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Little Nightmares is a strange, dark, and haunting Horror Platform Game (similar to Limbo or Inside), developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It was released on the PS4, Xbox One and Steam on April 28, 2017. A Nintendo Switch port was released on May 18, 2018, and it includes DLC released earlier.

The game stars a very small barefoot girl in a yellow raincoat named Six, who travels through a strange, unnerving, dark, and massive structure that is hidden below the waves of the ocean and is filled with a variety of different rooms of various shapes and purpose. It is known as The Maw. Of course, she is not the only inhabitant of this dark building.

Alongside her are small, friendly, childlike creatures in white hoods and coats called Nomes that seem to hide from the various monsters ranging from the strange humanoid workers to an unseen beast digging its way through a pit full of discarded shoes to the gluttonous guests of the vessel who seem rather intent on devouring her and who knows what else. The girl, using her wits alone, must survive the awful things in her way, and aid the Nomes as she makes her way through the various rooms.

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A three part DLC titled Secrets of The Maw has been announced starring The Runaway Kid, a boy in striped pajamas also trying to escape from The Maw around the same time as Six. The first chapter, The Depths, was released on July 6th, while the second chapter, The Hideaway, on November 10th. The third and final chapter, The Residence, was released on February 23rd, 2018.

Additionally, a comic book adaptation has been released that may greatly expand the world of Little Nightmares. A TV adaptation is also in the works, directed by Henry Selick of Coraline fame.


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Little Nightmares brings your fears to life with the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    The Main Game 
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Depths.
  • Air-Vent Passageway : Justified as Six is tiny compared to the monstrous residents of The Maw and air vents are the safest places to hide from them.
  • Ambiguously Human: The little girl, Six, and the friendlier Nomes are absolutely tiny compared to their surroundings and adversaries, but are by far the most human-looking characters seen yet. The size of The Maw is somewhat justified by how the monsters are absolutely giant compared to Six.
  • Asian Rune Chant: Or something similar can be heard in the dining area, presumably being sang by the monster patrons.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Six, who is arguably the most heroic character in the main game, is a little girl with petite features. All of the antagonists are monstrously ugly, from the Janitor to the Guests. The Lady is the only one to avert this, and even she is given an old and ugly reflection without her mask on in the DLC.
  • Big Eater: The patrons who board The Maw and gorge themselves on food, and maybe even a small being like Six if they can catch her.
  • Climactic Music:
    • Six's theme song that played throughout the trailers and in some parts of the game is given a large part when Six uses her powers to kill the guests of The Maw and walk to freedom.
    • The music that plays during the chase in The Guest Area is synced with your progress. It's an incredibly effective use of sound to heighten tension.
  • Covert Pervert: Somebody on this ship is one. There's a one way mirror in a bathroom in The Guest Area (with a chair behind it) and another bathroom can be viewed via the secret surveillance room.
  • Creepy Children Singing: Six's theme is this as the song plays with what seems like Six humming along to the tune. The only times you hear it is when Six is eating the bread, the meat, the Nome, the Lady, and when she eventually kills all the customers while exiting the Maw.
  • Creepily Long Arms: The Janitor, whose arms are longer than himself. The Granny in The Depths DLC also has these, according to her concept art, although it isn't as extreme an example.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: The monkey toys activate when thrown, drawing monsters to the sound of the cymbals clanging.
  • Darkness = Death: Most of the areas you traverse are not particularly well lit, and every time Six eats something the lights flicker and dim, revealing a shadowy doppelganger. All this culminates in the area where you fight the final boss. The Lady is fought in almost complete darkness, and once Six acquires her powers you realize why: as she walks out of The Maw, the light bulbs blow out in her wake before she uses them to slay the Guests at the end of the game.
  • David vs. Goliath: The whole damn game. Every adversary Six faces monstrously outsizes her, even relatively smaller enemies like the early-game leeches.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In the second act of the game while Six is stalked by The Janitor, she has to crawl through a room filled to the brink with the thousands of discarded shoes likely worn by his victims. This is highly analogous of The Holocaust, in which the shoes and hats of concentration camp prisoners were piled up in a similar way that speaks loudly on the horrors committed therein, as seen here. It doesn't help at all that The Janitor wears clothing parallel to that era — and the fact that the DLC appears to star a boy in striped pajamas, it's all but confirmed. Assuming this is the case, Six herself with her Splash of Color raincoat might be seen as a twisted parody of a certain other little girl.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Whenever Six is caught and dies, she'll respawn in a fetal position and startle awake, as if she woke up from a nightmare. If she dies by not-as-violent means (like falling), she awakens more calmly.
  • Driven to Suicide: Six can encounter two people who have apparently hung themselves in the game, one at the beginning and one in a hidden room.
  • Eating the Enemy: The Chefs will prepare you in a dish if you're caught, while Guests will just straight-up eat you. The Lady gets eaten (her throat at least) by Six.
  • Eldritch Location: The Maw is a huge, mysterious monstrosity that travels through the waves, and resurfaces at the same time every year to allow more "guests" (the monsters, apparently) to arrive like a twisted hotel. It latches itself to the seafloor with giant metal claws and simply waits until the next time it can resurface. Not to mention all the places inside this thing, like The Lair and the Shoe Pit.
  • Eternal Engine: The Maw is an extremely large mechanical-looking place, and some of the areas take place in its inner workings, which are filled with pipes and such.
  • Evil Chef: The Chef twin brothers are this in spades.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Once or twice over the course of the game, you must traverse a meat freezer, and in the last area of the game, it suddenly and inexplicably gets so cold that Six's breath can be seen.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: More areas on The Maw are dim, dank and dark than are well lit. The very last area of the game has this as a plot point, since light is the Lady's weakness.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The last quarter of the game could be this, as Six defeats the Lady, but she herself has eaten an innocent Nome beforehand.
  • Eye Motifs: The Maw's rooms are riddled with eyeball designs, usually on doors. More notably, one of the traps shown in the trailer is a spotlight-eyeball that apparently turns its victims to stone, and the main logo is Six standing in front of an eye.
  • Fade to Black: After Six eats the Lady, she slowly turns around to face the player, but her new shadow powers cut the screen to black before her face can be seen.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: A woman obsessed with mirrors who is linked to cannibalism? Children lured into a supposed safe place, only to be prepared to be eaten? Check and check.
  • Good Samaritan: The unnamed prisoner who tosses Six some bread when she's having a hunger attack.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: On your way to the third area, you can spy one of the Chefs nipping out for a smoke.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • All the creatures in the game are somewhat human-like... but not quite, and not just because they're all massive in size.
    • The Chefs are a pair of obese twins with sausagey fingers and flabby, googly-eyed faces that sag like ill-fitting masks. They also make high-pitched, pig-like squeals if they see Six sneaking about.
    • The Janitor is a squat man with tiny legs, Creepily Long Arms, and a massive head with the upper half of his skin pulled down off his skull and over where his eyes would be, leaving him blind. He also sniffs the air like a bloodhound whenever he detects noise, and growls like one when disturbed. Whenever he loses track of Six, he can even be seen creepily dislocating his jaw while making odd clicking noises.
    • The Guests are horrifically-exaggerated caricatures of upper-class people, wearing formal attire over their grossly fat, squishy bodies. Their faces are equally hideous — some have flabby jowls, others have puffed-out hamster cheeks, and some even look like a blobfish with ears.
    • A Creature seen only in costume form at Gamescom 2016 appears to be some sort of bellhop wearing a red uniform and sporting a grotesque, melty-looking face.
    • The Lady, despite her comparatively human-like appearance, qualifies. She's particularly notable in that while everything else in the game will physically accost you, she's the only one who appears to have actual supernatural abilities, including being able to lift you off your feet without laying a hand on you.
  • Left Hanging: Six kills all the residents of The Maw and manages to escape from it. What she intends to do with her new powers is unknown.
  • Light Is Good: Six starts the game with a lighter she can use to light lanterns and candles, providing some much-needed illumination to her surroundings. At the end of the game, after she has bested the Lady and killed all the Guests, she exits The Maw by ascending a staircase into the bright, beautiful, blinding daylight.
  • Light Is Not Good: On the other hand, there are sections of the game where you must stay out of the light cast by a moving eye fixture, lest its glare turn you to stone.
  • Literal Metaphor: An interview with Tarsier that can be found here suggests that this is the reason why the children in the world of Little Nightmares are so small. It's to depict their vulnerability in a world that wasn't made for them.
  • Living Ship: Some information provided on the game's website suggests The Maw might be this.
  • Meaningful Name: The game's original name while it was in development was Hunger, which is symbolic of the game's motif of gluttony and liberal use of the I'm a Humanitarian trope. It also represents Six's growing hunger pains throughout the game, culminating in her devouring the leader of The Maw — The Lady, and taking it over. The new name, "Little Nightmares," could possibly reference Six and the other children themselves in the eyes of the monsters who either see them as vermin or wish to eat them. Or even more, that once Six eats the Lady and gains her dark powers, has become a "little nightmare" herself as she kills all the guests when she calmly walks out of The Maw. All of Six's deaths are also treated as mere nightmares when she respawns.
  • Mood Whiplash: There are several points in the game where Six begins experiencing hunger pains, and the meal she has to eat to fix this seems to get worse every time. However, when Six experiences her penultimate hunger, a Nome in a nearby room offers her a perfectly edible sausage — but Six ignores it and eats the Nome instead. Made worse in that this comes after the easiest level in the game, the Guest Area.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Maw has blood-sucking leeches, bottomless pits, and flooded areas that contain multiple electric appliances. This is more or less exemplified when, at the end of the chase in the Guest Area, one of the Guests chasing you falls over a railing, presumably to their death.
  • Not So Different: Disturbingly, both the Guests and Six herself, when given a choice, prioritize eating a living meal which, seemingly to them, appears more appealing than a prepared meal.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The exact nature of The Maw and the world it exists in is left mostly unexplained save for some supplementary details on the game's website; no one in-game ever speaks to Six and no documents explain it.
    • The shoe pit has an unseen monster digging its way through all the shoes (and luggage) dropped there while smoke or dust trails behind it.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: The darkened tunnels of The Maw have a consistent, dulled, dark blue color to them, which ultimately contrasts against the shots of the surface, where the sky is colored orange/yellow.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Six starts out innocent (as far as we know), but as the game progresses, she starts committing more and more... morally questionable acts. These include severing the Janitor's arms, eating a trapped rat, eating a friendly Nome, eating the Lady, and finally killing all of the guests. At best, she comes out morally ambiguous. At worst, with the powers she acquires at the end...
  • Raincoat of Horror: Throughout this game, Six wears a bright yellow raincoat, and never takes it off.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly. You are number six, after all.
    • The Guest Area and the chases that occur there bear more than a passing resemblance to a similar bath house scene in Spirited Away.
  • The Speechless: No one in the game says a thing besides the occasional grunt from Six or a screech from an enemy. The Lady does sing late in the game, but it's a wordless song. After Six begins to eat flesh like the rat, the Nome, the Lady, and killing the customers, she can be heard lightly humming her own theme song.
  • Stalker Shrine: There appears to be a very low-key shrine dedicated to the Lady in one of the secret rooms, complete with candles and portraits.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: When Six's second hunger pang hits, the only thing to eat is a lump of meat in an obvious trap. Needless to say, eating it is the only way to progress.
  • Surreal Horror: Why are the children so much smaller than the adults? What is this place? How long has it existed? Who built it? Why did they build it? What is it for? How big is it? These are just a few of the questions the game poses but refuses to answer.
  • To Serve Man: Little children, to be more precise, and probably previous Guests.
  • Underwater Base: The Maw is latched onto the ocean floor and only surfaces once a year.
  • Villainous Glutton: The corrupted creatures are looking for their next meal, after all...
  • Wham Shot:
    • When Six eats the Nome that was offering her food. Emphasized by very dramatic music.
    • When Six begins walking, very slowly, toward a number of Guests who are eating. The only thing that's saved her up to this point is her being faster and more nimble than them, but as she approaches each one, her new powers kill them, allowing her to proceed to the exit of The Maw safely.

    Secrets of the Maw DLC 
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 2, the Hideaway, is this for the Nomes, and it expounds on their role in the Maw.
  • David vs. Goliath: Just like Six, the boy faces Maw residents that clearly outsize him; averted for the shadow creatures in the Residence, who are the boy's size.
  • Downer Ending: In the end, the runaway boy is captured by The Lady and turned into a Nome. Any hope of survival the audience has for him goes out the window when it's implied that he's the very Nome that Six eats after the Guest chapter.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: The Residence, where the evil Lady lives, is the darkest chapter; there are several times when the boy is left in complete darkness as all the lights go out.
  • The Hero Dies: After being turned into a Nome, the little boy goes down near the dining area where a sausage lies on the floor. Even before he comes to this area, everyone knows what his final fate is.
  • Living Shadow: The enemies in the final chapter consists of shadows with masks; their weakness is the flashlight.
  • The Reveal: Two big ones, which the first two chapters heavily hint at: some of the Nomes are transformed children, and the Lady has an ugly reflection beneath the mask. On another note, the Runaway Kid is the Nome that tried to offer Six food.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The DLC takes place during Six's escape from the Maw, with the chapter select screen showing you where the boy is in comparison to Six.
  • The Speechless: Applies even more than the game proper, as there's no humming or singing to be found.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Towards the end of the second chapter, you enter a room where several Nomes are huddled up around a burning stove. The Nomes' shadows look just like those of human children.
    • Two in the Residence; the first is when the runaway kid spots the Lady, without her mask, and her reflection is as ugly and flabby as every other non-child resident of the Maw. The second comes at the end, when the kid, transformed into a Nome, finds his way to the little room with a sausage in the center of it, right outside the Guest level. And Six is surely on her way.

    The Tie-in Comics 
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: All of the hunchbacked child's friends wanted to be different; one wanted to be stronger, one wanted to be taller, and one wanted to have a friend who'd always be by their side. The mirrors changed them so they could get what they wanted, but in the process, they became easy targets for the Hanged Man: the strong boy was bigger and therefore easier to grab, the tall boy couldn't fit through the opening that they all came in through, and the child who was doubled literally lost half of themselves when the Hanged Man ripped away their "friend" .
  • Campfire Character Exploration: The premise of the comics; several children loose in the Maw, including Six, gather around a fire and talk about how they got there.
  • Downer Ending: All of the children's stories end this way, with the respective child being captured by the Ferryman.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The North Wind, a mysterious entity that takes the children of a village, and appear to be engaged in a game with the Maw, competing about who can get the most children.
  • Fire of Comfort: Subverted; the kids stay around the campfire because it helps keep away the leeches, but not even the fire prevents a leech from showing up and devouring one of them.
  • Magic Mirror: The haunted house's mirrors of the second comic; like funhouse mirrors, looking into them shows each of the children as distorted in some way, looking like their ideal self (one as a strongman, one as unnaturally tall, and another as being two people, aka having a friend). Then, they turn into their mirror selves. Touching the mirror turns you back, unfortunately for the hunchbacked child, since the mirror she looked into was broken and presumably couldn't be touched.
  • Mirror Monster: The villain of the second comic, who evidently looks like the Hanged Man from the game; he uses tentacles coming out of his collar to drag children into his mirror.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The hunchbacked child is transformed at the end of her story when she looks into a broken mirror. We never see the result, as she's constantly wearing a cloak and one of her friends covers her with a blanket upon her transformation.

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