little nightmares 3

Little Nightmares 3 Preview – Bad Dreams Are Made Of This

It Stakes Two

The Little Nightmares games have been some of my favourite horror experiences in recent years. Not because they’re particularly scary or spooky, but because they’ve got such a great sense of identity that started in the first game and was really solidified with Little Nightmares 2. It was like being invited into this tiny, incredibly unsafe but oddly charming world and then trying your very best not to die in it.

So when I was first told that not only would Little Nightmares III be shifting the paradigm with the option co-operative gameplay, but with Tarsier Studios having been acquired by Embracer a few years back it’s instead in development at Supermassive Games (the folks behind Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology), I’ll admit I didn’t know how to feel. After being given an in-depth look at the game ahead of its global reveal though, I have to say I think I’m completely sold.

little nightmares 3

Before even getting into the Little Nightmares III talk, Executive Producer on the franchise at Bandai Namco Europe, Lucas Roussel, is quick to emphasise that Little Nightmares is an IP and a universe that the company takes great pride in and something it’s proud to be the custodian of. It’s well aware of how passionate the Little Nightmares community is, and seems more than eager to tap into that passion and continue to enrich the world with new games and then some. Although Supermassive does already have experience working with the franchise after working on the Enhanced Edition of Little Nightmares II, it’s still cool to see the next proper entry handled by such a trusted name in modern horror video games.

EP at Supermassive, Simon Harris, along with Game Director, Wayne Garland, and Producer, Coralie Feniello, definitely share the enthusiasm for Little Nightmares that makes them seem like a great fit as the creators of this next chapter – one that they’re hoping will delight existing fans as well as create new ones by crafting an original story with new characters and new features while still staying true to the unique identity and world of the franchise.

little nightmares 3

Little Nightmares III stars Low and Alone, a pair of new playable protagonists who find themselves trapped in a nightmarish cluster of spaces known as The Spiral. They’ll need to work together to escape the Nowhere, and that begins with the desert city of The Necropolis, a dusty and abandoned ruin where once stood a city of limitless energy powered by the elements. Players will still have the traditional option of controlling just one of the pair in solo play with an AI taking control of the other, but for the first time in the series online co-op is also an option (our fearless podcast host, Ewan, would love this news).

While I didn’t get my own two hands on Little Nightmares III, I got to see a substantial amount of gameplay with Low and Alone traversing these desert ruins, and while the 2.5D side scrolling presentation of Little Nightmares is still well intact there’s already a distinctly different vibe to both the orange and yellow hues of The Necropolis as well as the pace of gameplay as the pair works together to traverse and survive in the harsh environments. Each has their own unique tool – Alone with a multi-use wrench almost the same size as her that can be used to bash down walls or work mechanisms, and Low with a bow used to strike faraway targets.

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little nightmares 3

As both characters move through this environment it’s clear that cooperation is baked into the very fabric of the game and its puzzles and encounters, with a lot of timing and collective problem solving involved, so I’ll be interested to see how the AI in Little Nightmares III fares as a replacement for a flesh-and-blood companion. Of course, like previous entries the puzzles have pretty rigid solutions so it seems likely they’ll simply play their part as you figure out each necessary step. The first two games were already a great time played with friends to witness or share in the experience though, so I definitely don’t see myself playing this solo if I can help it.

After all, who wouldn’t want to have help along for their first encounter with “Monster Baby,” one of the new, unsettling residents you’ll contend with in Little Nightmares III. After first glimpsing this enormous foe, the studio skips forward a little in this section of the game and we see Low and Alone work together to combat some nasty flying beetles – Low knocking them out of the air with arrows and Alone handing out the finishing blow with her wrench. A little down the way they also come into some new gear – umbrellas that they can use ride updrafts and reach higher areas.

little nightmares 3

It all culminates in a section where the two find themselves trying to escape Monster Baby, hiding from its searching gaze through the kinds of stealth sequences that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s played these games, but before we’re able to see this section in full our preview sadly comes to an end.

After seeing just this one, controlled section of gameplay from Little Nightmares III I’m champing at the bit for more. It looks like Supermassive is fully dialled into the spirit of the franchise while also taking to it with fresh eyes and exploring new opportunities for gameplay and storytelling. We’ll have to wait until sometime in 2024 to get our hands on this one, but I’m confident it’ll be worth it.