Little Nightmares (PlayStation 4) Review

By Adam Riley 10.08.2017 2

Review for Little Nightmares on PlayStation 4

The best atmospheric thrillers normally tend to be extremely slow-paced, reining players in before throwing something jump-worthy at them. However, more often than not the balance between random slow exploration, intense scares, and actual enjoyable gameplay is not always achieved. Bandai Namco and Tarsier Studios attempt to rectify this with Little Nightmares, which has already received glowing praise in its PC and Xbox One formats. Cubed3 head back to see how the game fares now, a few months after release, this time on PlayStation 4.

Little Nightmares is so confusing at first, but amazingly atmospheric right from the off to make up for it - visually and aurally - with dark, dank locales and minimal use of music to great effect, giving a strong sense of isolation and ramping up the tension levels considerably. Other than bare minimum in terms of explaining the core controls, nothing else is explained, leaving those in control to discover the purpose of the strange goings on during the journey ahead.

A small child in a yellow coat is controlled, running around (stumbling at times, and even struggling with pangs of hunger…) what seems to be some underground industrial facility, squeezing through ventilation shafts and iron railings, dodging around discarded paraphernalia (mountains of shoes, being one of the weirder examples), and encountering weird sights, like strange beings that look like mini-tents with legs, as well as numerous disturbing visions. Expect to see things like legs dangling from an out-of-shot upper body hanging from the ceiling, deformed beings with long pincer-like arms, random pieces of raw meat lying about with blood stains nearby, obese guests scoffing their faces and chasing the kid at the merest of sounds made, trying to capture and devour the little 'un, and even a sinister Geisha figure that appears every now and then in the background, to name but a mere handful of the creepy elements that are witnessed.

Screenshot for Little Nightmares on PlayStation 4

The aim is clearly to keep people guessing, and Little Nightmares does indeed do a great job of hitting that goal, mixing in extremely tense moments of being chased or quickly having to dodge oncoming flailing arms, for instance, and even including some clever platform-puzzle elements to up the skill requirements (timed jumps, moving objects around rooms, hide-and-sneak sections, and so on). There are times where the hooded lead will not grab a ledge as desired, or run into an object that did not seem quite as close by as it really was due to the lower camera angle, and navigating narrow pipes or wooden slats with the camera then zoomed out can be an exercise in patience as one tiny wrong move and its either drop to your death and back to the previous checkpoint again, or down to the previous area to complete a tough task again, slowly climbing back up. It is by no means the perfect game, yet the cracks are well and truly smoothed over by how engrossing the action is, and that desire to figure out the reasoning for all of the eerie happenings. Also, though, checkpoints are very useful, and not far apart enough to cause much frustration from any control foibles, thankfully.

As Little Nightmares progresses, it becomes apparent that there are lots of little secrets to uncover, plus collectibles to gain, making for a need to explore more diligently rather than just attempting to dash past enemies or traps, and, thus, it becomes a greater test. The slow pace is still required at times, but mainly to sneak by the large, scary-looking 'human' monsters before having to grab a key item (sometimes even…a key!) and then making a dash for the next area. Some of the scenarios later on will have people tearing their hair out, but it falls on the side of satisfying when complete, as opposed to giving up in a huff.

Screenshot for Little Nightmares on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

A wonderful atmospheric ride that can be powered through in just over an hour if dashing by everything along the way, but it will actually keep the majority of gamers plugging away for a few hours longer as the timed-puzzles and conundrums found within this thrilling escapade, complete with platform challenges to add to the already high tension levels, and extras to uncover, provide plenty of entertainment. There are moments where the controls let it down slightly, or the camera angle is not ideal, or even a combination of the two in places, but these are mere blips, with the meat of the adventure - the scary heart of Little Nightmares - tasty enough for all palettes.

Developer

Tarsier Studios

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

i loved this game, but man does it come to close really fast.

I think I just suck at games nowadays Smilie And I also get distracted easily, so perhaps if I'd just sat down and powered through I'd have not taken about four hours Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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