somewhat cute because somehow the devs managed to make that artstyle horrifying at the same time, instantly setting it apart from other horror games.
The short answer is that Little Nightmares is a very short game, but it’s definitely worth playing if you’re a horror enthusiast. There are a lot of reasons why this is the case, and I’ll explain them a bit more here.
I’m gonna start out by talking about the game’s horror style and why I think it works so well. A few months ago we did a podcast on Little Big Planet 2 and we discussed why it was so good. One of the things that came up was that players had a limited space to create games, so they had to think extra creatively and make use of the space available.
There have been so many platformer style horror games that I’ve loved, but a platformer seems like such an unlikely fit for making a horror game. Inside is a game that isn’t entirely horror, but manages to have a creepy atmosphere and story even with its limited platformer style.
In games like these, developers are forced to push the style to its limits and tell a story without even having a single word of spoken dialogue. The story is told by both what’s happening in the background and the challenges the player faces.
Without any speech whatsoever, Little Nightmares creates a deep backstory and a ton of lore that people still theorize about today.
The visuals and the music in Little Nightmares both help contribute to the incredibly creepy atmosphere. The story itself is dark, and has moments that can make you feel extremely uneasy.
I loved every second I spent in the dark and dreary environments, even though I felt tense wherever I went. Even after finishing the game I was still creeped out after reading some of the lore, and fully realizing how messed up the game world is.
The universe itself is dark and sometimes downright depressing, but in a way that makes you want to learn more about it. It’s very hard to explain the atmosphere in the game, so it’s best to experience it for yourself.
Little Nightmares’ gameplay isn’t too difficult, but the puzzles give a decent enough challenge. A lot of the gameplay involves running away from enemies or hiding from them, but there are puzzles in between that feel very satisfying to complete.
It’s relieving when you successfully run away from an enemy, but then they’ll drop down from the ceiling and surprise you. There aren’t any jumpscares, but there are a few moments where you might get startled by an enemy or event.
The game is actually quite short, only taking around 5 hours to beat on average. This could be a problem for most people if they have to pay a lot, so it’s best to get it on sale.