Xbox One

Little Nightmares – XboxOne

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COLOGNE, Germany—When you’re a child, everything is terrifying. Shadows under the bed hide monsters, the light peeking through the window creating a world of stark whites and blacks. Tarsier Studios’ Little Nightmares (formally known as Hunger) brings you straight back to this world, filling you with that inflated sense of wonder and horror only a child can feel. It’s impressive stuff.Boil it down and Little Nightmares is a simple platformer with stealth elements and puzzle solving. In a short Gamescom demo, I traversed an area, trying not to be seen by an overwhelmingly powerful enemy, while also figuring out how to gain enough platforming height to reach an elevated air vent. Philosophically and artistically, though, it’s so much more.“Even though we’ve got this solid core of a game idea, everyone in the studio has a different take on what’s going on,” explains senior narrative director Dave Merkiv. “It would depend on who you talk to as to what the game means, but for me I see the cruelty of being a vulnerable kid caught in the middle of absolute grotesquery and trapped within these things that don’t make sense.”You play the game as a tiny kid. In another short demo I had to sneak past a demonic chef slaving away in a kitchen, carving meat and cooking up a stew. Just by looking at him I knew that this guy wouldn’t hesitate to cook me up, too. Using the girl’s diminutive stature to my advantage I make it through the kitchen by hugging walls and sheltering within the shadows under tables. It’s a tense, palm-sweating affair given the intimidating difference in size between you and the potential predator.


 
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