Little Nightmares Complete Edition Review – Still haunting our dreams

Platform:
Nintendo Switch
Released:
May 18, 2018
Publisher:
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer:
Tarsier Studios

Review

Little Nightmares initially released just over a year ago on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Featuring a creepy aesthetic, you play as a small child trying to navigate a dark and unfamiliar world while avoiding being detected and captured by a range of horrible, disgusting creatures that are straight out of the worst nightmare you ever had when you were younger. The side-scrolling puzzle platformer was reminiscent of Limbo and INSIDE before it, and is now here in its Complete Edition form on the Nintendo Switch.

In our original review, we said: “Little Nightmares is an uneasy delve into a grotesque and uncomfortable world. It’s an experience that excels at making you feel insignificant within your surroundings and powerless against the monstrosities you’re escaping. With visual design and sound design at the top of their classes, it’s a real shame that Little Nightmares struggles in some other fundamental ways. Little Nightmares is a short and imperfect experience, but an experience I would recommend nonetheless”

Little Nightmares is actually a perfect fit for the Switch. Where it may have been lost in the clutter during its initial release, the title stands out being a horror game that you can play portably. HD Rumble is also an included feature in this version which adds to the already scary atmosphere. Side-scrolling puzzle games of this type work very well in short bursts when commuting, allowing you to complete sections on the go. I was enamored with the choice to leave large sections of the game with minimal sound, building on the tension and only ramping up when there was an enemy on my tail. Dark corners beg to be explored with just the light from the flame in my hand and environments all are haunting, with the hulking creatures grotesque and disgusting.

“…keeps you feeling alone, confused and vulnerable. A success as a horror title, then.”

The visual style is backed up by simple platforming and puzzling elements that keep you on your toes. While puzzles are simple, they ensure that you can move through the game at a good pace, never being stuck for too long. If anything, with no sort of tutorial or dialogue, your left with visual cues to help you figure out how to use objects, which walls can be climbed on and which direction to head to next. This meant I got embarrassingly stuck at times for not trying to interact with something that I actually thought was irrelevant, but the lack of hand-holding in this instances keeps you feeling alone, confused and vulnerable. A success as a horror title, then.

The niggling issues that we had found with the original release are present here in this Complete Edition too. Platforming feels floaty and finicky at times, especially when it comes to grabbing onto ledges with the right trigger. Animations sometimes make it unclear whether you’ve landed a jump properly or not, resulting in death. Penalty for failing is fine, but in particular the lengthy loading screen feels like a harsh punishment, especially frustrating when replaying a section multiple times.

It’s also still decidedly short, taking only a few hours to complete (and a bit more with the included extra content). This ensures that the tone remains consistent throughout and is a quick, memorable and tense experience, but once you’ve finished the game there aren’t a lot of reasons to go back and play through it again.

In terms of the additional content, Little Nightmares Complete Edition also includes the console pre-order bonus plus all the additional stories from The Secret of the Maw Expansion Pass. You have the option to play as Six or the Kid as soon as the game launches, allowing you to choose either story – but I would recommend starting with the original with Six as the game was designed, as it’s a meatier experience that introduces the mechanics and style in a way that prepares you for the Kid’s story.

The Bottom Line

Little Nightmares Complete Edition remains to be a short and imperfect experience on the Nintendo Switch, but is saved by its horrible foreboding atmosphere, chilling soundtrack and overall interesting concept. I enjoyed laying in bed late at night, Switch in hand, hiding under the covers and settling in for a particularly haunting level of immersion in short bite-sized pieces before I went to sleep. It’s meant to make you feel like a lost child constantly threatened by their darkest fears, and while it can be frustrating at times, Little Nightmares still manages to achieve this, and the Switch version is the best version to experience it.