I don’t think I’d ever have guessed that 2017’s Little Nightmares would become such a sizeable trans-media hit. With a fully-fledged sequel likely in development, a mobile spinoff on the horizon, and a TV show hailing from Marvel’s Russo brothers & stop-motion animation legend Henry Selick, the Little Nightmares IP is well on its way to becoming a household name.
In retrospect, I suppose there was no better time for Little Nightmares to have come along, with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, It 1& 2, and Goosebumps 1 & 2 proving that fantasy horror – with a specific focus on children vs monsters storylines – is very much in high demand.
Very Little Nightmares, the iOS spinoff developed by Alike Studio, is set to release later this year. It’s said to be a prequel to the original title that will unveil the mysterious Six’s past. Alongside a fresh isometric viewpoint, control scheme, and visual design, VLN also takes us to an enticing new setting known simply as The Nest.
The original Little Nightmares was heavy in rancid visuals and edge-of-your-seat chases but light on compelling puzzling and coherent thematic pay-offs. Throw in some very imprecise, annoying controls and you’ve got a game with a lot of potential for improvement. Hopefully this mobile prequel will, if not rectify, avoid most of these control issues through its new isometric viewpoint.
One other thing that Very Little Nightmares needs to get right is the visual design of its monsters and the world that they inhabit. After all, between the overstretched, grabby janitor and the gorging, gluttonous diners, Little Nightmares nailed its dark fantasy aesthetic – even the ship’s name “The Maw” is memorable for its grisly appeal and promise of the grotesque.