When Little Nightmares was dropped as a PlayStation 4 title around two years ago when it was simply known as Hunger, I was concerned that this promising horror title would not see the light of day.  However, thankfully in August 2016, Bandai Namco announced a publishing deal with developers Tarsier Studios, for the title now known as Little Nightmares.

Little Nightmares tells the tale of a ‘hungry’ (which links back to this games original title) young girl known as Six (though she is believed to be around 9 years of age) and she is trapped in a hellish underwater resort which is plagued by some truly horrific creatures that would emotionally scar even the likes of Stephen King.  The story to Little Nightmares is a vague one in the sense that there is no traditional voice acting or even a narrator, but just like the equally superb Inside, Little Nightmares allows its artistic and nightmarish visual presentation do all the talking.

Gameplay wise, Little Nightmares is a 2.5D, stealth platforming puzzle title over the course of five gruelling chapters, each with their own unique locations, demons and puzzles.  The puzzle sections themselves not only offer a challenge of trial and error, but in the most part you will be put under intense pressure to complete that puzzle while you are being chased down by one of Little Nightmares truly terrifying creatures if you are to progress to the next section or chapter.

During some of the videos and marketing released prior to the launch of Little Nightmares, the chances are that you would have seen one of the monsters featured in the game and that is the cook.  The cook himself is a daunting encounter, but let me tell you that he is pretty tame looking compared to some of the others creatures that feature.  Without giving to much away, one of those creatures that will likely give me nightmares is one such early on in the campaign, with its short stumpy legged body frame and long, outstretched, out of proportion arms brings back childhood nightmares of Freddy Kruger in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Little Nightmares has some truly horrific and fantastic creature and level design, and when you’re being put under pressure by one of these creatures as you desperately try to escape, it made this one of the most scary and intense games that I have played in recent times.  I just wish that we had one or more two chapters to enhance on its approx four hour campaign.  Though judging by the screen prior to the main menu loading up, there could be some DLC in the future, hopefully in the form of extra chapters.

Visually, Little Nightmares is nothing short then a masterpiece.  In a similar fashion to the likes of Limbo and Inside, Little Nightmares visuals tells its own story and provides its own memories.  Considering that this is an indie title backed by a big publisher such as Bandai, it’s not only a prime example in gameplay and level design, but it’s also among the most visually stunning titles that you will play anytime soon.  Huge credit must also go down to the sublime musical score and audio design, as the soundtrack and heavy breathing of one of its imposing monsters is enough suspense along to put even the hardened of horror veterans on edge.

The word masterpiece can be thrown around all too often nowadays, whether it be in the videogame, movie or music industry, but I simply cannot find a better way to describe Little Nightmares.  Back in September last year at EGX, I was fortunate enough to get a sample of the title and even though it was my favourite game that I played at the event, I was still a little sceptical that we might have just been shown the best part of the game and come release, it might not live up to my expectations.  However, not only has Little Nightmares met my expectations, but it’s by far exceeded them in almost every way possible.

Little Nightmares is a dark, disturbing title that will have you trembling in fear, scratching your head in frustration and it will have you asking many questions regarding its purpose and meaning, and when it’s all said and done, you’re going to want to do it all again as you try to make sense of some of its quite shocking twists.  Little Nightmares is up there among my favourite horror games of all-time and with its low entry price point of around £16 at launch digitally, it’s a nightmare that needs to be experienced by everyone.