Little Nightmares analysis. Masters of tension

Written by Kamran Haider

We accompany Six, a girl lost in a dark ship in the worst of her nightmares. Survival will require patience, silence, and effectiveness, while the museum of human horrors reveals what is behind its mask. Little Nightmares analysis.

The first enemy of Little Nightmares probably you have not seen in the trailers. It is not that repulsive cook or that terrifying being with long arms that pursues us incessantly. It is a slug. A black slug that falls from the ground and crawls to try to catch us. The same black slug was the first enemy of Another World(ignoring the tentacles of the pool). I have not connected the reference in my head. It’s clear The inspiration in the work of Éric Chahi does not end there. Soon we will have to move from left to right to break that cage that keeps us captive against the ground and it will not take long to feel the same tension that caused us for the first time the classic persecution against the black lion (to call it somehow) of the first level. The tribute is logical: this type of game was not invented by PlayDead. He did Delphine Software.

A style where the important thing is not death, but the puzzle . Where there are no lives because the work is aware that it uses trial and error to solve the obstacles it proposes. In fact, Little Nightmares is perhaps the least used of this system, being able to anticipate every danger if we have enough patience for it. In the end, the error is almost always yours and a product of the anguish that is capable of generating each of its levels, because the nerves and the adrenaline discharge that Tarsier is able to inject makes the entire journey through this strange ship unforgettable.

It costs a little more to forget how short the experience can be made. Neither the extras nor the collectibles in the form of figurines to be broken and candles and lamps to be lit are able to make up the fact that Little Nightmares could last only a little longer, enough to deepen the dark idea he proposes and do greater the challenge of their puzzles, which is gradually being diluted to give more prominence to scripts and spectacularity, which is also appreciated.

But basically, we have not played any game of this style whose formula does not have to stop before it loses interest. Little Nightmares manages, however, to stop in the middle of the nightmare to contemplate the majestic design thanks to its ability to surprise with scenarios as imaginative as the best Hollywood production. Its comfortable that reach the ceiling and serve as stairs, their rooms of impossible proportions and our small scale have given us some of the best prints we have seen this year.scenarios

His scenarios are really imaginative.

Perhaps, however, Tarsier has the ability to fascinate with a handful of actions that ends up embroidering the set. Jumping, crouching and grabbing objects are all we need to escape the nightmare. Their puzzles are gentle, they propose a challenge, but they avoid being too complicated to get stuck in any of them for a long time and lose the rhythm in the process. The control is not as precise as its puzzles, either because of the accumulated tension that we mentioned in the analysis or because of not detecting us at the right time and place, some deaths will accumulate making us debate whether the fault was really ours.

Your worst nightmare

Tarsier has worked uncertainty like nobody else. It is worthwhile to use classical formulas of terror without falling too far into the cliché and even more so to replicate them and make them work. When you do not expect it, the scare may come, and then you can go from stage to section the whole stage betting for sure that one of those doors is going to open, which at this moment is when “the monster will appear”. But it doesn’t happen that way. Little Nightmares avoids the easy resource of bursting your eardrums with a great sound impact because it is not afraid of lack of effectiveness. He knows very well that his monsters are nightmares and for that reason, he doesn’t even have any qualms about teaching them point-blank without camouflaging them in the shadows.

Their puzzles work in the same way, although it is difficult for them to maintain the same capacity for surprise. The limited actions are enough, yes, but once you get to the controls and the formula presented by the game, there is not much left to discover at the playable level and that is precisely where the story begins to take over and the prominence. Perhaps this is why it is also a short work, but as we said before, an extra hour would not only have helped to develop narrative ideas but also create something more variety in its mechanics.

When I interviewed Tarsier a few months ago, I asked him about the meaning of some of the ideas I had seen in Little Nightmares. While the first main enemy, that fallen-faced man was chasing Six, our innocent “little yellow riding hood”, with his long arms, I saw a clear siege and envy of the privilege of innocence. A society created by wrinkled old men who have lost their purity by falling into all present temptation now pursues relentlessly the only thing that remains decontaminated. In the interview they neither admitted nor denied: for them, any interpretation of Little Nightmares can be perfectly valid.

Tarsier has worked uncertainty like nobody.

Now, after finishing the Six adventure, I still think about this idea and as I moved through the game it seemed even clearer. The project used to be exclusive to PlayStation 4 was known as Hunger, and this gluttony is present throughout our walk through the gloomy ship. But it is not only real gluttony, an incessant meat appetite incapable of satiating but also a wake-up call by getting carried away by pleasures, sacrificing every trace of humanity along the way. And without forgetting that we were all innocent once, now that innocence is precisely the greatest object of desire.

Recommended: World to the West analysis. Puzzles, action, heroes and … monsters


Little Nightmares is a great little experience, which dominates something more difficult than terror: tension. He does it without hiding the faces of fear, only ours. Through its coordinated and pleasant exercise of puzzles, its impeccable level design, captive and distressing, but not only for the fear of death but for the fear of a sad, empty and guilty life.

  • Suggestive style and narrative, with a good critique of human imperfection
  • Brilliant artistic design, generating a great sense of tension
  • Attractive and well-designed puzzles
  • Inaccurate control on some occasions where more precision is needed

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Kamran Haider

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