In recent years, tiny independent video game developer studios have experienced an extraordinary creative upsurge. With an enviable constancy, they create an incredible depth and beauty of the game like Journey, What Remains of Edith Finch and INSIDE. The game Little Nightmares, recently released for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, continues this wonderful tradition and brings players into the atmospheric dark world full of nightmarish creatures, dangers and adventures.
The independent Swedish studio Tarsier Studios began by developing DLC for the LittleBigPlanet platform series of the Japanese publisher Sony. The quality of their work impressed the Japanese so much that the Swedish developers were entrusted with the creation of the LittleBigPlanet 3 game and also porting the Tearaway platformer from the PS Vita pocket console to the PlayStation 4. Of course, talented artists and programmers from Tarsier Studios dreamed of creating their own project in which they would Could realize unique ideas, instead of bringing to the minds of strangers. About the beginning of the development of the project Hunger ("Hunger" – English.) It became known in February 2015. The game was to become a gloomy adventure in a world full of grotesque creatures. For some time, developers were looking for a decent game for their game, which eventually became the famous Japanese company Bandai Namco. As a result, the game was decided to be renamed Little Nightmares ("Little Nightmares" – English), and the release date was set for the spring of 2017.
The game's events unfold inside the giant underwater ship The Maw ("Wart" – English). The main heroine of the game is a nine-year-old girl named "Six", dressed in a bright yellow raincoat. With him, the child has only a gasoline lighter, which she can light her way in especially dark corners of the ship. Its path lies from the lower decks of the "womb" to the upper ones, where, as it suggests, there is a way out of this nightmare to the sunlight. Moving forward, the Sixth gradually reveals the terrible secrets of the ship and gets to know its inhabitants in the face of the mysterious creatures of the Nomov (that is, without the letter "G"), the guests of the ship and the terrible attendants.
Mechanics Little Nightmares will seem familiar to many people, as it partially copies the work of the Danish studio Playdead, famous for the whole world adventure platformers Limbo and INSIDE. Before us is a three-dimensional platformer with inclusions of puzzles, based on physical interaction with objects, and stealth elements. The main character literally at every step awaits a painful death: you can break from the stairs to the abyss, be devoured by giant leeches, get caught by a terrible giant chef and so on. Our character can walk, run, crouch, sneak, bounce and grab for various objects. Small objects can be picked up and thrown, for example, into buttons that can not be reached. Large objects can be moved slowly around the location, using as a ladder or for other purposes. It should not be forgotten that the same button is responsible for grabbing a ledge or climbing a ladder.
The puzzles are uncomplicated, and their decisions are subject to logic and common sense. If you already managed to pass Limbo or INSIDE, then to cope with Little Nightmares for you will not be very difficult. A couple of times the Sixth has to hide from the giant scanners in the shape of the eye, hiding in the shadow of the scenery. This one-on-one scene reminded me of a similar puzzle from INSIDE. For such brazen copying of some ideas of developers from Tarsier can be scolded, but for the most part the game is still quite original. The only, in my opinion, its serious minus is the fact that it is sometimes extremely difficult to feel the depth of the three-dimensional scene. It seems to you that you are stepping on the bridge across the abyss, but in fact your leg is stepping slightly to the left, as a result of which the character flies into the abyss and dies. And you have to pereprohody location from the beginning. Fortunately, you gradually get used to such inconveniences and make fewer mistakes. From time to time, there are small bugs, and one day the game even hung tight (I was passing the PS4 version), but in general, these mistakes are unlikely to seriously spoil you the impression of the terrible Swedish tale.
As for the horror component, the game with this is all in perfect order. Gloomy, oppressive atmosphere, frightening suspense and anxious misunderstanding of what is happening around the little frightened girl, is gradually transferred to the player. In addition, the game offers us stealth mechanics, when we have to hide from the eyes of opponents and behave very quietly. He stepped on the broken plate, crunched and everything … Write was gone. But such opponents are easily distracted by loudly throwing on the floor different objects. Now imagine that some inhabitants of the "womb" not only see and hear you, but also feel your smell. That's where the main character will have a particularly hard time. When you are next to the threat, the Sixth is getting faster heartbeat, which is given through the feedback of the game controller in your sweating palms. There are a few scenes in Little Nightmares, when you have to run away from the monstrous creatures that pursue you – and this, damn, is really scary. I stretched myself into the string, fighting for the life of the main character. In general, the whole tension makes the game just great, which is required from a quality horror film.
Visually Little Nightmares looks wonderful. Excellent work with light, realistic textures and special effects. Graphic engine Unreal Engine 4 and talented artists put their best in this game. Such a thoroughness of the development of game locations I last saw except in the magic platformer Unravel produced by another Swedish studio Coldwood Interactive. What happens on the screen, though it looks like a terrible cartoon for adults, makes the player believe in the reality of what he sees. For the girl you will experience as if you have known her all your life. The eerie things that she will have to see during her journey through the giant ship will be put off for a long time in your memory. In one of the rooms you will see the legs of a hanged man hanging from the ceiling, and you will need to use his chair to reach the door handle. In another room, you will be horrified to find that it is filled with tiny children's shoes, and in this "shoe sea" terrible creatures swim, ready to grab and tear you.
Fans of collecting are offered to find in the game ten hidden ceramic figurines, which must be broken if you want to go through the game 100%. As I said above, in the game you will meet tiny nomas. Unlike other inhabitants of the ship "Womb", the nomas are very cowardly and run away only when they saw you from afar. Sooner or later the nomer will be driven into the corner by you, and then do not forget to hug him properly. If you hug all these tiny creatures in Little Nightmares, then for your kindness you will get a rare achivku. Along the way, do not forget to set the lights apart, here and there. Performing these simple tasks, you will get access to the conceptual illustrations of artists Tarsier Studios. You can view them in the special section of the main menu.
Separate praise deserves work with sound. In any self-respecting horror-game sound should occupy one of the central places. And in the case of Little Nightmares, the sound is simply gorgeous! But I would not advise you to take it out through the TV's speakers. The ideal option is if you stay alone at night with yourself, turn off the lights, put on your favorite headphones and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a surreal tale. Then the sea of emotions will be guaranteed to you.
Little Nightmares offers players to immerse themselves in the eerie world of children's nightmares, filled with mysterious creatures and deadly dangers. The game is incredibly short. You can go through it in just three hours. Nevertheless, the emotions received during this short gloomy adventure will repeatedly repay the money spent for the purchase of the game. Even despite the minuses I've listed, the game deserves solid 8 points out of 10 . The ending hints at the fact that the story of a girl named Sixth may have a continuation. Well, in the future I will not mind once again briefly return to this fantastic world.