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Little Nightmares Dreams Up Grim But Whimsical Trailer

Dreaming big

There's a new trailer for Little Nightmares [official site] - a kind of sneaky fantasy horror puzzler with an art style that nods to stop motion hand-animated films. We wrote about it before when it was called Hunger but it looks like there's been a renaming in the run up to the devs taking a playable build to Gamescom.

As per this here press release:

"Do you remember your childhood fears? Little Nightmares, developed by Tarsier Studios, will allow you to embark on a grim adventure as you help our hero "Six" in her yellow raincoat escape The Maw – a vast, mysterious vessel inhabited by corrupted souls looking for their next meal."

The release goes on to describe the game's universe as both grim and whimsical. So... grimsical? Reading the YouTube comments it's putting some people in mind of Unravel and Limbo - I'd assume because of the animated style of the former and the childhood menace of the latter - although I rather liked the person who said it was Chibi Robo meets Jan Švankmajer.

For me it's probably most reminiscent of Coraline, both because of the art style of that book's movie adaptation and because of the more menacing and threatening aspects. There are moments that made me think of the BBC's adaptation of Gormenghast too - particularly the grotesque threat of Richard Griffiths as the chef, Swelter. But it also exists on a continuum with a lot of animated shorts I used to watch as a kid which could actually be quite creepy.

There was one about a man who stole dreams and kept them in boxes in his house then tried to sell them back to the people. Eventually the townspeople rose up and took back their dreams and left him trapped in a world of hideous nightmares where he gets burnt at the stake and drowned and all manner of things. It fascinated and horrified me as a kid as it was on a VHS animation compilation for children along with a story about a mouse who helps a bear out of a trap.

OH! Someone's put it online! I'm not imagining it! God, it's so much less threatening now. The Man Who Stole Dreams:

You wouldn't catch Peppa Pig trapping a capitalist douchebag inside a wartime nightmare-scape to drain the meanness out of him. Modern children have it so easy.

Little Nightmares is due for release on PC (as well as those console thingummies) in spring 2017.

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Philippa Warr


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