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Preview: Little Nightmares makes the comfortable uncomfortable

Little Nightmares Screenshots

In Little Nightmares, Six, a little girl in a yellow mac, platforms through the waking terrors of childhood. When a child looks around their bedroom at night, that thing on the back of the door might be their coat and school bag, but it could also feasibly be a man with short feet and too-long arms. He catches little children like Six by sniffing them out, and wraps them in linen, and hangs them from meathooks.

When you’re very small it’s easy for things to seem too big. Kitchen chairs must be clambered up rather than sat on, and going up or down a flight of stairs is an expedition that may as well have required pitons and climbing axes. Adults, particularly adults you don’t know, can seem impossibly huge. When viewed from below a person probably is quite monstrous: mostly nose and hands. Almost everything I played of Little Nightmares recalled an uncomfortable childhood fear of the grown up world.

Six lights her way with a lighter — a grown up toy I wasn’t allowed to play with. She has to open doors using all her weight. She has to climb on boxes to reach tall things. Everything is very quiet, so you can hear the drips of water and the pattering of Six’s feet very clearly. Sometimes floorboards make a terrifying, pained creak as she steps on them. You only needed to go for a wee in the middle of the night, but now the whole house, nay, the whole neighbourhood, has heard you walking around! Or, in Six’s case, the long-limbed stranger ready to grab her like a spider grabs a fly.

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