There are many, too many indie devs that have tried in one way or another to replicate the genius and success of Limbo, and all of them have failed at doing so, simply because there is already one Limbo, and even its own developer tried something a little different in the sequel, Inside.
Little Nightmares got somewhat close though, by simply doing its own thing. The vibe of the game is that of a grotesque French or Eastern European animation movie, with bits of Quay Brothers stop-motion grimness, and a few ideas from Studio Ghibli.
The polygons are pleasantly solid, the distorted characters and over-stretched furniture a pleasant break from the too frequent comic looks and pop colours, an ever present plague of the indie game world. Controls are simple and intuitive, but the presence of depth, while adding to exploration and gameplay, can lead to many frustrating moments when you can’t really tell if you are walking off the sides of that long pipe. Also the character can respond slowly to complete its current animation, something which can be infuriating when it happens at the wrong time.
The soundtrack nicely complements the setting and is often more ambience and cacophony than melody. Sound effects are also on par, the clanks and scratches keeping you tense at all times, the grunts and breathing of the bad guys making them more repulsive than they already are.
The Swedish developer has clearly put a lot of heart in the game, and while the tale is a little thin and every death more frustrating than it should be, I could not stop myself from reaching the end, from spending more time anxiously crawling through claustrophobic rooms that at times resembled a bit too much some of my childhood nightmares.
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