GENRE: Puzzle/ Platform / Horror
PUBLISHER: Bandai Namco
DEVELOPER: Tarser Studios
AVAILABLE FOR: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One 
PRICE: £29.99

To the uninitiated, Tarsier Studios Little Nightmares seems to be little more than another Limbo clone. Taking players on journey through a series of messed up locales in which a helpless child is beset by vicious traps, ghoulish nightmare fuel, and the occasional head scratcher which can be overcome with the power of physics.

Like Limbo, and other physics-based, small-child-in-a-big-scary-world platformers most the bulk of the game play involves manipulating the environment to reach new areas, pulling blocks, clambering up the environment and tossing items at switches. But Once it’s in your hands it particular brand of physics-based puzzling and 2.5D platforming made me realise that it’s actually more like Little Big Planet’s Evil-Twin. While Media Molecules series is a cheery, bright and adorable Little Nightmares is oppressive, creepy and twisted.    

Players take on the role of Six, a little girl in a bright yellow mac that bears more than a passing similarity to Henry Selick’s film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. awaking in the bow of a great ship known only as the Maw Six must find a way to escape from this nautical nightmare and the crooked cast of twisted creatures that inhabit the labyrinthine ship.

The threat of capture and death lurk around every corner, and even in its quieter moments Little Nightmare’s muted colour palette, and cluttered, overbearing environments towering over the tiny, but brightly clad protagonist heighten it’s oppressive and lonely tone.

These are offset by incidental details in the background that become more unsettling the more you think about them – the pictures of monstrous creatures on a mantlepiece, the leather straps on a bed, the knocked over chair and the figure, dangling from the ceiling/

Little Nightmares’ series of macabre environments are populated by a rogue’s gallery of unsettling creatures that ceaselessly stalk six, including a pair of obese chefs brandishing butcher knives, a blind, doll making Freddy Kruger impersonating goblin, and the insatiable pig like guests in the dining room.

Their unsettling natures are heightened by the game’s minimal soundtrack. None of the enemies talk they all grunt, shriek and scream at Six when they spot her. Most of the time the only thing that can be heard is the gentle pitter patter of Six’s bare feet on the cold metal of the maw.  

The platforming is solid throughout with six clambering over the environment with relative ease, while the chase sequences are exhilarating as the tiny girl hides, sneaks and sprints away from the maws twisted antagonists.

The only thing that holds Little Nightmares back from platforming perfection (on consoles at least) are long load times. With It often taking the best part of a minute to jump back into the action every time you die the game can become frustrating - especially during chases sequences which require a great deal of trial and error to succeed.  

The new Switch port is also pretty solid, despite a drop-in resolution down to 720p in both handheld and docked mode, compared to the PS4 and Xbox One it holds up surprisingly well, despite the more limited hardware.

The ability to use a Pacman amiibo to unlock a creepy mask for Six is also a nice little extra.       

The Complete Edition also includes the additional DLC campaign which weaves its way through the main story in a really clever way and contains one of the game’s best boss sequences.  

Poignant, creepy and incredibly compelling Little Nightmares is one of this generations most unnerving and intelligent horror titles.

Score: 8/10