Reviews - Updated on April 15, 2022

When you discuss games like Little Nightmares with someone, all the arguments of the interlocutor in their semantic extract look like “mi-mi-mi”. No, you can’t find cats and Pokemon here. But there is an infantile style, fabulous graphics, a slender main character and local inhabitants with mushroom heads scattered to the sides. In such an atmosphere of kindness and fairy tale mechanics, limited to the S and F keys, would already be a nice addition to the touching art.Little Nightmares обзор

The role of the eternally hiding gnomes is still unclear.

“Don’t lie on the edge…”

Little Nightmares builds the world of childhood: music, interiors, even fonts give off something infantile. This is a world where everything is good. However, in order to enjoy such an entourage for longer than the average duration of a “cute” YouTube video, you need to add something extravagant. And Tarsier Studios does just that. In such a fabulous world, developers are releasing real evil. At the same time, the environment remains pretty, as before. The heroine does not get a chainsaw in her hands, she does not even have anyone to ask for help. As if you saw your favorite hamster surrounded by predatory cats. And he, knowing nothing, runs and runs on his own wheel… Breaking the pattern, cognitive dissonance, clash of opposites – this is what the concept of Little Nightmares is all about.

Basically, Little Nightmares is a puzzle platformer with horror elements. Only now, looking at the design inspired by INSIDE and LIMBO, I really don’t want to talk about it. Local contrasts are too captivatingly unusual: a thin heroine in a yellow cape and a huge ugly chef; creepy dark corridors and a kind lullaby; the atmosphere of a fairy tale and piercing every frame of suspense. Something similar managed to shoot Guillermo del Toro (Guillermo del Toro) in his “Pan’s Labyrinth” – horror through the prism of children’s eyes combined reality and fiction, opening up scope for interpreting events.

The ambiguity of the storyline is also characteristic of Little Nightmares. The facts are as follows: somewhere under the water, some girl finds herself in some kind of little world, stuffed to the eyeballs with everything that ordinary kids ask their parents to keep the lights on at night. Are the events real, or is it a metaphorical depiction of childhood fears? The developers in every possible way refuse to give any comments on this matter. Like, you yourself will understand everything in the process. Or maybe you don’t understand: the plot will allow several interpretations. Even among the authors there is no consensus about the story – each of them makes a game, starting from their ideas about children’s fears.

Little Nightmares обзор

You can admire the contrast of light and shadows for a very long time.

In terms of gameplay, everything is much more straightforward and understandable to everyone. Can’t reach the doorknob due to being small? Solve the “puzzle” with the chest. Are you walking through a dark room and feel goosebumps running through your body? Turn on the lighter. See the huge cook with the skin the color of boiled squid? That’s right, it’s time to take on stealth.

And here again there is a sense of contradiction. On the one hand, the situation is very interesting and frighteningly beckoning. But in fact, you don’t have to do almost anything: you slowly crawl behind the cook, sit under the cabinet, and move on. Nothing causes difficulties, the fat cook now and then hangs in one place, clearing the way for the heroine. And yet, despite the simplicity, there is a feeling that you have done something complicated, and when the monster is already chopping the carrot behind, you can finally exhale with relief.

Choke in a cooker

The developers say: “We create non-linear locations so that each player goes through this fragment in his own way.” Indeed, the kitchen is large – you can climb under any table and bypass the enemy in absolutely any direction. You can even make fun of the fat poor fellow – whistle behind his back or play, showing himself to the grunt in the eyes, and then running away and hiding somewhere. He mumbles something offended and continues his culinary business. Even if the heroine is caught, we will not see any bloody scenes. However, this is quite logical – the children’s fear of being caught by some monster lies precisely in this “being caught”, and not in its consequences.

The trouble is that when you start experimenting with AI, the illusion of a scary fairy tale melts away – you are left face to face with monotonous gameplay and very poor mechanics. The same goes for puzzles. You need to make a rope so that you can get to the next location on it, like on a bungee. You are immediately captivated by the non-standard approach of designers – the rope will have to be made from sausages, twisting someone’s carcasses in a meat grinder. In fact, it is difficult to even name the problem as such. The solution is simple – go to the floor above and load the material into the meat grinder, and then pull the lever.

Little Nightmares обзор

The choice is simple: in the pot or under the pot?

The fairy tale tells, but the deed is done

But the creepy and funny surreal setting fully justifies what is happening, and you understand that if the developers made some elements more complicated or tricky, everything would go wrong. Here you get pleasure not from some kind of fuss, but from being in this suspiciously uncomfortable and at the same time pleasant place. Let the terrible tale be told without stopping.

The design work is great. There will be no dialogue in the game, no notes and diaries. Wandering through the somnambulistic world, the heroine builds her own narrative and her own emotional perception of what is happening for everyone.

However, as I said, if the demonstrated fragment is repeated over and over again, then all the feelings caused by the atmosphere melt away, and under them there remains a harsh “casual” truth. It is clear that in practice no one will play hide and seek with the chef dozens of times, but there is a danger that the scene will change, but the action itself will not.

When asked how this fragment characterizes the gameplay of the entire game, the developers honestly answered that it is quite complete. That is, further we are expected by toothless puzzles and goose walking behind enemy backs. No new gameplay “chips”, no more or less difficult tasks. The total number of monsters is minimal – even with this cook we will have to meet more than once.

Little Nightmares обзор

Let the first person who says it’s a boy throw a shoe at him. And not alone.

***

We, the children of deconstruction, know very well that neither in games, nor in art, nor in any creative field in general, there is something that would necessarily be inherent in it. A movie without a plot? Yes please. Games without gameplay? They didn’t surprise me. Therefore, concerns about Little Nightmares are purely hypothetical. Its success depends on the answer to the question: can the sparse narrative chosen by the developers with imitation of the gameplay keep the atmosphere throughout the story?

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