An in-depth look at Tarsier studios’ unsettling new platformer

We recently got our hands on Little Nightmares, a creepy new puzzle platformer by Tarsier Studios. Here are our initial impressions on what is set to be an exceptional addition to the genre.

In Little Nightmares, you play as Six, a nine-year-old girl who has been kidnapped from her home and taken to The Maw to work. The Maw is a surreal underwater world of horrors which caters to the whims of the powerful elite.

We started Six’s journey through The Maw shut in an oversized bedroom with dark, nursery rhyme like music gently tinkling away in the background. The Maw is represented through dark palettes, as a damp shady corner of reality. As Six you feel small and insignificant, dwarfed by this giant nightmare place you now inhabit.

Six explores the world from a 3D, sidescrolling perspective in which see can jump, climb and crawl in all angles. This adds a greater dimension to the classic 2D puzzle/platform formula and is all beautifully rendered within the dark undertones Little Nightmares is trying to portray. In terms of the game’s perspective Phil Brannelly, Marketing Manager at Namco Bandai told IIG:

“It’s a side scrolling platformer with a sort of 3D feel, but it’s a sort of dollhouse perspective as well is what we’ve been labelling it as.”

Throughout her journey Six is haunted by the Maw’s grotesque enemies introducing you to the most terrifying game of hide and seek you’ve ever played. The stealth mechanics are simple and intuitive. Six can creep, sprint, slide into cover or cause distractions as she tries to avoid being cooked alive by The Maw’s terrifying inhabitants. The tension in these encounters is almost palpable, as the music takes on a more sinister tone with the creatures of The Maw releasing an unnerving screech upon detecting your presence.

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One of The Maw’s terrifying enemies ready to cook you alive.

It seems Tarsier Studios, who worked on Little Big Planet, have taken a much darker approach with Little Nightmares, a game that toys with your childhood fears and conjures the monsters you once dreamed of into reality. The Maw is that place at the edge of our conscious minds, that shadowy corner of your room as a child. This idea is at the core of Little Nightmares personality. It offers us a chance to revisit the imaginative playground of our youth by creating a rich and immersive world. It is this ability to capture and represent our primal fears that give Little Nightmares its charm. In a cathartic sense, it gives us all a chance to face some of our earliest anxieties.

“It sort of plays on your childhood fears, which is our tagline” said Phil Brannelly, Marketing Manager at Namco Bandai to IIG.

Little Nightmares will release on April 28th, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

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The Namco Bandai Little Nightmares booth at EGX Rezzed.
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