Little Nightmares will tide you over until Playdead’s next title
Tarsier Studios’s Little Nightmares will delight fans of the ominous Inside.
We got a chance to play through around 30 minutes with the upcoming puzzle-platformer Little Nightmares for from developer Tarsier Studios and publisher Bandai Namco.
Up until now, Tarsier Studios has been known mostly for its work on the DLC for Little Big Planet 2 and 3, the PS Vita version of Little Big Planet and the PS4 version of Tearaway, Tearaway: Unfolded. When Little Nightmares releases in April, we’ve got a feeling Tarsier will become more known for its very own ominous title.
Our hands-on with Little Nightmares took place through two seemingly unrelated rooms. The first was in a grimy kitchen, where we were forced to stealthily avoid the gaze of a rubbery dysmorphic chef, who would terrifyingly wail like a confused child if it spotted the faceless protagonist, Six. In the second, our quiet trench-coated hero was plunged into a sea of shoes where something sinister swims under the surface. Our demo ended a moment before we discover who or what lurked below the surface.
Both situations elicit the same response: “What the hell am I seeing here?”
Little Nightmares feels like a game directed by Henry Selick that people incorrectly credit Tim Burton for. Its stop motion animation, grim colour palette and disproportionate characters wouldn’t feel out of place in Coraline or The Nightmare Before Christmas. To a lesser extent, the same could be said about Limbo and Inside but that’s not the only reason Playdead fans will enjoy Little Nightmares.
What we’ve seen so far of Little Nightmares' gameplay is reminiscent of Limbo and Inside’s puzzle-based 2D side-scrolling. While you technically move around on a 3D plane in Little Nightmares you’re constantly being pushed forward to an adjacent area in the game’s twisted locale, the Maw. Just like the two Playdead titles mentioned, Little Nightmare’s core gameplay mechanics are rather simple. You can jump, crouch, grab, climb and activate a zippo lighter. The few puzzles we experienced consisted of lots of pulling levers and moving objects to activate switches and open doors. It’s painfully simple gameplay that still lends itself to some interesting and challenging puzzles, which is kind of what we loved about Inside.
There’s so much more we want to know about Little Nightmares. How did Six end up in the living hell of Maw? What is Six? What swims beneath the surface of the sea of soles? We can’t wait to find out.
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