If Tim Burton Made a Game, it Would Be Little Nightmares

By Keza MacDonald on at

There were precious few actual new games of any note at this year's Gamescom. Little Nightmares, an eerie platformer from Sweden's Tarsier Studios, was one of only two that I saw (the other being Get Even). I played a ten-minute section of the game that ably demonstrated its creepy sensibilities and striking, cute-yet-disgusting aesthetic, and came away feeling like it was rather like Limbo as imagined by Tim Burton.

IGN has a full walkthrough of the demo below without anybody bibbling over the top of it, which is well worth watching to get a feel for this unsettling platformer:

Playing as the child-sized figure in the yellow raincoat, I spent half my time hiding from a grotesque chef, and the other half figuring out little physics and platforming puzzles to delve further into the horrible underwater complex I was trapped in. The demo ended with a hugely discomfiting scene featuring a room suffused with tiny shoes, in an uncomfortable echo of Nazi death camps. Wading through the sea of shoes, something darted towards me beneath the surface.

What I played of Little Nightmares was a sequence of uncomfortable vignettes. It's not a horror game, but it is a horrible game, to quote its narrative director Dave Merkiv. Where the player is child-sized, everything else in the world is exaggeratedly large, which builds unease. There are light moments interspersing the grimmer set-pieces - I spent some time chasing little creatures around with a lighter - but the tone and art style are both creatively grotesque.

Little Nightmares won't be out until 2017, so I'm hoping we'll see more of it before then. It was quite easily the most intriguing thing at Gamescom.