Little Nightmares: Complete Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 21.05.2018

Review for Little Nightmares: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch

When Little Nightmares first came out, one of its major criticisms was easily how short the adventure was. With such an imaginative world and impeccable art direction, it was hard to let it go when the final act came to a close. Then Tarsier Studios released three DLC side-story chapters over the course of several months. The Depths, The Hideaway and The Residence were much more than just gaiden content to Six's story, they turned out to be ultimately necessary to truly understand what is happening in the Maw. With a few minor tweaks and all DLC chapters, Little Nightmares: Complete Edition on Switch becomes a full-course meal.

Little Nightmares stands out from most platformer adventure games thanks to its distinct visual style and commitment to 3D gameplay. The "doll-house" approach to representing the Maw, the oppressive vessel the game takes place in, fully takes advantage of a fixed perspective in 3D. Usually games like this are just 2D and might use 3D graphics as a flourish, like Inside or Unravel. Tarsier Studios takes a bold stride in embracing full 3D space, making the environment all the more intimate as it invites the details to be interacted with. The developer's playful notion of scale is twisted and contorted in all sorts of ways to give the impression that Six and the kid really have some big stakes against them.

The way some furniture and fixtures reach up high and loom over the protagonists emphasises just how vulnerable they are and just how overbearing this world is. There is a dark whimsy to the designs that really captures the childlike wonder and fears that lie in the pit of every child's soul and the artists have captured that essence perfectly. The Maw itself is some kind of weird sea-faring vessel. Part prison, part restaurant, it also has this quality that makes it feel alive. The constant groaning of metal, steam wheezing out of cracks, and how tubes and pipes run throughout this thing like arteries or engorged veins... even though it is only seen from the inside, it feels like another character in this story.

Screenshot for Little Nightmares: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch

The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, and the devil is strong with this Switch porting of Little Nightmares. The experience of this version is very close to the other console counterparts but with the standard drawbacks that come with most conversions to lower specs. Since this was made with Unreal Engine 4, don't expect this one to hit 60 frames per second like on the PlayStation 4 Pro. The fluidity is a bit variable but is mostly stable at 30fps. This is a more languid-paced game in terms of speed and control, so the lower frame-rate won't impact the gameplay in a meaningful way. Little Nightmares's strength has always been its visuals and art, so the compromise is expected and understandable.

What is unexpected is that some effects have been removed entirely. The cloth of the long-armed-man's coat, for example; no longer has it any physics applied to it and is stiffly tied to his character rig as he moves. Some hair effects have been simplified; like the water-hag in The Depths. It is very noticeable to anyone familiar with the higher spec console versions, but anyone who is playing this for the first time will still be taken in by Tarsier Studio's craftsmanship.

Screenshot for Little Nightmares: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch

Some of the more advanced effects are still present, like the specular highlights on the metallic surfaces, photographic focus effects, and even the dense, thick smoky air is all here and accounted for. There are traces of some of these effects being dialled back a bit or are being reinterpreted but, overall, it's still the same game. The loading times are noticeably longer, though, and become annoying during some of the sequences that result in an easy death. These are the heavily scripted parts where Six or the Kid have to do a set of actions very specifically (usually under some time pressure) and failing means sitting through a pretty egregious respawn time. Get used to seeing that little eye logo (eye-con?) on the lower right hand corner of the display.

Since Little Nightmares: Complete Edition is now roughly twice as long as it was when it first launched, due in part to having a second quest... its major criticism no longer applies. The way the game's structure unfolds makes it seems like a much more logical flow of action since DLC chapters are noticeably much more difficult and longer by comparison to the much too easy and short final two chapters of Six's journey. It gives the impression that maybe the "Secret of the Maw" episodes were originally designed to be part of the core game but got shuffled around and got stuck behind a paywall. Ultimately, this is the adventure the world got and this is as complete as it ever can be until years from now it gets some kind of remaster, remix, or "reimagining."

Screenshot for Little Nightmares: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch

When Six's game ends, the developer sought to include a prompt that immediately segues into the Kid's chapters, making this feel like a much more cohesive package. This also makes the rising difficulty feel so much more natural, although it still feels like the gameplay and stages are things that Six should have been doing because it really is her story. The thing is with the Kid, is that he really is not as interesting as Six and his story really was not anything that Six's story already didn't infer, with the exception of a horribly bleak ending. It is not perfect and the Kid isn't even able to wear any of the unlockable masks, either, which is extra frustrating since his areas are the most well-realised in terms of game design and, when added together, make up roughly half the experience.

Six may get five chapters, but in actuality they still match the Kid's three because Six's chapter's four and five are unusually short and her fifth chapter is just the final boss. Her last three episodes end up feeling like one that got split up. The Kid's Secret of the Maw episodes don't have this sense of compromise where some chapters were spread thinly and it is why playing this Complete Edition is the ideal way to experience Little Nightmares at its best. What would have made the pacing perfect is if the Kid's chapters were paced out in-between Six's. This would have kept the narrative's flow intact, as well as the rising tension and game's difficulty.

Screenshot for Little Nightmares: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Little Nightmares: Complete Edition manages to do what it couldn't do when it wasn't complete: it satisfies the hunger for adventure. It is still not a game for everyone because of Tarsier Studios' complete devotion to telling a story in the most vague and dreamlike way imaginable, with no dialogue at all. It may be a bit obtuse for some people, but the intent of the developer has always been to allow the player to take what they will from the imagery and to consider it on a deeper level. Some subtle jabs at sardonic humour prevent this from ever feeling pretentious, but the bleak tone may still make this kind of hard to enjoy for some. Anyone with a passing interest in horror or those who like the idea of things that are cute and scary will love this. Most will be able to play it since it has very simple controls and even though it is much longer than when it first came out, it still does not overstay its welcome. Doing the core with the new chapters incorporated as one long story finally feels like every possibility has been seen and done with Little Nightmares.




Bandai Namco





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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 are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.