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    Barnes's Little Nightmares (XBONE)

    [September 4, 2018 08:51:23 AM]
    I finally got to hug a gnome. So far, for me this game has had one ethical choice mechanic and its a stretch to call it a mechanic. It's more like a collectable. Freeing these little gnome guys has been the goal and highlight of most my play sessions. And it finally happened. After freeing our friend from his glass jar prison, he paused and out stretched his hands. And I got to embrace him the only character I've been able to have real contact with the entire game without immediately dying.

    Now that I've gotten that highlight out of the way, on to design things that have nothing to do with this class. This team is young, or if not they keep making small mistakes a young team would make. The use of lighting is confusing at times, they nail the atmosphere but sometimes obscure objectives. In one particular sequence you have to sneak under the bed of a sleeping monster. If you do this you see a single light marking your objective, a key. BUT this key is unlit and blends into the backroom when the monster wakes up (on a trigger while you are under the bed). The problem arises when you accidently move too quick opening the door. The monster wakes up instantly and turns on the light, the player loses the one clue about what the objective of this room is. I spent far too long scouring the room and following platforms that lead nowhere. The key is for a door on another floor, several screens away. In a game with few multi-screen puzzles they really need to remind the player that this door is openable and that their goal is to open it not to traverse and find another way.

    Little nightmares is frustrating. Not because it is bad but because it has very slight very fixable problems that hold it back from being great.
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    [August 31, 2018 07:17:38 AM]
    I finally got to hug a gnome. So far, for me this game has had one ethical choice mechanic and its a stretch to call it a mechanic. It's more like a collectable. Freeing these little gnome guys has been the goal and highlight of most my play sessions. And it finally happened. After freeing our friend from his glass jar prison
    add a comment Add comment
    [August 28, 2018 12:15:22 PM]
    I finally got past the last "puzzle" that stopped my play session last time. Turns out you have to climb up a chain. In my opinion, there was some bad design choices in this particular section that comes up during other sections. Little nightmares has a very dark background and little light, which makes light and color a very powerful tool for guiding the player. Now I know the developers know about this tool and have taken it from their tool box a couple times. Why then didn't they here? The character has climbed some things to get to this chain but it is not obvious that the chain is climbable or that you are supposed to be traveling up. A little bit of lighting would have definitely helped guide the player up through this section and cemented the idea in the players mind that climbing is always an option and to try climbing more objects.

    Enough of the design tangent. We still haven't seen much of ethical choices in the mechanics of the game (Save for that " Choice" to save the little gnome) but there has been some interesting use of set dressing on already used mechanics to give the ethical player a pause. During the section in question the player is captured by the monster, and to escape the player has to solve a puzzle. To this point this puzzle and mechanic of exploring the environment and then using it in some way to reach their goal has been done a good number of times. This puzzle though gives you pause. The box isn't just a box, but a cage holding a captured child like you. There is no way to free this child, I tried. You just have to drag the helpless chap, climb up his prison, and free yourself. That , in my opinion, is a very powerful use of set dressing to make a standard mechanic more compelling.

    Lastly, the gnome friends have been more prevalent in this play session! They have been scampering away from the same hiding places the monster has you diving for. There was one particular section that affirmed my decision to free the earlier gnome, and was also a very successful use of tension.
    You use an elevator to reach a higher level and clear your path, before entering the elevator was a section of you hiding and being chased by the main monster. The elevator is very sparse with not much cover, and I spent the entire ride cowered in the one hiding place I could find. The ride is uneventful and you're given a bit of a tense breather. Some puzzling and some platforming follows and a chase sequences that ends up back in the elevator, this time with the monster there with you. He slowly checks the first spot, comes over to your spot and just as he is about to catch you, the gnomes run through and he gives chase to this new prey. Saved by the gnomes!

    Some might think this game is all about the monsters, but I'd argue that it's about the creatures cowering with you. These creatures face the same grim fate as you, but still come to your aid at times and you to them.
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    [August 24, 2018 04:01:10 PM]
    I started Little nightmares today. I will definitely say playing this in the well lit library is not the intended atmosphere but the game is pulling me in nonetheless. As far as mechanics its pretty much so far a bog standard narrative platformer. There isn't a way to attack enemies(yet) and the game-play mostly consists of trying to move forward, avoiding hazards, and light puzzles to clear the path. Mechanically this game hasn't really touched anything about ethics or ethical dilemmas.

    The subject of this game on the other hand seems to be pointing towards something a little deeper. The back of the case states that the game is about exploring childhood fears. Seeing the world from a different perspective is always a fun exercise. The environmental story telling in the game has been great so far, but I'm not far enough to form any coherent story line or connect the disparate story threads. A lot of environments and hazards have seemed to point to some kind of orphanage. That along with the hanging man early in the game might point to the child's fear of abandonment after their father committed suicide. I'll have to play and look around more to see if my theory is correct.
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    Barnes's Little Nightmares (XBONE)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Something better came along

    GameLog started on: Friday 24 August, 2018

    GameLog closed on: Monday 10 December, 2018

    Barnes's opinion and rating for this game

    Little Nightmares is mechanically boring. It's a carbon copy of games like Limbo. Artistically the claymation stlye animtion is neat but theres nothing special here in a world of decently made indie horror platformers.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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