The game was tested on the PlayStation 4
Tarsier Studios has existed for more than ten years, but most of its life it helped other developers – the guys and additions to LittleBigPlanet were creating, and in porting Tearaway on PS4 participated. Therefore, Little Nightmares is a dream that has been nurtured for a long time and at the first opportunity was realized.
In the role of a girl in a yellow raincoat, nicknamed Sixth, the player tries to get out of an eerie place – an underwater vessel called the “womb”. On the way to the heroine is waiting for a lot of obstacles and a few disgusting creatures, each of which seeks to grab it and devour it. The theme of hunger is one of the main ones, that’s why the game was originally called Hunger. But a couple of years later she changed the headline, got a publisher and ceased to be an exclusive for PS4.
At first glance Little Nightmares seems very similar to Limbo and Inside but in reality the game has a different direction. If the developers of Playdead strive to achieve maximum mystery, superbly intertwine narrative and gameplay, and at the same time add a pinch of philosophy, then the story is clear from beginning to end. No one talks, no comments or subtitles appear on the screen, but the actions of the Six and its enemies speak for themselves. Passage takes about five hours, but the game lacks unexpected episodes, which not only make it fascinating, but also spur to the re-passage. To experience this experience again, paying attention to the missing details, I want right away.
According to the structure and atmosphere Little Nightmares recalls, strange as it may seem, Resident Evil 7 especially its first clock. The defenseless hero finds himself in an unpleasant place, where he is forced to flee from monsters, escape and hide. The environment is mystical and frightening, and you never know what awaits in the next room. But if in RE7 the character becomes stronger with time and can stand up for himself, then Six does not get any new abilities. She can only grab hold of objects, attract or repel them, and also carry a cigarette lighter in her pocket, the dim flame of which gleams very dark locations.
Despite the meager set of Sixth skills, the riddles in Little Nightmares are diverse and do not bother. As in Inside, they are simple enough that the solution is invariably found after a couple of attempts. But then, what exactly has to do, sometimes it looks very original – the slightest hint will be a spoiler. Let’s just say that puzzles are not limited to several actions, as in Unravel where almost all levels consisted of tying knots and rocking on threads. Sixth and climbs up the shelves and stairs, and throws objects at the buttons, and from time to time carries the keys to the locks.
In many respects the diversity is due to the fact that the heroine can freely navigate the locations in depth, and not in the same plane as in 2D-platformers. The authors used an additional dimension not only for episodes with moving objects, but also embodied spectacular moments with chases. Although because of the three-dimensionality sometimes there are problems when, when you try to jump from one platform to another, you miss and you break up to death – this forces you to start the passage of the chapter chapter anew. But the control points are generously distributed, and such errors rarely occur.
It is not limited to jumping and clambering – quite often the action is interspersed with stealth episodes in which the Six tries to pass by the opponents without making a fuss. Her footsteps are not audible if she moves around in the squat, but you still have to watch the surroundings and the garbage scattered around. It is worthwhile to step on the broken glass or accidentally hit a toy monkey with percussion plates, as the presence of the heroine is known all around. In such situations, it is often only the reset that saves you, although you can try to hide under a table or cupboard.
The lack of opportunities to defend itself creates a very tense atmosphere. Narrowly grotesque design of characters, too, contributes to this – for example, heavy chefs with ten chins slowly overtake the kitchen, chopping meat and peering into the pots. The contrast between the sizes of the Sixth and the Enemies is catching up enough zhuti to fall into their eyes would not be desirable under any circumstances. Animation of death here is not as cruel as in Playdead games, sometimes even amusing – the same cook, for example, can put the grasped girl in the oven or shove it in a huge fish.
But even the design of opponents is not as fascinating as the great attention to detail of the environment. On the one hand, opening every next door is terrible, because it may be hidden next monster. On the other hand, I really want to see what other artists and designers have come up with. A library with many cabinets and mountains of books, a kitchen filled with utensils with tattered foam here and there (which remains on the raincoat of Sixth). Some elements of the interior are repeated, but it is skillfully concealed by original design decisions.
The operator’s work also pleases the eye – the camera sometimes drives very far to show the location in all its glory, but this never hinders the gameplay. Similar episodes occur only when the Six runs without looking back and should not jump or interact with something. A periodic rocking from side to side reminds that the story takes place on a submarine – but do not worry, there will definitely not be any trouble. On the objects lying on the floor, this, by the way, also affects – banks and toilet paper, for example, often roll back and forth, which visibly enlivens the “womb”.
To praise the visual component for an infinitely long time is not less feast for the eyes than the recent Bound just another kind. Involuntary comparisons with Inside are not entirely appropriate – Playdead tends to minimalism, but Tarsier studies each object on the screen. This does not hinder at all – guess what objects you can interact with, and which ones for beauty, it’s quite simple. And in intense episodes, when every second is expensive, the eyes usually do not scatter and quickly find a way to salvation.
Even simple locations, such as empty rooms with several closets and mannequins, can cause discomfort, especially if the light is off, and in the hands of the Sixth Lighter. Shadows jump on the walls, in all directions the nomas run up – strange creatures with caps on their heads, gloomy music sounds, the floorboards dullen. Every minute you are surprised at the ingenuity of the authors – the design of the opponents, the sound solutions, the riddles. Five hours fly by completely unnoticed, leaving behind a heap of vivid memories.
For care and exploration of locations awarded with nice bonuses – concept artas in the main menu, which open when the collection items are discovered. They are usually hidden very well – so much so that sometimes you have to shine a lighter in every corner. But this is a great opportunity to rest and calm down – hugged a ridiculous noma, stood with him near the fire and went on, fleeing from the hideous creatures. On the gameplay, “hugger-hugging” does not affect – as mentioned above, Sixth does not acquire new abilities until the finale.
On Little Nightmares, you should definitely pay attention to fans of Limbo and Inside. This is a big step forward for two-dimensional horror and dark platformers – a game in a good sense is doomed to inspire independent developers who want to do something similar. Inside of Playdead set a very high bar, but Tarsier Studios managed to approach it, offering new and original solutions for the genre.
- a terrible and gloomy atmosphere;
- great attention to detail;
- simple, but sometimes original puzzles;
- the narrative more than once will present surprises.
- sometimes you miss jumps because of the depth of locations.
|Graphic arts||In motion, Little Nightmares is breathtaking. And the light-flooded locations, and the dark rooms where you have to wander with a cigarette lighter in your hands, – everything is very atmospheric. The artists did an excellent job.||9|
|The sound||Characters do not talk (except that enemies sometimes moan and scream), but this does not mean that you will experience a lack of frightening and unpleasant sounds. The musical accompaniment is also good, although there are not so many compositions.||9|
|The Single Player||Five-hour adventure, similar to Inside, and the big horror games, and Burton’s films. But at the same time, the original and not copying others.||9|
|The collective game||Not available.||–|
|The general impression||Games like Little Nightmares are very easy to miss, especially in such a fruitful year. But if you like a dense atmosphere, original ideas, unexpected design and scenario solutions, and approve attention to detail, then you definitely should try it.||9|
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